Lilian NakigoziColumbia University Scholars 2022-2023
Founder & CEO, Women Smiles Uganda
Working at the intersection of agricultural sustainability and women’s empowerment, Lilian Nakigozi is a social entrepreneur who has designed affordable, climate-resilient vertical farming units that grow sustainable crops in areas of limited space. With these vertical farms, Lilian is seeking to eradicate poverty in underserved urban communities by offering food-security programs and agro-entrepreneurship opportunities to women and youth. Partnering with women’s groups and NGOs in slums and refugee camps, Lilian’s organization has trained 6,500 women to be independent urban farmers who are able to reliably feed their families and generate income by selling fresh produce to local restaurants, schools, and hotels. The organization also hosts workshops on topics such as entrepreneurship, nutrition, women’s empowerment, climate-resiliency, eco-friendly waste management practices, composting and recycling. Lilian’s model builds supportive networks that allow women to share skills, develop self-sustaining food for their families and overcome poverty through reliable urban agriculture to create resilient and sustainable urban communities.
Lilian holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Makerere University. She was a member of the 2019 class of the Obama Foundation Leaders program in Africa and is a graduate of President Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative.