Brierly Kuhudzayi discusses Nebraska’s impact on his future in Zimbabwe during Rural Futures Podcast

October 23, 2018 — It is all thanks to a Lexington, Neb., native that the University of Nebraska has had the opportunity to build a meaningful, long-term relationship with the likes of University of Nebraska–Lincoln graduate Brierly Kuhudzayi.

The by-chance meeting at a conference in Washington, D.C., led Kuhudzayi, originally from Harare, Zimbabwe, to a job on a farm in central Nebraska, “on the spot with no agriculture experience.” And it was there that he was introduced to not only farming, but the culture and leadership responsibilities within rural communities.

Kuhudzayi talks about his Nebraska experience, entrepreneurial journey and advice for students at 12:39 in Episode 14 of the Rural Futures Podcast, which is available on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Google Play and Spotify.

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“I kind of just fell in love with it,” he says about agriculture and rural communities. “While I was doing it, I started thinking about doing a master’s degree. I met up with Tom Field of the Engler [Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program], and he recommended a master’s in community development, because I had future plans of going back to Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, we’ve got a variety of economic and social problems, and I wanted to play my part.”

During his graduate school experience, Kuhudzayi encountered the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska, serving as a RFI Serviceship student in 2016 in Cozad, Neb.

Kuhudzayi has now established his own agriculture enterprise in Zimbabwe, and, during the podcast interview, he paints a picture of the landscape, infrastructure and culture of his country that is so much different than Nebraska, yet so much the same as well.

“If you think about Africa, and you think about less economically developed, or developing countries, or whatever the case may be, you kind of think that Africa’s a few steps behind,” he says. “And we know in terms of technology, or the amount of value added for agricultural, we might be a few steps behind, but in terms of the people, and in terms of the community, and in terms of the coming together that’s needed for the community, we’re not so different.

RFI really helped me dig into that. RFI allowed me to put into practice all of the things that I was learning in my community development program.”

Kuhudzayi’s interview makes up the “Bold Voices” student segment of Episode 14, which features Howard Liu, M.D., Interim Chair of Psychiatry and Director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. With host Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., RFI Interim Executive Director and Chief Futurist, Dr. Liu addresses the critical area of mental health care access for rural communities and mental health self-care.

Audio, guest biography and episode transcript available at http://ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/episode-14-psychiatrist-howard-liu-intersects-mental-health-workforce-access/.

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About the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska

The Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska leverages the talents and research-based expertise from across the NU system on behalf of rural communities in Nebraska, the U.S. and around the world. Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, RFI encourages bold and futuristic approaches to address rural issues and opportunities. It works collaboratively with education, business, community, non-profit, government and foundation partners to empower rural communities and their leaders.

ruralfutures.nebraska.edu