For many young people in the country, one of the most unattractive sectors is agriculture especially when it comes to venturing into a business that cares for the environment.
Even those who venture into it either hardly ever have good stories to tell or their effort receives little or no attention for various reasons.
A 31- year old computer scientist seeks to change this narrative, as he combines business and forest conservation to combat climate change and food insecurity.
Jonathan Kojo has quietly built his online company, Jowato.com, into one of Northern Ghana’s largest Eco Commerce/online market whose proceeds he uses to fund environmental activities.
With a calm demeanor, the 31-year old describes himself as modest but audacious in business.
His startup has given market access to over 100 local businesses in Northern Ghana.
He is, basically, bridging the market gap between the north and south, and further extending local markets globally.
Products on Jowato.com includes the smock (fugu), dawadawa, shea butter, honey and most of northern Ghana’s indigenous foods.
Other products also include Mr.Q, electronics, health products and other made in Ghana products.
Jonathan and 3 other people in the Northern regional capital, Tamale are employed by his startup.
Jonathan Kojo founded ‘The Talk Trees’, a project he began a year ago to plough proceeds from his online market to educate, protect and plant trees.
In short, he is greening Northern Ghana, inspired by the slogan, ‘’ GoGlobal GoGreen.
The Talk Trees project addresses challenges such as deforestation, climate change and environmental Injustices.
It nurtures young environmental enthusiasts (The Talk Trees Clubs) to take action on climate issues to achieve zero hunger, good quality education and comfortable life on earth.
Jonathan has achieved all this through greening schools, providing environmental education, planting fruit trees for food security and flowering trees to protects bees.
More importantly, he inculcates tree growing culture in people for forest recovery and conservation through the‘’ Adopt a Tree” campaign, working on food forest establishments in schools.
Jonathan’s outstanding passion and personal commitment to using internet technology to tackle environmental issues got him to the finalists on the Apps African Innovations Award – Cape Town South Africa, and an award for the youth innovations for sustainable development 2020 by UNDP and NYA.
So far, over 900 trees have been planted in Tamale, in Northern Region and Mognori Eco Village in the Savanna Region in their first year of operations.
Besides funds from his online market, he also raises funds from friends and family to support the tree planting initiative.
He looks forward to replicating this project in other communities across the country.
On a recent visit to Jonathan’s office in Tamale, he spent over an hour recounting his success story, enlightening me on his conservation work, and musing on what legacy he wants to leave.
Jonathan is the first of five siblings; three males and two females, born in Damongo in the Savanna Region. Growing up in a typical rural and less resourceful setting, he loved the company of nature; the birds and wild fruits which provided food.
His dad believed in the power of knowledge and so he insisted all his children, both the males, and females, acquired education.
Jonathan studied Bsc. Computer Science at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
He has also taken several courses, including entrepreneurship and leadership as a fellow of the Young African Leadership and Initiative-YALI and at the Ashesi Design Lab.
He was at the bottom of the ladder and always told people that in life you need to start from the bottom where everything seems difficult.
Jonathan worked as a typist in secretarial service venture, an IT assistant and, currently, runs the largest Eco Commerce/Online market in Northern Ghana -Jowato.com.
His online market provides incredible education to its visitors and shoppers on trees and uses same to raise funding for tree planting and tracking.
His technology credits 1.5% of each sale made on Jowato.com to tree planting and it is perfecting its technology to monitor and track trees regardless of one’s location.
Jonathan wants to be remembered for doing his own bit in preserving Ghana’s forest and greening communities.
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