Dana Siedem is a Co-Founder and Director of The Coffee Gardens. Dana has been passionate about coffee since her studies at the University of Life Sciences, Prague, when she first discovered that coffee can be grown in an eco-friendly, forest like environment. After moving to Ethiopia in 2013, she became interested in understanding better the relationship between coffee quality, the environment and the socio-economic conditions of coffee producers.
She co-founded The Coffee Gardens after two years of living in Uganda and observing the local coffee growing and processing practices - and dreaming of correcting them. Prior to starting this venture, she co-founded a coffee company with her sister in her hometown Prague.
Dana loves nature, dogs, vegan food, great coffee and her husband Shak.
Shakeel Padamsey is a Co-Founder and Director at The Coffee Gardens. He has worked in development in Eastern, Southern and the Horn of Africa for 9 years, focusing on social enterprises and businesses increasing incomes for those living in poverty. Shak has a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and is particularly interested in setting up systems to monitor and improve quality. He also enjoys capacity building staff to help organisations grow.
Shak wanted to set up The Coffee Gardens with Dana to make a positive impact on society and the environment - and to work together on achieving her dream. Like everyone on the team, Shak believes that - in order for The Coffee Gardens to succeed - it is crucial to support farmers to flourish and live with dignity.
Shak loves travelling, playing with his dogs, nice whiskey and (of course) his wife Dana.
Job Namugowa first started working with The Coffee Gardens as a temporary translator when meeting our very first farmers - Lawrence and Jennifer. Quickly he became a Field Officer overseeing the processing practices and working closely with farmers. Now, Job is the Processing and Field manager, overseeing the field and processing staff, interns and casual labours.
Job has a degree in IT from the Islamic University in Mbale, but is happy to be working in agriculture and improving the productivity of farmers in his home region. Job knows first hand the value of agriculture, as his studies were financed by the farming activities of his family.
As his name indicates, Job is hardworking and focused on delivering results. In his spare time, he likes playing and watching football, eating fish and rice and being on time.
Racheal Wanyenze joined our team as a Processing Intern and is now the Processing Officer, working closely with Job at the station. Racheal previously worked in a hospital and is using that experience by supporting Job on HR matters, procurement and data entry. Although Racheal hasn’t worked in coffee before, she is happy that she can learn about all stages of coffee processing.
Racheal is a mother of four girls and enjoys growing vegetables. If she ever finds spare time, she relaxes by reading fiction.
Harriet Namataka is a Field Extension Intern at The Coffee Gardens, working closely with Galusha in the mountains. She studied development studies in Kampala and spent living a few years in the capital, but is now happy to be back in rural mountainous area and working closely with our farmers. Her role is crucial in ensuring that every batch of coffee that is picked is traceable back to its garden of origin.
Harriet is passionate about coffee growing, as she grew up in a coffee growing family in Bulambuli, a neighbouring district to where we work.
John Wadamba is one of our Coffee Processing Assistants, and one of the newest team members. John lives close to the processing station and demonstrated a strong work ethic and high attention to detail.
John has one daughter, called Grace (named after his mother), and is working hard to save money in order to train to become a teacher. He enjoys watching and playing football in his spare time, as well as tending to his coffee gardens, banana trees and livestock.
Polycarp Madondo is also a Coffee Processing Assistant, and at 18 years old, The Coffee Gardens’ youngest team member. He lives in the same village as the processing station and, like John, impressed the whole team with his hard work and diligence.
Despite his age, Madondo already has a number of coffee gardens and livestock - and wants to save up for school fees, so he can become an engineer. Madondo is also a keen football player and watcher.
Annie Langford is The Coffee Gardens’ Partnership and Outreach Intern - currently based in Ottawa, Canada, as she finishes up her degree. She spent three months in Uganda during 2018, taking great photos, filming a (soon to be released) promo video, reaching out to aligned organisations, supporting wherever needed and generally bringing great energy to the team.
Buna is The Coffee Gardens’ tiniest team member - but she is growing quickly and (we hope) will help keep our processing station secure. Ibrahim and Victor (our dedicated guards) patrol the station at night, and Buna keeps them company.
Richard Galusha was The Coffee Gardens’ Field Officer but tragically passed away on the 28th of January 2019 after a car accident.
He had only recently joined the team but, as he often joked, had been working in coffee since before he was born. Galusha was instrumental in establishing The Coffee Gardens’ washing station and then worked hard to source ripe coffee cherries during the harvest season. More importantly, Galusha was a kind, thoughtful person who cared for his family, his colleagues and his community.
He always had a positive attitude and had an contagious laugh - and this is how we will always remember him.