Orikiriza Rusia is a young female entrepreneur running her own business ORIBAGS INNOVATIONS (U) LTD, a business enterprise dealing in the manufacture of environmentally friendly bags (oribags), from agricultural waste. As a young social entrepreneur Rusia helps other young people and women in her country to empower themselves economically and mentally. She is the Young Entrepreneurs Director to the Board of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association (UWEAL).
Rusia is a winner of the International Alliance for Women, “TIAW World of Difference Award” for her efforts to promote women economic empowerment awarded recently in Washington DC.
She is a 2012 fellow of the US President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), the latest program of President Barrack Obama Administration’s long-term commitment to engage Africa’s young leaders.
Rusia is the program Leader and initiator for Youth Works! Uganda, a new television program supporting Youth Creativity and Innovation in Uganda sponsored by the US Mission Uganda and the US Department of State.
She is the Secretary General of Women International Maternity Aid (WIMA),a voluntary, nonprofit organization of Ugandan and expatriate women dedicated to promoting Safe motherhood by extending mother and child health care facilities to rural needy women.
She holds Bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Science from Makerere University, a diploma in project planning and Management from Makerere University Business School, Certificate in Computer Application from Kabale University, Certificate in Intelligent common sense and career wisdom from Bridge head 24 and Unlock Africa, certificate in entrepreneurship development from Makerere University Business School.
On the 61st graduation ceremony at Makerere University, the Chancellor Prof. Mondo Kagonyera in his prelude speech and address to the gathering at the freedom square describes Rusia as an emblem of entrepreneurship. The paragraph of the speech concludes: “Dear graduands, Orikiriza Rusia is a young Ugandan, who has been studying at Makerere University, and is a living testimony that entrepreneurship, even from humble beginnings can earn you International recognition.”
While still a first year student at Makerere University, Rusia felt the need to contribute to other people's social development. She grew up in a simple, peasant family in the remote village of Kabale, South Western Uganda. .
In 2008, she was awarded as the “best actress” by the Straight talk Foundation in the Young Empowered and Healthy programme in the fight against HIV/AIDS using innovation, art and drama sponsored by USAID.
In 2009, she received a certificate of recognition from the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi (NLIK) for her patriotism, Leadership, Ethics &Integrity after leading a team of 350 youth in leadership training at NLIK.
In November 2009, she received the “Rising star award” from International Labor Organization (ILO), African Business women Network and Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association (UWEAL) for running a young business that demonstrated a true point of difference in the Market place.
In March 2010 she was recognized with “Women Achievers Award” from Vision Group and DFCU Bank for her innovation in Science and technology/education/research/agricultural value addition/health and information sharing that has improved the wellbeing of people in the communities.
In December 2010 she was honored with the “Young Achievers Award” (Business and Trade) from Young Achievers Uganda sponsored by the Uganda National chamber of commerce & Industry and Tetea Uganda for her innovation and excellence
In March 2011 she was recognized with the “SEED Award 2010” from United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for her exceptional social and environmental enterprise.
On the occasion of receiving the UNEP SEED award on 31st March 2011, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, H.E. Martin Shearman while handing over the award to Rusia states, ‘this award is a recognition of your particular achievements in innovation and entrepreneurship so far, your promising efforts to promote economic growth, social development and environmental protection, and not least the potential of your Project to inspire others.
She has been recognized as one of the finalists for the Women in Business Challenge (WIB) 2011 of the BID NETWORK Foundation of the Netherlands.
In October 2011, Rusia was published on the TIAW World of Difference 100 list and awarded the TIAW World of difference award by the International Alliance for Women in Washington DC as one of the outstanding global young women leaders whose actions, efforts and inspiration have advanced the economic empowerment of women
She has been featured on Wisdom Exchange TV, a resource to help African women to learn, lead and succeed in life, business, and community, a forum where women of all disciplines are inspired from the achievements of African women in business, education, philanthropy and politics.
She has facilitated at various national and international events. She was one of the country representatives at the 2013 President Obama’s Town Hall with Young African Leaders and was honored as a key note speaker at the 2012 USAID Frontiers in Development Forum in Washington DC.
Rusia worked with the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) as a Youth Co-coordinator in Kabale District in charge of youth Entrepreneurship sponsored by AMREF under the Youth umbrella at the District level.
She is the founder and first charter president of the Leos Club of Kampala central at Makerere University-a group of young associate members of the Lions Clubs International.
She is a facilitator on business mentoring, mindset change and enterprise development for young people at the National Patriotic Clubs Secretariat under the office of the President.
Rusia is a competent manager and principle centered leader, self-motivated and effective public speaker, innovative thinker, performance and results oriented, trustworthy and incorruptible person. Throughout her life she has demonstrated competence as a leader driven by the need to serve, respect and strengthen those she serves. She believes in building and strengthening partnerships.