Jean Claude is married and living in Kigali, Rwanda with a son aged three. He worked as a primary school teacher for six years before working at a health NGO. His business, Kigali Sanitation Waste Management Company, involved the collection of household rubbish and transportation to a local site within one district of Kigali.
Taku is a Zimbabwean living in London. A quality assurance manager for a fish importer with an MSc in Food Manufacturing and Marketing from Reading University. “As an African citizen in diaspora I am partly motivated by a need to contribute something back to the continent through leveraging my skills, ideas, experiences and networks. Grow Movement has embraced the idea that Africa is changing and that interventions need to change tactics. They have created a platform where it is easy to volunteer skills. The Grow Movement logic of intervention is innovative and works better not only because of its low cost and riding on the back of Africa’s improving mobile phone/internet connectivity but because it is personalised communication.”
Jean Claude had a business plan to purchase three mobile toilets from China. He planned to provide toilets at bus stops and densely populated areas of Kigali. He needed help to find a loan to finance it. His business plan had already been listed as one of the top 25 projects in an entrepreneur competition in Rwanda. Whilst going through the problem definition and research phases with Taku he saw an opportunity to establish Kigali Sanitation as the business that collects business and household waste using trucks from urban centres of Kigali. Taku highlighted to him that he did not need a loan to a start the waste collection business, just a slight change of focus. He only needed to apply for a license then get people to pre-pay for their waste collection. Using the cash prepared he could hire a lorry to do first collections and repeat the process. Jean Claude followed that advice and within six months he managed to establish a business venture doing 3000 collections in Kigali with hope of future expansion into original idea of mobile bus toilets.
Jean Claude has seen a 90% increase in profits and created 26 new jobs – two drivers and 23 cleaners – as well as being gainfully employed by the company himself. He is now looking to raise finance to be able to purchase a truck rather than having to hire one, as well as diversifying into recycling paper into trays.
“The experience of consulting at Grow Movement had a profound impact on me. I learnt something about other African cultures in the process. Helping a Rwandan entrepreneur required me understand his motivation, business and cultural context. The one thing that I learnt was the cultural value of Agaciro – a Kinyarwanda word closely translated to mean dignity or self-worth. The African conception of Agaciro is that dignity is acquired and maintained by doing things for oneself instead of hand outs from others. Grow Movement approach facilitates African entrepreneurs to take leadership and ownership of their development themselves. As an African I am proud to be part of Grow Movement who in my opinion has created a process which either by design or default places the agenda of dignity (Agaciro) right at the centre of our development.”