BE THE CHANCE YOU SEEK; AWEKO FAITH, ON PLASTIC WASTE IN AFRICA

“When I wake up every day, I am inspired to create change. I am challenged to be the change that I want people to see. Most times we want to change but can’t do anything about it so I am always keen. I want to inspire change. Also, I want to change people’s perspective about waste.” – Aweko Faith, Uganda.

MEET AWEKO FAITH, THE YOUNG WOMAN BEHIND UGANDA’S ‘REFORM AFRICA’,  

Aweko Faith is a twenty-five-year-old Ugandan social entrepreneur based in Mpigi, Uganda. Faith is a certificate holder in Applied Social Innovation, from Social Innovation Academy.  Her Enterprise Reform Africa aims at transforming plastic waste into useful products for the community.  Faith is passionate about the environment and changing people’s lives.

After observing some of Faith’s work on her Business Page on Instagram, we felt inspired to publish her story to our wonderful readers. We ask Faith a few questions and here’s how she responds!

Some of the water proof bags made out of formerly plastic waste

How Did you come up with the idea of Reform Africa and what inspired you?

Growing up, my whole life revolved around the rain. Usually when it rained, it meant that I wouldn’t go to school and that affected my education so much. Sometimes, when it rained so heavily, our houses and neighbourhoods would flood. So going to school, crossing over the floods, with wet books, uniforms, etcetera was something anyone wouldn’t fancy.

So while growing, I wanted to understand why we had these floods were happening and I realized that flooding was partly an after effect of poor waste management. It was the Poor waste disposal system we had in the area. Waste all-over the streets, the trenches, and it ended up blocking the drainage channels. So I had found my answer! This is what would cause the floods and I wanted to do something about it!

Image of plastic waste gone bad by a railroad in Kibera.
Photo Credit @admin
Image Source: WhereDoYouComeFrom?

What are some of the benefits you have had ever since you launched Reform Africa?

Some of the benefits I have got ever since I founded Reform Africa include having opened up a Plastic Waste Collection centre in Mpigi, and also, I been invited on various platforms, won some awards, got seed funding, and I travelled to Tanzania recently to present my project.

What are some of the challenges you have encountered as a social entrepreneur especially in the field of sustainability and waste management?

The biggest challenge I have faced has been ignorance among natives; a lot of people do not know about climate change, sustainability or plastic waste management. People see waste as waste and nothing more. They don’t know that waste can be recycled. A lot of people also think climate change is going to happen in maybe one hundred or two hundred years yet we are currently affected by climate change. Even right now. A lot of times people keep complaining about floods, not knowing it is partly because of poor management of waste.

Aweko

What advice do you have for young or emerging entrepreneurs in your field?

My advice for emerging entrepreneurs is that they should start with what they have. Let’s say in my field, there is a lot of plastic waste everywhere, they should start with collecting that. And then other people will join them. They shouldn’t wait to have heavy machinery or a lot of money.

I began with just collecting waste and selling it. That’s how I was able to access some funds to network, get a lot of things, and even prototype my first products.

Where do you see Reform Africa in the next ten years?

In the next ten years, I see reform Africa as one of the leading recycling companies in Uganda and in Africa as a whole. I would love for Reform Ug to reach to that point where we recycle about ten tonnes of plastic waste every week.

Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?

In the next ten years, I see myself as an inspiration to thousands of youths and children, both school and non-school going. I would love for them to look into their society and find solutions for existing problems and challenges.

What are some of the lessons you have learned as a female entrepreneur in your field?

I have learnt that despite the fact that in the beginning I was worried that waste management is a field of men (collecting waste and using machinery), women too can entrepreneur in this field.

Faith holding one of the backpacks from recycled plastic material

What inspires you to do what you do every day?

When I wake up every day, I am inspired to create change. I am challenged to be the change that I want people to see. Most times we want to change but can’t do anything about it so I am always keen. I want to inspire change. Also, I want to change people’s perspective about waste.

Handbags by reform Africa

See Faith’s ReformUg Instagram Page HERE

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