A passion for the environment

“I spent most of my life in challenging low-income settings where I have first-hand experience with the devastating social, environmental and economic effects of poor sanitation. I founded G-YES (Global Youth in Environmental Sustenance) because I believe in the capacity of young women and men to protect their environment.”

 

From NGO to social enterprise

“While we achieved some successes with G-YES, we had a challenge with funding. It was really tough and people even suggested I should quit. I decided that it would be better to set up a separate enterprise, WASHKing, to generate revenue to support the non-profit activities. I believed that the enterprise - when successful - could better help address the issues and achieve greater impact.”

“I joined the EnterWASH support programme because I wanted to equip myself with the knowledge and skills needed to run a successful enterprise. I learned that working together in a team is critical. And… take it one small step at a time! No matter how well you prepare yourself, things rarely work out as expected. It is essential to remain flexible and pivot when needed.”

 

Maximising impact

“From 12 toilets in our first year of WASHKing, we have now been able to build over 100 toilets benefitting more than 1,000 low-income people. We provide young people with job opportunities, transferable skills, and improved economic status for them and their families. Besides, WASHKing is able to generate income to support our non-profit activities. The impact we have now would not have been possible if it wasn’t for our entrepreneurial approach to solving the sanitation challenges.”

 

 

It’s exciting, but difficult

“It is not easy to identify the value that others are willing to pay for, but if you can generate income it can help your organisation or project to be more financially sustainable and achieve more impact. It's exciting and rewarding, yet also challenging and extremely difficult. You must be clear about this from the onset and adopt the right mindset. Keep an eye on innovation, and learn from your mistakes and from those who came before you.”

 

Do you also want your project to become less dependent on external funding? Join the Enterprising Project Design course or contact Lisa Freiburg to find out how you can maximise your social impact.