At the launch of the National Housing and Population Census results in 2016, it was revealed that over 58% of Ugandans are not working.
According to Ben Mungereza, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics’ (UBOS) executive director, the 58% was minus people in school.
“These Ugandans who are mostly in urban areas play pool all day because they have nothing to do,” said Mungereza.
According to Gloria Nakyejwe Kalyango, one of the three top winners in the first edition of Total Startupper of the Year, Mungereza’s worries can actually be fought by the youths individually.
Nakyejwe is the proprietor of Eco-technologies.
“Innovation is the only way to go. Identify a problem and try to seek for a solution to it. It’s the way of life elsewhere. Otherwise the government will never create enough opportunities for us all,” says Nakyejwe.
Nakyejwe holds a diploma in Architecture with 5 years of experience in Architecture, civil and building engineering.
She worked in a construction company for 4 years as an architect until she started Echo-Technologies.
While cooking one day, an idea of cooking while preserving the environment struck her, and she eventually came up with the clean – smart-cooking solution of the EKO-JIKO stoves.
These stoves produce no smoke, no fumes because they use bio-gas and pumice stones. Both which are renewable energy and durable.
“I came up with the innovation but lacked funding. Then along came the Total Startupper of the Year. I applied and went through the process and I emerged the second runner up. This gave me the opportunity to fund the project as well as knowledge and connections to manage the project” she said.
With the Eko-Jiko a house hold can save about 50% of its expenditure on carbon fuel of charcoal and firewood.
“I identified a need to save on expenditure and also preserve the environment. This should be the way to go. Mark Zuckerberg identified a need to communicate, he created Facebook, and the same should be for some of these youths. There is a need for food, and needs for many other basics. We should innovate to close those gaps otherwise the unemployment problem will stick with us” Nakyejwe added.
The Eko-Jiko stoves shall be on the market in November this year and they will go for shs350, 000. The stoves come with a kilo of pumice stones that can be reused for over six months and a bio-gas cylinder. Biogas is used to ignite the stones.