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Damaris Mwende and Elisabeth Aluoch work for TakaTaka Solutions – Their lives and their community have changed since then
“TakaTaka Solutions changed my life. Now I have an income, can pay my bills and am doing what is best for my community,” says Damaris Mwende. For seven years, Damaris worked in the hotel business. Then she lost her job, was unemployed for six months, and had no income for herself and her child. TakaTaka Solutions, the Kenyan social enterprise with an innovative waste management system, offered her a new opportunity: As a trainer in Kangemi, she educates people in her community about the importance of waste separation. “At first, it was difficult to convince the people”, she says. “I had to make them understand that this was about them, their health, and their environment.”
TakaTaka Solutions is now well-accepted by the people of Kangemi. In training sessions, Damaris and her colleagues tell them what to observe when separating waste: “We try to teach them how to separate waste; there is a container for organic waste, one for recyclable waste, and one for residual waste,“ she explains. In addition to the training sessions, Damaris organizes marketing events and conducts awareness campaigns in schools. Small experiments such as planting watercress help teach children how to handle waste and the importance of nature. “The children listen to what they are told in school and take the knowledge home to their families“, she says.
Damaris’ colleague Elisabeth Aluoch works in TakaTaka Solutions’ customer acquisitions unit. Her job is to win new clients and convince people of the necessity of waste separation. To that end, she visits homes, supermarkets, schools, hotels, and shops and tells people what TakaTaka Solutions is all about. Many people she meets have never given serious thought to the issue of waste separation. “Before we had TakaTaka Solutions, many people just tossed their garbage on to the street or dumped it in the river“, Elisabeth says.
TakaTaka Solutions changed her life, too. Previously, Elisabeth had a part-time job as a hairdresser earning a meager income for herself and her daughter. Her new job not only improved her standard of living, but also raised her standing in the community: “The ties to the community I live in have become much better”, she says. “People see me with different eyes now. They come to me with their problems.”