The Sankalp Africa Finalists who flew into Mumbai for the Sankalp Unconvention Summit 2014 came purposefully – over just three days, they made nearly twenty connections for partnering, collaborating, and knowledge-sharing. They have since returned home, re-energized with broader perspective and new collaborative opportunities.
Since he began Continental Renewable Energy, Sankalp Africa Winner Dr. Oscar Aghan has been using self-engineered machines and is struggling to keep up with production demands. He is the first one to tell you he is no engineer, but necessity is the mother of invention, so he sourced the components and jerry-rigged his machines – and they work! However, they are far from efficient.
While everyone else was sleeping in after a night of post-Summit celebrations in Mumbai, Oscar was up at 5am to travel the 150kms to Umbergaon, Gujarat. The Sankalp team helped him make contact there with Panchal Plastics, a machine manufacturer for producing post-recycled products. They had agglomerators, extruders, and grinders galore. For most of us, those sound like medieval torture devices, but Oscar was like a child in a candy shop, ogling at the variety and quality of the machines. With this proper machinery, Continental Renewable Energy will be able to make over 1,000 planks per day instead of just about 150! At that rate, Oscar has the potential to make all of Nairobi squeaky clean by using up tons and tons of its plastic waste.
Even though Oscar is not yet financially able to purchase and import the machinery, he has returned to his godown in Kariobangi, Nairobi inspired. Borrowing some of the engineering principles from the machinery he saw in India, Oscar is making a few simple modifications to his current machines, which will help him increase efficiencies. While he anxiously awaits the day when he will import first-class machinery, he is not one to slow down and keeps busy with several other connections made at Sankalp.
Oscar recently completed an order for Sankalp Africa’s First Runner-Up, Prosoya Kenya. CEO Kaburu Muguika is encouraging Oscar to expand his product line-up by ordering 300 shipping pallets made of Oscar’s patented recycled materials. The recycled plastic planks are stronger and last significantly longer than traditional wood pallets. As a result, Kaburu is saving money and staff time against continual pallet repairs for the more than 200 metric tons of cereals that go into Prosoya’s fortified flours every month.
Nigerian Sankalp Finalist Wecyclers, has also reached out to Oscar to begin discussions on franchising Continental Renewable Energy’s waste-to-product model. Wecyclers collects recyclables from Lagos households, and instead of re-selling them to the up-cycler market, they can manufacture their own recycled products using Oscar’s innovative technology. An actual franchise may be quite some time off in the future, but we at Sankalp are happy to hear these discussions brewing.
Like Oscar, the other eleven Sankalp Africa Finalists have made make meaningful connections with global markets and enterprises. We look forward to seeing how these South-South collaborations can pave the way for more to follow!