Nzambi Matee

Regional Winner, Africa

Gjenge Makers - building a greener Kenya

Summary of Big Idea

Gjenge Makers Ltd is a sustainable, alternative and affordable, building products manufacturing company. Gjenge Makers has cut a niche as a manufacturing trailblazer in the provision of beautiful and sustainable alternative building materials. Currently we are producing eco-friendly pavers that are made of a composite of recycled waste plastic and sand. We have partnered with different manufacturers of plastics bottle tops and seals in the beverage and pharmaceutical industries here in Kenya, from whom we collect offcuts and scraps. This is amalgamated with discarded single use plastics that our informal waste collectors deliver to us, which we jointly use to produce the pavers, while providing them with a stable income. We have financially empowered over 112 individuals the majority of whom are women and youth groups who are our partners in supplying the waste plastic and the pre-processing stage of our production process.

The alternative building products space is a very new industry and therein exist a myriad of opportunities. At present we have more demand than we can supply and this is the genesis of our biggest challenge, which is low production capacity. To date, we produce about 500-1000 bricks per day, recycling close to 500 kilograms of plastic waste a day.

Biography

I am a self-driven individual, serial entrepreneur and a self-taught hardware designer and mechanical engineer. I have a background in physics and material engineering with a passion for creating sustainable solutions. I used design thinking experience to start Gjenge Makers with the mission to convert plastic waste into lower cost alternative building products, hence tackling plastic waste pollution and Kenya’s inadequate housing problem.

Nzambi Matee's Bio

28 years
Material engineer
Kenyan