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Meet duo on mission to save forests, one pencil at a time

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Every year, Kenya imports about 150 million wooden pencils to meet the demand in the country.

None of the pencils used by Kenyans is manufactured locally. About six acres of trees are cut down every minute globally to supply the timber needed to make about 14 billion pencils that are produced annually.

If these trees were to be cut in the Mau Forest at that rate, it would only take 78 days for the largest indigenous montane forest in East Africa to be cleared. All for a pencil.

Upon stumbling across these shocking statistics, Mr Mahamud Omari and Mr Fadhil Mohamed decided to take action.

Coupled with a desire to make a difference in the lives of learners, create jobs and at the same time do their bit to ensure that Kenya does not end up a desert, the two decided to act.

The two are founders of a start-up company called Mo&Mo Group Company launched in July 2018. The company locally produces pencils from recycled newspapers.

Mr Mahamud Omari, a film producer and the company’s CEO, and Mr Fadhil Mohamed, an interior designer and the company’s chief brand officer, are the driving force behind the start-up.

“We had done what was to be done in our careers. At the time, the question that was driving us was what contribution could we make towards ensuring the next generation is better off than us,” he says.

It was Mr Mohamed who suggested that they manufacture pencils from recycled newspapers. He had seen the idea implemented in China and India as an alternative to wooden pencils.

“A pencil, simple as it may seem, is a powerful tool. For a majority, it was what marked our start in learning how to write and draw … However, in the quest of growing our creativity, we constantly bleed the planet and destroy its lungs. That doesn’t have to be the case,” Mr Mohamed says.

With limited funds, they contracted a university student to do the market research to determine the idea’s feasibility. The two then travelled to China to purchase the machinery needed.

After purchasing an acre of land in Mavoko, setting up a production plant and training its 15 full-time employees, the journey began.

“The process of making pencils starts with us buying old newspapers from youth groups. The newspapers are then cut to size, glued together and the lead inserted. After that, we roll the newspapers, dry them in ovens and finally insert the pencils in films,” Mr Omari says.

The company has been donating the pencils to pupils in primary schools, especially in disadvantaged communities.

To popularise the conservation mentality, each pupil is given a tree seedling to grow. “A few years to come, we will have students who are empowered and aware of the importance of taking care of their environment,” says Mr Omari.

by nation.co.ke


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Business

LET’S HOLD HANDS WITH OPTIVEN FOUNDATION

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By helping someone achieve their dream,
You are well on your way to achieving your own dream!

Together with partners like you, the Optiven Foundation is changing one life at a time, by reaching the most vulnerable and meeting their needs. Because the needs are growing daily, we are open to hold hands with you and make our world a better place. Make your donation to Optiven Foundation via Paybill 898 630, Account name: Mobility

For more info, call us on +254 718 77 60 33 or info@optivenfoundation.org
www.optivenfoundation.org
#TransformingLives
#RestoringDignityof Senior citizens
#SharingHopewithOptiven


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By going the solar route, I save Sh140,000 per month, says restaurateur

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Kenya Power was in the news recently complaining that their clients are increasingly transitioning to use of solar energy.

Solar has emerged as a favourite source of power to many homeowners due to its reliability and low cost compared to electricity.

But that is not limited to homes as businesses are also embracing solar energy.

One such business is the new Café Deli branch along Koinange Street.

When the restaurant relocated from Kenyatta Avenue in September, Mr Obado Obadoh, the Managing Director and founder of Nanjala Ltd –the parent company that owns the chain of restaurants — says he wanted to have glass roofing at his new establishment.

This, however, came with its challenges and the option turned out to be expensive since, apart from the glass roofing, they would need ultraviolet (UV) light protectors.

For humans, suntan and sunburn are familiar effects of exposure of the skin to UV light, along with an increased risk of skin cancer.

Solar panels are installed at New Cafe Deli along Koinange Street in Nairobi in this file photo.

Amina Wako | Nation Media Group

But, after consultations with experts, Mr Obado settled for solar panels.

“When we were designing the Koinange Street branch, we had experts come in and give their opinions. With the Covid-19 situation, we were also looking for ways to cut costs. With solar, we spent less money than all the other available options,” Mr Obado told the Nation.

“When the costing was done by the quantity surveyor, it came down to almost half of what we would have spent on putting up the glass roof.”

Savings important

 

To Mr Obado, saving even a shilling means a lot and so solar was the welcome option.

“At the Kenyatta Avenue (branch), the cost of electricity per month was between Sh250,000 and Sh280,000. Based on the plan we have, we will use Kenya Power as a backup. This means we will save close to Sh140,000 which is half of what we used to pay before,” he said.

 Mr Omondi Lumbe, the electrical contractor who was in charge of the project, says he installed 96 panels on the roof that coves 250 square meters.

“The panels produce close to 33 kilowatts per hour and are in use for eight hours a day, hence produce close to 264 kilowatts daily,” said Mr Lumbe, who is a partner at Kev & Lum Construction and Electrical Company Ltd.

Solar panels are installed at New Cafe Deli along Koinange Street in Nairobi in this file photo.

Amina Wako | Nation Media Group

To avoid more spending, they opted to use solar power directly instead of using batteries to store more energy.

Today, Café Deli only relies on Kenya Power services for between three and four hours, which is mostly at night when the solar panels are off.

“We are only using Kenya Power at night for three to four hours. That means solar power will be used for most of our 12 hours,” Mr Obado said.

He also has plans to install the solar panels at his other branches on Moi Avenue and Nkurumah Lane, Behind Kencom in Nairobi’s Central Business District.

Business effects

 

This is, however, not the first time the businessman is opting to go the solar power route.

Six years ago, when he wanted to install electricity at his rural home in Busia, he says he was slapped with a quotation of Sh800,000.

“I thought about it and wondered why I would pay such a high figure, buy a transformer which is going to be Kenya Power’s property, and still pay them every month. I settled for solar panels and it’s a decision I don’t regret,” he said.

According to Mr Obado, the high cost of power in Kenya has rendered businesses uncompetitive compared to other countries in East Africa.

The new Cafe Deli along Koinange Street in Nairobi, which uses solar energy.

Amina Wako | Nation Media Group

Café Deli has joined several companies, universities and factories that have turned to solar power  and, in the process, cut operational costs.

This, according to Kenya Power, has dealt a blow to their already dwindling finances.

“The company operated in a challenging environment over the financial year under review, where demand growth at 3.7 per cent remained below the projected level of five per cent. The dampened demand growth is further compounded by increased threats of grid defection by the industrial category as decentralised renewable energy options are becoming more available and cheaper,” Kenya Power revealed in its latest annual report.


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GoGreenNaOptiven KAMATA 20K PAP!

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The year 2020 has stretched us in many ways! It has thrown to us numerous twists and turns, while offering us a number of highs and many lows.

But as the year ends, we would love to give you, your family and your loved ones a big smile, especially on these last days of the year with our special December offer, #GoGreenNaOptiven

With a deposit of 500k plus, you can take advantage of this incredible offer this holiday season!

With ready titles, value additions, and ready to build Environment, you can actualize your dream of property ownership.

Call us TODAY on 0723 400 500 or visit our website on www.optiven.co.ke

As Optiven, We wish you and your family a merry Christmas and prosperous New Year ahead🎄


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Special Offer: Own one starting at Ksh 3.7M


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