Women We Love || Nzambi Matee: Building a Sustainable Future with Recycled Plastic

Nzambi Matee, a 31-year-old Kenyan entrepreneur, is tackling plastic pollution and affordable housing with her social enterprise, Gjenge Makers. Witnessing the plastic waste choking Nairobi, Nzambi decided to be part of the solution.

From Data Analyst to Sustainability Champion

Nzambi’s background in materials engineering and passion for sustainability fueled her transition from data analyst to waste management entrepreneur. She saw an opportunity to convert plastic waste into something useful, specifically focusing on building materials – a basic human need. This vision led to Gjenge Makers, which specializes in creating eco-friendly paving blocks and construction bricks from discarded plastic.

Gjenge Makers goes beyond just environmental benefits. The company empowers marginalized communities by employing women and youth. This creates a social impact alongside the environmental one, making them a true social entrepreneurship pioneer.

Nzambi’s initial plan was to collect and sell plastic waste to recyclers. However, the demand for Gjenge’s waste collection outpaced the recyclers’ capacity. This led Nzambi to leverage her engineering skills and pivot the business to create sustainable construction products using the collected plastic.

The demand for Gjenge’s high-quality products is currently exceeding their supply. They can produce 3,000 pavers daily, but the demand is at 10,000! This highlights the success of their innovative approach.

Nzambi’s achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. Her work has received international acclaim, earning her the prestigious Award for Conservation in Africa and a Young Champion of the Earth title by the United Nations.

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