Time is running, I am very busy with working, learning and enjoying life.
Within the last month I learned a lot, most from my boss. The biggest take away was the lecture I got regarding communicational skills. I learned how to prepare for group meetings, how to communicate my standpoint the most effective, how to play with a discussion and when to step back. I realized that I have to be less direct, especially as Uganda is a very indirect culture. Another cultural insight is that one should accept help when it is offered. Also I learned how to prepare a budget proposal in a way that enhances the chances of high approval.
It is great to be part of a start-up, as the company still is growing, exploring, struggling and defining its path. Few weeks ago our CEO was here and we discussed our strategy, which was really interesting and instructive. So now we are realizing that strategy, correspondingly creating and realizing the marketing plan. Regarding marketing we are reaching the next step, meaning that my ideas will be realized soon, as they and the budget got accepted. Of course there was a process behind it, and most of my early ideas were neglected as they were too expensive, too difficult to be implemented, too risky. Moreover I started to also get involved with grants and funding, which is not my main interest but very good and necessary to learn as well.
Currently we are getting ready to sell the charcoal stove. The company building the stove also is very interesting as they are making briquets out of organic waste and charcoal dust (leftovers from producing and transporting charcoal). Our stove is branded and there are some issues as the price has to be low and so the means for branding are limited but still quality shall be good. So we are still improving the way the logo is put on our stove, while also doing research with potential customers to see what is important to them and work closely together with the stove providing company. It is a very exciting process with many interesting insights. While for us, for example, a nice logo is important, most Ugandans do not even realize a difference between a clear and an unclear logo, but are much more aware of details related to the quality of the clay or the pottholds.
We are continuing to sell the water filters, which are a success. As they are not our focus we cannot put much effort into the sales of water filters, but the great news is that even with very little effort we succeed.
Furthermore I started building my own network, with the help of my boss, organizing two events, each once per month. There is Green Drinks Kampala, where people meet, who are interested in and working in the green energy sector, or in related projects in the social enterprise sector. Each time one person is doing a presentation, followed by a Q&A session, discussion, drinks and food. It is great to see all those interesting projects going on here in Uganda and to meet all these amazing people. The other event is marketing drinks, which follows the same concept, only that here we are people working in marketing.
Beside that I enjoy my free time with doing more trips, enjoying Kampala and its rich offer. I joined a climbing group, will do my first triathlon in 2 weeks, moved to a great living community in a house with a breathtaking view and made first friends.
So all in all my first month here has been exciting, very informative and great! I look very much forward to the next 5 months or more!
The pictures show a kid in a rural area making a bundle out of collected firewood and carrying it home. It is very hard work that is reduced if people use an energy efficient stove or a water filter as then they need less firewood. Still firewood is needed and that work has to be done…