Last Year Muhammed Dimma Mawejje featured among Vision Group’s TOP 40 UNDER 40 young people who went out of their way to change their communities.
He has not looked back. The 27-year-old recycles banana fiber to create jobs for youth and low income earners mostly women.
Through his social enterprises Mawejje Creations and Eco Crafts Ug, he says he has so far skilled more than 180 youth from his workshop located in kitegomba, kasangati Town Council in Wakiso District. The youth include those in holidays, the unemployed and students locked up at homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They make and sell mats, plaques, wall clocks, pen holders, jewellery and bags from banana fibers.
“This programme helps to keep the youth and students busy and free from lockdown depressions”, He says.
Mawejje has also trained and skilled several banana growers with hands-on skills. They also recycle banana fiber.
In process Mawejje has recycled more than 3100kg of banana waste.
He is passionate about empowering banana farmers to produce good quality fiber. “I also strive to support youth to revolutionise the fashion industry in Uganda and a cross Africa”. he affirms.
HOW HE DOES IT
Mawejje trains the youth, students and women under the BAFETE( Banana Fiber Extraction Training Editions) programmes. They are enrolled in small groups of less than 15. Standard operating procedures are observed. Training takes a week. The youth come from within the community. “ In the first two days,we train them to sort and grade fiber” he says.
They are also taken through product development.This involves the actual crafting out of earrings, pen holders, jewellery, table mats, wall clocks and bags from banana fibre.
After, the trainees are given a working environment at Mawejje’s workshop. Some start working from their homes. He also helps them to get market for their products. “ We also engage banana farmers; equip them with extraction skills. They develop their own products to improve their own products to improve their livelihood” he say. “Our products are products are eco-friendly and affordable,” he asserts.
Meanwhile, during the first lockdown last year, Mawejje trained more than 50 young people under the Post-COVID hands-on Skills training programme. He is in touch with 10 of them who started business. They make products from their homes and Mawejje helps to market them using his social media platforms.
The trainings are free. Mawejje raises money from online crowd-funding (dolphin fund). “ In the first lockdown, I raised 900,000/, which I used to buy materials,” he says.
The youth are also given certificates for the training. Akilo of banana fibre costs between sh1000 and sh1500. The products range from sh5000 and above.
This time around,he has so far enrolled 16 people; both male and female, 16-25 years, mostly students and unemployed youth. “I am optimistic that the skill will help the trainees to start home-based business and improve their livelihoods,even after the lockdown,” he opines.
Mawejje advises parents to encourage their children to make use of the things around them. “Help to skill them and see how they will sustain themselves from young age. Do not allow their heads to be locked up,” he counsels.
On other hand, his social work is limited by funds. Mawejje says, he would have enrolled many people, but that he is financially constrained. “I cannot afford to buy materials, sanitisers and protective gear,” he shares.
PHILANTHROPY AND CAREER
Aside from the social work, Mawejje is also trainer/facilitator at KYUSA Uganda and being a professional chef, he serves as the operational manager at Rafiki Catering Services. Aside from that, his social entrepreneurship has so far earned him 12 local and global recognitions. Six were scooped in 2019 and six others last year.
For example, he is fellow at African Presidential Leadership Programme batch 3 2020, YALI Cohort 38 fellow and Alumni 2020, Innovation Award Winner Under ATCG community fund and Readers to Leaders fellow 2019.
In 2019 still, he became a World Youth Forum Delegate, African Change-Makers fellow 2019, Visionary Leader Award Nominee and Young African Leaders Award finalist.
“My vivions is to support and improve people’s lives. I use different media platforms to share insights on how to make it in entrepreneurship without funding,” he explains.
On what makes him tick, Mawejje relies on his strengths, ability, confidence, passion for solving problems in his community using entrepreneurial skill and determination for success.
But most importantly, he believes in a community where everyone achieves more. “No should be above the other because working with me goes beyond. It is an opportunity to live your passion,” he says.
Mawejje attended Kimanya Al Islamic Primary School in Masaka, from where he joined Cornerstone High School Wakiso for his O’Level.
He also enrolled for Certificates at Uganda Youth Development Link Masooli, National Training Academy in Cairo Egypt and at Social Innovations Academy in Mpigi Uganda.
He is inspired by Apostle Grace Lubega of Phaneroo ministries and Simon Senik an American author, optimistic and infinite leader.
In future, Mawejje envisions being a well-established social entrepreneur and investor supervising hundreds of women who will be running Social business that transform banana fibre into fabric.
“The entire world has embraced banana fiber as suitable material for the fashion industry,” he stresses.