Wednesday, September 13, 2017

HHH Garnaas-Halvorson project in Uganda

Peder Garnaas-Halvorson, student in the Master of Science in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy program at the Humphrey School, sent us an update of his team project in Uganda.

"Starting a business is so much cleaner on paper. Throughout last year, my team and I developed a business plan for what would become Kaloli Energy through the University’s Acara Program. The idea was to incentivize the household use of waste-based briquettes in Kampala, Uganda to replace charcoal use by providing doorstep delivery bundled with waste collection. The planning process involved lots of meetings in nice rooms on campus, fancy Powerpoint slide decks, and complicated Excel spreadsheets. Now, after 10 weeks in Uganda, I have learned so much more about what it actually takes to start a business. My teammate and I spent hours researching the right bucket size for delivery and finding where to buy 100 at bulk prices; we spent an entire morning standing by the road watching the motorcycle we had purchased get repairs we hadn’t realized it needed; and worked with ingenious welders to design a custom rack that could carry 10 of the aforementioned buckets on the aforementioned motorcycle. Some things that would have been so easy in the U.S. were frustratingly difficult in Kampala (like the three days it took to get a quote on costs for plastic garbage bags) and some things were so much easier (like getting a meeting with, and support from, a city environment commissioner for our project). It remains to be seen if our business will be successful (our employees have signed up about 20 customers in the first month), but the messy process of starting a business allowed me and my teammate to forge relationships, have experiences, and learn about aspects of life in Kampala that we never would have otherwise. "

Photos: Peder with one of the aforementioned buckets and the aforementioned motorcycle with the aforementioned rack.





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