Social Entrepreneur, Muhammed Dimma Mawejje usually starts his day by combing through farms and plantations in search of banana fibers that he later fashions into a number of items.
Mawejje makes wall clocks, earrings, photo frames, and a number of other items using banana fibers as his distinct raw material.
Mawejje said that he engages banana growers who collect the fibers from their plantations and he pays each of them according to the weight of their collections.
“This has enabled the banana growers to earn extra income from what would have been waste and it has even improved the economic status of our community members,” Mawejje told this website.
After gathering his raw materials, Mawejje heads to his office in Kitegomba – Kasangati Town Council, where he sorts and grades the fibers to get the right fit for production.
“After grading, we apply the fiber accordingly to a particular piece that we are creating, furnish it up and make it ready for sale,” he said.
With banana fibers at the center of his creations, Mawejje has not only helped banana growers to earn extra income but has also created jobs for the youth and women in rural areas.
According to Mawejje, his creations have also helped to train and equip at least 160 young people in different areas of his production line, with skills on how to make different products out of banana fibers.
To date, Mawejje said that his creations have recycled at least 21000kg banana stems (waste) into banana fibers, creating revenue of 3000 USD.
Mawejje’s creations have also been able to develop affordable products, ranging from wall clocks to jewelry made from banana fibers worth 5000 USD since inception.
Speaking to Nile Post, Mawejje said that he started his creations in 2014 while working with a craft business in Kasangati Town Council.
“This whole thing came after I was sent to the store to pick materials to use for that day. As I was in the store, I came across a beautiful fascinating piece of product (jewelry box) made 100% out of banana fibers. In return, I asked the lady if banana fibers can also be used to create crafts like we were making them using bamboo and paper. She said yes and a few days later, I bought materials, tried it, and came up with my first piece,” Mawejje said.
From the first piece, Mawejje said that he teamed up with a friend and they started making photo frames and jewelry boxes but he always wanted to create impact and go beyond just creating frames.
” I applied for business incubation, a self-funded program which was offered by the Texfad Vocational Business Incubator for two years which helped me to understand all those aspects in business and project management. The skills I learned here gave birth to Mawejje Creations and all it is today,” Mawejje said.
The creations have since moved from just an idea that was meant to create another income stream to now being a social enterprise and banana fiber center which develops affordable banana fiber products to reduce banana waste, enabling banana growers to earn extra income while creating jobs for the youth and women in rural areas.
“Our vision is now to be the leading enterprise in improving the social and economic status of youth and women in Uganda and Africa. This is what keeps us going even on days when things are slow,” Mawejje said.
Mawejje said that being able to create jobs for youth, and enhancing the lives of banana growers is an achievement in itself as this is their mission statement.
Besides that, Mawejje Creations has also been recognized in a number of awards, including but not limited to; ATCG Innovation Award 2020, Younger African Leaders Award finalist 2020, Global Environmental Award Nominee 2020, Ignite Innovation Lab 2020, Young African Leaders Initiative Cohort 38 2020, Top 40 under 40 2020 among others.
Like any other venture, Mawejje Creations has suffered some setbacks. Mawejje said that one of his major challenges is the mindset in some urban communities, who think that products made out of banana fibers are not durable.
“Some people think that these are meant to be consumed by white people and tourists which is still a big challenge. Young people also despise the material. They don’t see value in banana waste,” Mawejje said.
Despite all these, Mawejje said that he is determined to invest all his youthful days in his creations till he retires at 70.
” Why? Being that it is still a Virgin industry with fewer people in it, it is an opportunity to make a lot of research on how to develop other products and projects through Research and Development,” Mawejje said.
One can find Mawejje’s products on his Facebook page called ‘Mawejje Creations’