Ugandan youth are increasingly thinking outside the box given the high levels of unemployment in the country.
Azizzi Kayanja and Siraje Wasswa, both residents of Ggulu ward in Mukono Municipality are some of the enterprising Ugandans making a living from making modern charcoal stoves.
These young men say they started this business with Shs100, 000 only a few years ago, but they are now planning to make a formal industry to produce charcoal stoves.
“From this money, we bought some pieces of iron sheets and some other materials and machines used in making these stoves,” Wasswa says, adding that since they started, they have been successful in their work because they not only make stoves, but also make saucepans.
“Given our success in these two, we now believe we can do very many more,” he says.
They make stoves in different sizes and fashions with varying prices. “The market for stoves is big enough. The stove price range from Shs4,000 – Shs15, 000 while the saucepans go for between Shs25, 000 and Shs500, 000 depending on the size,” Kayanja says.
These young entrepreneurs say they would be nothing without their work. “Our families are very well catered for unlike before. Secondly, each year that passes, we have been able to save money and go to a higher level,” Kayanja says, adding that as an individual, he has been able to buy a plot of land in which he will start building soon while Wasswa says that he has managed to buy two dairy cows from which he gets milk that he sells daily hence boosting his family income.
Their biggest challenge is the small working space and because of this, they can’t expand on their production because they wait for old stock to be cleared. They also lack modern equipment.
“The varying weather conditions also affect us so much. During the rainy season, our stoves may not dry very well yet during too much sunshine, they may just crack as a result of too much heat,” says Wasswa, adding that transportation of their products is also still a major challenge.
“We plan to buy our land where we will build permanent structures. This will help us enlarge our scope of work and consequently incomes,” Wasswa says, adding: “On this land, we plan to set up a factory that will be aimed at not only producing products in large quantities but also widening the range of products we produce.”
They also intend to open up a school to train other people on how to make charcoal stoves and saucepans.
“We hope that this will further help in the fight against unemployment thereby reducing crime rate and therefore lifting the communities’ standards of living,” Kayanja says
They also said that they have plans to buy a vehicle in the near future to help in the transportation of their products to the markets.