“Working at Sanergy has challenged me to grow personally and professionally!” Maurice Arwa’s story
Every day, we endeavor to build our teammates’ capacity to perform well at work, while also charting a course for progress in their careers.
Maurice Arwa joined our team in 2012 through what he calls “preparation meeting opportunity”. He saw Sanergy setting up office in the same block where he was working as a freelance mason and pursued a job opportunity. “I had been on a job hunt for a while and so eagerly inquired about a masonry opportunity at Sanergy,” he remembers.
As luck would have it, there was in fact an opening, but it was more than masonry work. It was in the processing department where he was expected to be a part of Sanergy’s new waste treatment and conversion work. It was a huge transition from the work that he was used to doing.
“I had never heard of such a sanitation model before, I did not even know that human waste could be converted to useful products!” he exclaims.
However, Maurice was ready to try the new opportunity and therefore accepted the offer and joined six other teammates for the job onboarding training.
Part of his duties at the time would be to build compost boxes, receive waste from our network of Fresh Life Toilets, then manually mix it with other organic waste and lay the mixture into the boxes for composting.
“While this was scary at first, I did not have any reservations about doing this job whatsoever! I was curious about how this technology worked. In addition, every member of our team received inoculations to help ensure our safety at work.”
After a year and a half as a workman in the processing department, Maurice received a promotion to supervisor. His managers were happy with his performance; it always exceeded expectations!
During the same period, Sanergy’s processing facility relocated from Mukuru Kwa Reuben to a site near Kinanie town in Machakos County, and Maurice was charged with supervising 27 teammates.
“Our Fresh Life Toilet network was fast expanding, and we were receiving more and more waste every day. We required more space and teammates to manage waste treatment and conversion,” he says.
Knowing that he had secured a stable job and a supportive team that was easy to work with, he was motivated to accomplish his tasks well. “My teammates were very co-operative throughout the transition which influenced our good performance. I became a mentor to most of our staff as I was among the longest serving teammates,” he says.
Today, Kinanie is home to all of Sanergy’s processing procedures and often, Maurice and Leonard Mupalia, Leonard’s boss, are extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of Sanergy’s waste conversion processes and are helpful in responding to enquires and requests by other teammates.
“We work mostly with teammates from the Black Soldier Fly Project, Research lab, and Farm Star trials team,” he says. Maurice tracks and enters data from the composting process, records feedstock use and anticipates future requirements, and supervises the composting maintenance done by his staff.
Last quarter, he was voted as the most outstanding teammate, embodying the value of the quarter: teamwork and collaboration.
“I felt excited and honored that my teammates were appreciative of my work. It has also motivated me to provide even better services going forward,” Maurice beams.
He acknowledges that while he puts a lot of effort to ensure his performance is good, his previous supervisor and mentor Laura Kimani has played a key role in his professional growth. “Laura constantly reminded me and other team members that our work was helping make the lives of our communities better. This motivated me a lot granted that I experienced the effects of poor sanitation while living in Mathare.”
In addition, he says that participating in Sanergy’s learning and development workshops has accelerated his professional growth. “I have acquired important skills such as good communication with my teammates, being authentic in my work and approaching my tasks with an eye toward innovation and improvement,” he says.
As Sanergy works to more efficiently treat and convert waste, Maurice is always keen to learn new technology and process improvements to share with his teammates. So far, he has participated in several trainings: the Biomax operator training where he learnt how to operate the Biomax machine used in mixing organic waste, a composting workshop where he learnt how to use Sanergy’s new mechanized windrow turner, and regular health and safety trainings to equip teammates with skills and tips to ensure they are safe while performing their tasks.
These trainings have helped Maurice develop an interest in engineering! “In the near future, I want to pursue a Mechanical Engineering course so I can contribute more in providing innovative solutions that make our waste processing even more efficient,” he says.
At home too Maurice is a hero to his siblings! “Through my opportunity at Sanergy, I have been able to save some funds that I have used to educate two of my younger brothers through secondary school,” he says.
We are so proud of Maurice’s accomplishments and can’t wait to see what he does next!