Reason #12 to give for Aeroplan Match Week: Chris Morgan is building local capacity

All this week, we are sharing stories of why you should donate Aeroplan miles to EWB (and have them doubled!) from Sept 18-24. Every year, EWB sends over 40 volunteer Fellows to partner initiatives in Zambia, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, using donated Aeroplan miles. In 2016, Chris Morgan went to work with Kwangu-Kwako, a social enterprise working to build safer, simpler and more cost-effective solutions for Kenya’s informal housing settlements.

Chris has been with EWB since his days studying civil engineering in the Maritimes. He was an EWB chapter member at the University of New Brunswick, and even co-founded our University of Prince Edward Island chapter, which cemented our presence in all 10 provinces!”

After graduating in spring 2016, Chris began his long-term fellowship with Kwangu-Kwako, in Kenya. Putting his engineering expertise into action, Chris is the venture’s product design manager, working on safe, affordable homes for people living in the informal settlements of Nairobi.

Chris tells us, “I’ve been able to free up [the co-founders] time so they can focus on the financial side of things and make [the houses] available to the customer. And I’ve been able to take our simple, 7m-by-12m shed and get it ready to scale. We can produce up to 60 precast concrete panels, or about one house, per day.”

Winnie Gitau, one of Kwangu-Kwako’s co-founders, says Chris’ work on the manufacturing side is crucial for the local economy. “By being in the factory all the time, Chris is also able to work with casual labourers; he’s building the capacity of the local people. That’s important to us, because Fellows’ placements don’t last forever, but we have local people, and it’s important for us to build the capacity. It makes us very hopeful.”

Chris is hopeful, too, about Kwangu-Kwako’s potential. “Kwangu-Kwako is really important to me. I think it will have an enormous impact for people living in slums, but beyond that, it’s adaptable, so it could go elsewhere in Kenya, or a refugee camp, or anywhere in the world. There are all kinds of possibilities.”

From September 18-24, Aeroplan is matching all miles donated to EWB, up to 500,000. With your donation of Aeroplan Miles, EWB can send more awesome Fellows like Chris Morgan to support important enterprises like Kwangu-Kwako. Together, we can continue creating possibilities and building a better world.

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