People make great great organisations and this is no different in Wecyclers. Ukemeabasi Esiet, a member of our Business Development team shares with us his thoughts about the Wecyclers Model and what working with us feels like.
Briefly tell us a little bit about yourself, focusing on significant events that have shaped your character/personality.
My name is Ukemeabasi Esiet, but I go by Ukeme. I was born and raised in Yaba, Lagos State, but went to boarding school in Abuja, FCT/Nassarawa State for secondary and did my higher education degrees in the United States.
One of the early events that shaped my character was the requirement by my secondary school that we do a community service project during one of our school vacations. I spent several weeks at a Catholic orphanage in Ketu where I saw young babies that had been left behind by mothers who had passed in childbirth or were unable to care for them. My time there really affected me and strengthened my resolve to be a force for good in the world.
Another event was the LeaderShape conference I attended in college as a rising senior. During the conference, we were guided to develop our vision statements of what we wanted to see in the world. Mine is a headline “A world where basic human needs are met and people pursue the goals and ideals that matter to them the most.” Living in that world is my dream.
My family also raised me to be God-fearing, open-minded, and to look for ways to be of service to others. My secondary school’s motto is also “Service of God and Others.”
What’s the story behind you joining Wecyclers?
I actually learned about Wecyclers when I was doing research for a project during one of my graduate school courses. In 2014, I used it as an example of an effective climate adaptation strategy that informed the background of my research.
When I returned to Nigeria to do my NYSC year in 2015, I met Ms. Adebiyi-Abiola at an event by Co-Creation Hub where they displayed enterprises that they had incubated. I had a brief chat with her and stayed in touch with her from that point. I finally joined the Wecyclers team officially in January 2017.
I work as a Business Development Assistant with the Business Development Manager, but I also report to the CEO and COO on special assignments.
What will you say drives you to success in your career?
I’m driven by my vision and my desire to have a positive impact in the world. I try to give my best efforts to causes that I believe in and I don’t like doing work that I don’t believe in. God is the one who has made these efforts successful and where I have failed, I have tried to keep the lessons I learned in mind.
What challenges have you encountered in the course of your work with Wecyclers?
Working at Wecyclers was initially very challenging because there was a steep learning curve for me. It was my first major professional experience since returning to Nigeria. I had been a secondary school teacher in Sokoto, but this is very different. I was initially intimidated by the pace and the scale of operations I had to learn about in order to do my work effectively. Now, I’m surprised by how much I know, and I’m still learning more as I take on new assignments.
How does working with Wecyclers fit into your personal goals, how would you benefit from being a part of the team?
My work with Wecyclers fits nicely with interest in sustainable urban development at the intersection of government, enterprise, and community groups. I am always looking for opportunities to work with organizations focused on creating lasting societal impact by solving pressing urban problems.
Wecyclers is one of those organizations driven by a mission of socioeconomic impact and a grand vision for improving the continent. I am benefitting from my time here immensely. Bilikiss has been a great support, as well as all of my colleagues.
What expectations do you have about your work here?
I expect that I will gain invaluable experience from being part of the Wecyclers team and that we will achieve greater things as we continue our work together.
What are your thoughts about the Wecyclers Model focusing on its impact?
Wecyclers is building a low-cost waste management infrastructure using mobile tech and cargo bikes, and providing incentives for people to embrace the environmentally friendly habit of recycling their waste. In this way, it is promoting environmental sustainability, socioeconomic development, and community health in densely populated low-income neighborhoods and spreading those benefits to other communities in various ways.
I believe in this model and I’m excited about the possibilities. We are currently working on a framework for telling the story of our social impact and I can’t wait for us to share it with the world.