Strands of sweat form along Ramadhan Mwasamai’s brow and begin trickling down his face as he whistles away while fixing pipes at the Kwale County Assembly; the song aptly reminds him of the characteristic manouvres of the group that is just about to pay him his well-deserved dues.
The 27-year-old third born in a family of three boys and five girls is a resident of Mwele area in Kwale County, where construction is booming, thanks to fruits of devolution and the explosion of non-governmental organisations. After completing primary school in 2012, Ramadhan had to find a way of supporting his family. He would try his luck to earn a living at construction sites hoping that one day he gets to join the world of skilled plumbers, and lead a better life while contributing to the construction industry.
“Out of my curiosity at the construction sites, I could easily pick out the skilled plumbers whose workmanship I really admired. My dream was to one day join them, given that their expertise was quite rare against the high demand for their services”, says Ramadhan.
His dilemma however, was lack of ways to attain the skills he so admired. His parents could not raise any money to cater for his technical skills training as they struggled to feed the large family.
Six years down the line, Ramadhan heard about KCB Foundation’s 2jiajiri from a charity operating in the area and felt that his time had finally come. He applied and succeeded, joining Kenya Coast National Polytechnic to study Grade III in plumbing and pipe fitting under the KCB Foundation’s 2jiajiri and GIZ’s E4D/SOGA – Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa Programme in 2018. Through the technical training, he acquired advanced skills in the trade besides learning how to use even the most sophisticated equipment.
Ramadhan thereafter honed his skills through an internship at Kwale Water & Sewerage Company, where in addition to technical skills, he also boosted his business acumen by learning how to prepare plumbing quotations.
“I utilised the knowledge I gained at the water company to prepare quotations for my own clients who came for my pipe-fitting and plumbing services. Most of them were constructing new houses while others wanted repairs,” says Ramadhan with a broad smile on his face.
As he goes about his businesses, Ramadhan receives business development support from KCB Foundation’s 2jiajiri team in Coast Region. This has immensely helped him to boost his business. Through BDS, Ramadhan has managed to register his business, Qalturx Enterprises and has also come up with a viable business plan outlining his target market, products,pricing, marketing strategies and risk and structures related to the business. He has also managed to maintain a sound inventory of the necessary assets required and realistic financial projections as well as filing his tax returns on time.
His productivity has been boosted by the toolkits and protective gear he received from KCB Foundation / E4D/SOGA in September last year. From just some hundreds of shillings in earnings, Ramadhan now earns a monthly income of KShs. 10,000 which enables him meet his basic needs as well as support his family.
Ramadhan has become a role model for his young siblings and the youth in Mwele area. He aspires to own a company that will offer plumbing services and products to large entities such as the County Government of Kwale, Msambweni National Government -CDF and other entities in Coast region and beyond.