Meet Henry and his team. Henry is the founder of Tusafishe and one of our partners in the work to provide clean water around the world. We are excited to share that he was selected to be part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. This is a huge honor and opportunity for him to be able to develop as a leader in his community. With that in mind, we thought it would be great to share his story – how a failed law exam turned into a passion to provide clean water to those in need.
Henry originally was going to study law in Uganda. He studied for years and was planning to take the exams in the spring. Unfortunately, when it came time to take the final exam, he was hospitalized from typhoid fever. This was a direct result of drinking unsafe water. The hospitalization kept him from passing the exams and he set out on another path.
As typhoid, a waterborne illness, affected Henry’s life in a big way, he decided to focus on providing clean water to others. In hopes of starting his own organization, he focused on accounting and finance at school.
Laying the Foundation
Upon graduation, he joined a water company as an accountant. Henry learned a lot in this position, but found that the main problem was that there were many who still could not afford equipment for treating their water. Those who lived in cities were able to buy the water filtration products from the company, but no one was thinking about those in rural settings. Henry brought this up to his manager, but his manager said that it was not possible to get rural communities clean water because it did not make sense for the business. They could not just give products away.
This did not deter Henry from pursuing his passion to provide clean water to rural communities. In his free time, he began laying the groundwork for Tusafishe, a social enterprise that would help rural schools gain access to clean water. He also enlisted friends to help him along the way. Eventually, he moved on to a new role as the accountant for the SINA, Social Innovation Academy. This allowed him to use their entrepreneurial space as well as pour into other young entrepreneurs.
In November 2017, he built his first water filtration system prototype with SINA. In the new year, his Tusafishe team gained more stability and wanted to figure out how they could support themselves. They applied for SEED, an organization that promotes entrepreneurship for sustainable development, which provides additional training. Tusafishe won the SEED Climate Smart Enterprises Award and traveled to Bangkok, Thailand to accept it. At the SEED conference, Henry met Darin, our Business Connect global director. Henry made it a point to have more conversations with Darin as Business Connect offered a variety of filter options and he saw this as an opportunity to expand Tusafishe’s work.
A few months later, Darin was visiting Uganda and discussing the various business opportunities with Business Connect. Their goal was to make a profit to sustain their business and allow them to do clean water projects for rural schools.
A Bright Future
Of course, 2020 was not good for the business. As lockdowns swept across the country, business slowed, but this did not stop Tusafishe. Henry continued to search for ways to develop the organization. He applied to and was selected to be a part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship of Young African Leaders. This opportunity provided him the opportunity to take business courses at the University of Nevada, Reno. He also was connected with a business mentor and a larger network of leaders.
As he continues to explore ways to grow his business, we are excited to come alongside him. Our heart is to empower local entrepreneurs and help them run successful businesses. If you or someone you know is an aspiring entrepreneur, connect with us. Our ever expanding network is a great place to find support and mentorship. Let’s partner together to bring change around the world.