College of Science graduate, Dieudonne Kwame Agudah (MSc Envrionmental Biology: Conservation and Resource Management, 2013) has received a 2017 SAG-SEED Award for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development for his enterprise WASHKing.
Following his studies at Swansea University, Dieudonne returned to his native Ghana and set up an environmentally sustainable non-profit organization called Global Youth in Environmental Sustenance (G-YES). In order to generate funds to support this organisation, Dieudonne went on to develop another enterprise named WASHKing which manufactures, supplies and installs biodigester toilets made of eco-friendly material for low-income urban households in order to improve health and economic conditions and to keep the environment clean.
WASHKing delivers social, environmental and economic impact simultaneously and contributes to significant sustainable development goals of clean water and sanitation; good health and wellbeing and economic growth. The toilets are built by local artisans using regionally available materials. The main target groups are low-income urban households and institutions with poor or no access to toilets. Flexible payment terms, training on hygiene and after-sales services ensure customer loyalty.
The 2017 SAG-SEED Awards are sponsored SWITCH Africa Green with the support of the European Union. Of the 336 applications and 49 shortlisted initiatives, WASHKing was selected as a winner. The Award is recognition of achievements in innovation and entrepreneurship with efforts to promote economic growth, social development and environmental protection in Ghana, locally implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Dieudonne gave his reasons for choosing to study at Swansea:
“When I decided to pursue my postgraduate study I wanted a course in environmental resource management with a module on sustainability science of which I was greatly passionate, and Swansea University was able to provide me with exactly what I wanted.
“I really enjoyed the relevant field assignments and found them very empowering and stimulating. Moreover, I liked and appreciated the enthusiasm of both lecturers and the administrative staff, with their readiness to go the extra mile to help me succeed with my studies. Another reason I enjoyed my course at Swansea was the flexible nature which allowed me to participate in extra-curricular activities.
Of his enterprises, Dieudonne explained,
“Following my studies I returned to Ghana where I founded an environmentally sustainable non-profit organisation called Global Youth in Environmental Sustenance (G-YES). I realised being a non-profit organisation dependent on external donors for support to operate was difficult to sustain. Subsequently, I founded a social enterprise, called WASHKing, to tackle deep social and environmental challenges, including the sanitation crisis and youth unemployment in my country and other developing regions. Part of the profit generated is used to support G-YES. I currently act as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the respective businesses providing, among others, responsibility to ensure they deliver successfully their mandate with maximum benefits to stakeholders.Every day, while providing our services I meet interesting people and get inspired by the people I work with. We constantly seek and receive honest feedback from partners and customers which often challenge us to stretch our comfort zone and be continually innovative. At times, we go out to the field and realise we need to engineer completely new solutions just to satisfy a client’s need.”
Dieudonne credits Swansea University with giving him the enhanced skills and knowledge base he required to make a success of his work:
“Before coming to Swansea, although I had a plan for an environmental career and setting up my own business, I was not really clear about the specific area. But, my course together with involvement in career events on campus, really helped me in addressing pressing social and environmental challenges for sustainable development. So the choice of my course at Swansea University helped shaped my career and its trajectory.”
Asked what advice he would give current students and new graduates Dieudonne said,
“Give it your best and make good use of the great resources at Swansea University. Whatever you find to do, let it be that which you will love to do; learn to be entrepreneurial which is crucial for enhancing your success and keeping pace with our changing world; keep your mind open for the numerous possibilities around you.
“I had very fond memories of my time at Swansea University. My personal tutors were awesome and supportive – they gave me encouraging feedback and counsel on my course work. The good student support services and career guidance also helped shape my career path. I loved the kindness of the local people, the beautiful scenery and calm atmosphere of Swansea.”
For further information on the award visit: https://www.seed.uno/awards/all/2017/washking.html
- Tuesday 5 September 2017 14.35 BST
- Tuesday 5 September 2017 13.37 BST