Meet Johnstone

Full Name: Johnstone Mutua

Age: 33

From: I’m from the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya

Job: SHOFCO WASH Programme Innovation and Projects Lead

Favourite place: My workshop

What is your current job?
I’m the SHOFCO WASH Programme Innovation and Projects Lead. I’m also a social worker and community developer, and an innovation & technology enthusiast and I love combining the two to become an innovator and social entrepreneur. I come from a humble background and have always wanted to make in impact in the community. I love transforming things from one state to another. This job ticks all my boxes. I have only worked at SHOFCO for one month but I have created a plan to transform the WASH programme into a social enterprise, where the community fund and operate the projects. It is my aim that within three years this innovative social enterprise becomes scalable, with high social impact and is a financially viable model.

Before I joined SHOFCO as a member of staff, I worked for the IT company that implemented a 24/7 cashless water dispensing system at the water kiosks and we also installed solar panels close to illuminate the routes to the kiosk to increase the safety of people accessing water after dark. Now we have the cashless system in the kiosks, we don’t require space for an office and so now we are considering using this space to sell other sanitation items to make these kiosks a one-stop shop for sanitation. Before I worked at the IT company, I was a youth leader in Kibera slum.

What are your hobbies?
I have a side project developing small-scale backup power solutions for communities. I also mentor young entrepreneurs, helping them to create business plans, financial projections and I help them apply for funding. I am also developing an early warning system for slum fires. The fires are one of the biggest risks to living here – when fire catches, it just burns, access is really poor and very slow, so it is just not practical to put out the fires once they have taken hold, and most of the fires occur in the night when everyone is at home.

Who has been an inspirational person in your life?
Kennedy Odede, the founder of SHOFCO. He has a humble background and he has impacted so many people.

Can I have an interesting fact about you?
I am very observant and I can always find a solution to a problem even if it’s not in an area I have studied because I can learn very quickly.

“I come from a humble background and have always wanted to make in impact in the community. I love transforming things from one state to another.”

What is your favourite colour?
Either blue or black, something quiet as I’m a quiet person.

What is your favourite animal?
An eagle.

What is your favourite food?
Ugali and kienyeji – ricemeal/cornmeal with a local vegetable.

What was your favourite subject at school?
Physics and the other sciences, I wasn’t a fan of languages, but I was good at writing.

What languages do you speak?
Swahili, Kamba (my local dialect) and English.

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