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<!-- /*--><!--/*--> Oluthando...: Changing lives with Ekocenter

Changing lives with Ekocenter

'EKOCENTER is a local market in the shape of a container that also offers some of life’s essentials, like water and access to electricity. It brings utilities, services and products to communities in need. Our approach is to do this through a social enterprise model where we empower women entrepreneurs with the tools they need to run a successful business through EKOCENTER, while also providing their communities with a destination to access basic necessities. ' by Derk Herndriksen

I had the great honour of seeing what an actual ekocenter looks like. On day 3 of our visit in Tanzania we drove to one of the most poorest rural ereas named Tundwe. By poor and rural I mean no "clean' water, let alone electricity. It's unimaginable how people survive, yet they do. This is the only life they know.
For most of us looking from the outside, it just seems so sad because we know their lives could be improved. This is the thought that Derk had when he started the Ekocenter. He, an employee of Coca-cola presented the idea to company. They were extremely keen on it. And so Ekocenter was born. A couple of NGO's and private sector partners came on board as well. One of them being SolarKiosk, who provides solar power for the most disadvantaged communities.

Personally, I wish we had more Derk's out there. Better yet, companies that would back up people's ideas and projects, and invest in those ideas. I know after seeing this project, I want to do more. Blogging is not enough, I want to go out there and make a difference.

Coca-cola's goal is to have 150 Ekocenters running in Africa and Asia by end of next year. The first Ekocenter was actually launched here in Jozi. I just can't wait to see more. And being a woman, I love the woman impowerment presented from this project.

An emotional moment as Derk and partner from SolarKiosk offically open the Tundwe Ekocenter
Ekocenter providing safe Water
Kids will be able to see movies for the 1st time
Poverty stricken community in Tanzania
This is one of the better houses in this village
Ekocenter bringing the community together.

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