Updated: Apr 16, 2020
The award seeks recognize men who have toyed with ideas that have matured into successful businesses. Men who have defied odds by turning their dreams into reality. John Magiro Wangari is among the men under the age of 40 years who have defied the odds and turned their businesses into successful ventures. He was able to scoop position eight out of forty in this year’s award.
After completing secondary school, John saw the need of having electricity in his area. He went to his local river Ngondo and used simple tools such as a bicycle dynamo to generate power. Even though the 28 year old has never stepped his foot to an engineering class, he is now known as “Engineer ” in his village in Murangá county , central Kenya. He powers over 500 rural homes and has impacted the lives.
School going children can now study and do their homework in proper lighting. Businesses can open for longer. There is improved security in the area due to street lighting. Work at household levels are improved because they are now able to use electric farm tools such as water pumps and chaff cutters.
The community members approached him to supply power from his bicycle dynamo plant. It was not sustainable, he therefore had to find a way of being resourceful to his community members.
Using knowledge that he had gathered from his physics class and also from what he had learnt by generating power from a bicycle dynamo, he proceeded to river Ngondo which had a water fall and started his project which he named Magiro mini hydro power after himself.
A year later news spread that he had generated power from a bicycle dynamo, the National Environmental Trust Fund approached him and trained him on power generation skills. He was further paired with an international partner Hydrobox later after his training and this made his capacity to provide electricity to his rural home Murangá even go higher. He continues to impact the lives of many with power that is affordable, reliable and sustainable.
Clients pay a monthly fee dependent on their load and a subscription fee of Sh15,000 which is paid in instalments commonly known as “lipa polepole” This mode of payment enables more people connect to Magiro power, as they are able to afford. John now distributes power to over five regions from his power plant and dreams to cover the whole of Murang’a county.
With over twenty employees, he says many people are approaching him to supply the cheaper power with no outages. John, has hopes to reach 47 counties, connecting more Kenyans to electricity.
“I urge those who may not be excelling in education not to lose hope or to be intimidated by the peers or the society, they can still pursue their dreams alternatively through their God given talents,” he says.