A Look at Our Incredible Women: Meet Liberia Munduru

By Simon Kiragu and Davina Ngei

Edited by Linda Davis PhD and Maureen Onyango

Liberia runs Destiny Chain Traders, a company retailing improved cookstoves and general merchandise in Arua town in northern Uganda. Liberia’s zeal for promoting clean energy adoption stems from her job as branch coordinator with a local NGO called Rural Initiative for Community Empowerment West Nile (RICE-WN) where she works on environmental conservation, renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, community health and vocational skills training. Last year, Liberia took her first step into clean energy entrepreneurship by opening up a shop dedicated to offering improved energy products to residents of Arua, who mainly rely on inefficient and harmful energy sources such as firewood, charcoal and kerosene. Although Destiny Chain traders started out by selling 5 cookstoves per month, this number has risen steadily over the last 14 months to an average of  50 cookstoves sold per month.

This growth has buoyed Liberia to reach for even greater heights and the mentorship support from wPOWER has come at an opportune time. Liberia’s mentorship engagements focus on improving her financial and human resource management skills.

Mentorship

Liberia has been matched with Barrat from India, who is helping her accurately categorize  expenses and profits within her business. Barrat is also providing guidance on effectively tracking sales of each of her products. Most recently, Liberia has begun using a template provided Barrat  to track stocks, sales, profits and expenses (including transport and packaging), giving her improved control of her finances. She is also using this template to negotiate better wholesale prices with her current cookstove distributor with the goal of improving her profit margins.

Liberia’s vision is to expand her business, first across the district of Arua and then to other West Nile districts, and to diversify her products to include briquettes, which she plans to produce from her shop. By the end of 2018 she also plans to increase her cookstoves inventory and phase out sale of merchandise, in favor of agricultural produce e.g. cassava – a raw material in briquette production. Barrat’s business success has inspired her to grow her energy business to effectively and efficiently serve a wider range of customers.

“My dream is to change lives both economically and socially. I urge women to explore more, be open to learning and be willing to identify the gaps and opportunities for them to grow. Know where you came from and where you want to be.”