With 2022 well on its way and our workshop in full flow, I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to introduce you to Ian Shibachi, one of the newest members in our Karen office.
Ian is a Nairobi boy through and through, born and raised in Rongai he has lived his whole life in Kenya’s capital city. He studied Business Management at Marsit International University and funnily enough he used to work for us as a blocker in the workshop before moving on to another job! But we are over the moon to have him back with us!
Ian’s new role at Ocean Sole is as our “procurement organizer”, which basically means he looks for new flip flop suppliers for us.
At the end of last year, as we had been so busy, we realized that we desperately needed an individual to help generate more interest around Kenya in our flip-flop collection scheme. Not only because it’s a super way to encourage people to clean the environment for a salary but also because we have been experiencing shortages in flip flops.
While in many ways, running out of flip-flops can be seen as a great thing, over 1,000 Kenyans in high-impact areas rely on us for a sustainable income. And we know for a fact that there are still millions of tonnes of flip-flops in our waterways and ocean that need to be collected.
And so hence where Ian comes in!
I asked him what his day looks like in the office and this is what he said - “My day starts with calling any new contacts I have as well as all of the suppliers we have on our list already. It is so important to keep in touch with everyone at all times so they know we are always looking and ready to take flip flops if they have them!”
Interestingly, Ian said that when finding new suppliers, it’s also very important to make sure they are cut out for the job. He says a flip-flop supplier has to be open-minded, hardworking, and willing to do the work, as it’s not that glamorous.
One of the most interesting leads he has acquired is a man he has called the “Umoja guy” who is based in Mombasa! We have never worked with a collector and supplier from Mombasa. As it is on the coast and Kenya’s second-largest city we are hoping for some serious tonnage! Mombasa’s population is approximately 1,208,333 of which most will certainly own or have owned a pair of flip flops in their lifetime!
Ian also spoke to me about an exciting and innovative government project called “Kazi Mtaani”. “Kazi” means “work” and “Mtaani” means “an area” in Kiswahili. This initiative is designed to support Kenyan youth in some of the most vulnerable informal settlements around Kenya. These projects aim to improve the environment, service delivery, and provide income generation opportunities.
Ian hopes he can reach out to the organizers and create a flip-flop drop-off point in town so we can pay young Kenyans for the flip-flops they have collected!
We are hoping that with Ian on board we can find suppliers all around Kenya and help tackle the flip flop pollution problem in dumps and rivers as far as Turkana!
If you would like to help or become a flip flop supplier please email - firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to hearing from you!