GNN.org is the exclusive media partner for the 2018 ‘Global Good Fund’ Fellows—12 extraordinary young social entrepreneurs who are making the world a better place. Chosen annually, the 12 Fellows are each matched with an executive mentor, leadership coach, and $10,000. Hand-selected from 2,400 applicants in 100 countries, these visionaries are being celebrated—one each day on GNN—leading up to the 6th Annual Global Good Fund Gala, on April 26.
Born and raised in Kitabi, a poor village in the south of Rwanda, Jean Bosco Nzeyimana grew up in a home without electricity and running water.
The overwhelming majority of his fellow villagers relied on wood charcoal as their main source of fuel. Because of this, he was instilled with a passion to change the status quo, by providing more ecological and affordable biofuels.
Over 80% of the people in Rwanda are still forced to use wood as a means to live, which means more than 3 million trees will be cut down to satisfy this energy need alone.
Children are dropping out of school because they are working to help their parents collect firewood for cooking, creating another problem for the country’s future.
As the only person from his village to graduate high school, Jean Bosco’s most pressing issue became figuring out a way to quell the fuel needs that had been robbing so many of his peers of their rights to a proper education.
“I’m trying to create a world that is environmentally stable, not by trying to find fancy, expensive, solutions. I think we’ve had the solutions for many years, we just needed a business model we could apply”, Nzeyimana explained.
Jean Bosco’s solution: Habona, Ltd. He created a company that produces affordable and environmentally friendly services and fuels in the form of biomass briquettes and pellets from waste. This serves as a sustainable alternative to wood charcoal, while also improving sanitation in homes.
Jean Bosco oversees the company’s management, fundraising and public relations. He’s raised startup capital for Habona, and has provided more than 25 permanent jobs to the people of Rwanda.
Jean Bosco’s love for green living and environmental conversation led him to start another venture with two friends – promoting ecotourism and biodiversity conservation. This new joint venture, Kitabi Ecocenter, has been up and running for seven months, and has since attracted over 750 local and international tourists, providing accommodations in a replica of the traditional Rwandan King’s palace and other eco lodges.
Upon founding Habona and his other initiatives, Jean Bocso was recognized as the 2014 Top Young Entrepreneur of Rwanda, and received a prestigious 2015 Top Young Achievers award from the First Lady of Rwanda.
He was also selected for the Mandela Washington Fellowship; a flagship program of the U.S. president for Young African Leaders.
At the 2016 Global Entrepreneur Summit, Jean Bosco spoke on a panel alongside former US President Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg. The following year, he was named as one of Forbes 30 under 30 Africa’s Promising Social Entrepreneurs. He has clearly gained no shortage of international recognition.
Several years later, Jean Bosco still resides in Kitabi, as he continues working closely to his local initiatives. His major focus is on expanding Habona to further encourage sustainability and employment creation, uplifting the lives of people in marginalized communities: “My greatest inspiration is that every little thing I do makes an impact in somebody else’s life.”
Through its Fellowship program launched in 2012, The Global Good Fund invests in high potential leaders committed to social impact worldwide. It also created the 360 MIRROR – the first evidence-based leadership assessment for social entrepreneurs and CEOs.
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