What’s in a name? A lot if Wanjuhi Njoroge’s name is anything to go by. Wanjuhi means the aggressive one in Agikuyu and the bearer of the name has lived up to it’s meaning.
“I grew up in the foothills of Mt Kenya in a village called Kabaru in Nyeri County. I come from a rural background but my parents did their best to ensure that my siblings and I got a good education. To say they were hard working is an understatement and if I am hard working, then I credit it to them and my maternal grandmother whom I am named after,” Wanjúhí kick starts the interview.
At 28 years of age, Wanjúhí has achieved more than what most of her peers could even dream of.
She wears many hats and has been in business for the better part of her adult life. Wanjúhí is the president and founder of Nelig Group Limited, a company that offers ICT, communication, marketing, branding and visibility solutions to government, parastatals, SME’s, individuals, and organisations with a vision to venture into agro processing, energy and real estatate sectors.
Before starting Nelig, Wanjuhi had been running a technology company in partnership with a friend before they decided to part ways. She is also a social entrepreneur.
“In 2015, I started RootEd Africa, a social enterprise that seeks to transform lives in the rural areas through ICT, sports and mentorship. We work with schools and the communities around these schools to ensure that children go to school and stay in school to the highest echelons of education,” reveals Wanjúhí who was among the finalists of Business Daily’s Top 40 Under 40 Women in 2016.
Through RootEd Africa, Wanjúhí, together with well-wishers, set up the first library in her village in Kabaru to be used by pupils and the community.
The library is to also serve as an ICT centre that offers digital literacy classes. RootEd Africa, which was started as a mentorship programme, also seeks to nurture innovation through ICT as well as expose young people to the opportunities available online.
“We are currently in the fourth industrial revolution that represents new ways in which technology becomes embedded in society. We therefore need to expose our children to ICT since it is driving the world today.
The Kabaru ICT centre is among the many that RootEd Africa seeks to plant in rural areas. The second ICT centre is to be set up in Kinoo Girls Secondary School in Kiambu County. We have been lucky to find partners such as the Nairobi Global Shapers who are helping us to set up these centres,” explains the third-born in a family of four.
It is befitting for Wanjúhí to be at the forefront of advocating for ICT matters considering she holds a Diploma in business information technology from Strathmore University. She also holds a degree in sociology and communication from the University of Nairobi.
Wanjúhí sits on the Nyeri County National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) committee representing over 250,000 youth from Kieni Constituency. She is also part of the team implementing the Internet for All Project by the World Economic Forum targeting to connect 25 million people in the Northern Corridor, which includes Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
So, what drives her? “I believe in Africa. I believe in being the change I want to see in others. Technology is driving the world today and if we are to be at par with the rest of the world, then we need to expose our children to it at an early age with a bias to those in the rural areas so as to expand their worldview and aspire for more.
Many are the times I assemble my friends in various disciplines to go speak to these students so that they can know the world has a lot more to offer,” she explains, adding that together with the parents and teachers from Kabaru, they donated a TV, hard disk and bought a DVD player so that the pupils can watch documentaries to enlighten them.
Having been in business for several years, Wanjúhí’s advice to young entrepreneurs comes from the lessons she has learnt along the way and they include: It’s wise to gain experience before going into business even if it is through internship. Your network is your net worth. Stay focussed on your mission, vision and end goal. Market your services/products.