07 Sep Jennipher Alista Panashe; An Innovative Approach to Building Sustainable Cities in Africa.
Jennipher Alista Panashe graduated from Ashesi University in 2019, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Having grown up in Zimbabwe and coming to Ghana for her tertiary education, Jennipher was not ignorant of the waste management crisis in both countries, particularly with regards to plastic waste, that is choking up many African cities. This crisis is further exacerbated by the high cost of infrastructure that makes building cities, especially roads, particularly expensive. Jennipher’s goal therefore, is promote the building of cleaner cities with durable infrastructure.
In her own words; “Everywhere I looked, there was waste; in the gutters, on the streets, in schools, and even in homes. It takes just a little rain to see the ugly side of the plastic waste that chokes our cities. It floods our homes and streets, and causes damage to roads which are already in a terrible state. The situation looked like an inescapable web of misery until I realized the opportunity that the problem presented. One of the most important questions I had to ask myself was, “what if the cause of the problem is actually the solution?’’
Two years later, in 2019, Jennipher embarked on a quest to turn the “cause” into the “solution”, by starting Sisu Terra Technologies. She successfully carried out a pilot test of her solution by fixing a number of potholes in Ashesi with reengineered plastic waste that are still intact today. Thanks to the Ashesi Venture Incubator and our generous partners, she is being provided with the support she needs to accelerate her enterprise and explore the best ways that Sisu Terra Technologies can contribute to society.
When asked about how she had benefited from the AVI, Jennipher had this to say,
“I started this journey with just an idea, today, I have a minimum viable product and I see the potential in my idea and its feasibility. It is no longer an abstract
concept written on a piece of paper. Thanks to NEXTi2i for the resources that made this transformation possible.”
In many developing countries and across the world, plastic waste poses a dangerous threat to aquatic life, biodiversity and sanitation. According to an article published on the United Nations’ website, marine plastic litter pollution is already affecting more than 800 marine species through ingestion, entanglement and habitat change (UN Environment Program, 2018). In light of the above global emergency, Sisu Terra Technologies seeks to contribute significantly to the secular economy by recycling plastics and converting them into useful construction materials. Since plastics are made from fossil fuels, Sisu Terra Technologies’ aim is to reuse them so as to ensure that we do not continually deplete our natural resources, but rather, advance environmental sustainability.
Inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDGs 9 and 11. SDG9 demonstrates that investments in infrastructure are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries, while SDG 11 advocates for a future where cities are able to provide access to housing, transportation and more, for all. Sisu Terra Technologies seeks to go beyond making profit, to significantly impact the lives of people by creating job opportunities, better roads, and accessibility to affordable housing materials, among others.
Sisu Terra Technologies have figured out the percentage ratios needed for creating plastic enhanced concrete and asphalt products. Within the next 3 years, the company hopes to create a niche for itself in the construction industry. The AVI cannot wait to celebrate with Sisu Terra Technologies and everyone who will be impacted positively by this initiative.
To find out more about Jennipher’s work with Sisu Terra Technologies, click sisuterra.com