GWNET brings you the 3rd instalment of the “Meet the Women in Clean Cooking” series which celebrates the work and achievements of the women who are part of the Clean Cooking Mentorship Program. This program is made up of 30 mentee-mentor tandems, with mentees from over 15 countries. Meet Clean Cooking mentee, Wilfrida Macharia, People Coordinator at Sistema.bio in Kenya.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
I’m an HR (Human Resource)/Talent professional who started off my career in psychometrics which really changed my perspective and approach when it comes to people management.
I enjoy the thrill of creating a rewarding work environment from finding the right candidate, to challenging and growing through effective talent initiatives and most importantly building a diverse team that’s working to make a green future a reality.
2) What were your goals when you started working in clean cooking? How have these evolved?
I was looking for an opportunity to work with a growing team to shape up its people operations to support the scaling of operations. I wanted to set up modern HR processes that are adaptable to the demanding needs of penetrating a market effectively. So far it’s been a challenging and satisfying process due to unforeseen factors i.e. Covid19, which triggered a drastic change in how we manage and nurture talent remotely.
3) What are the opportunities for clean cooking in your country?
Goes without saying, biogas! It is a transformative cleaning cooking solution that goes beyond reducing carbon dioxide. It brings hope to the lives of farmers for a brighter and cleaner environment.
4) What challenges have you faced in the sector? Can you tell us how you overcame (or are overcoming) this challenge(s)?
Building an engaged and performing remote team has been my major challenge for 2020. In our sector, we heavily rely on one on one interactions, especially with field teams. As a business, we heavily relied on building online interviews, onboarding, training and engaging activities to ensure that the teams connected despite being distant.
5) Where would you like to be in 5 years and how can this mentorship program support this long-term goal?
I’d like to have my own talent advisory firm that’s able to advise businesses on talent-related decisions based on my experience working with different companies and especially through the mentorship insights and useful resources on how best to chat this path forward.
6) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the clean cooking sector?
It’s not the typical line of work that you’re taught in school but no greater joy and satisfaction comes from working in an industry that’s making the world a better place while changing the lives of many in the world. It will challenge you and build such grit in you to believe that this world can be better.
Read more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes here.