[Interview] James Maina, Executive Director, Daima Trust, Kenya
James Maina, the Executive Director at Daima Trust, is a Kenyan social entrepreneur using his passion to transform and impact communities across the country. He exclusively talked to Africa Business Communities about social enterprising, as he narrates his business story.
Would you please introduce your company?
Daima Trust hereinafter referred to DTL is a social enterprise focused on four community impact objectives namely; basic human needs – where we focus primarily of street families, education – we run sensitization and empowerment project within the most marginalized and vulnerable members of the community, youth empowerment – we have a youth peer to peer mentorship project called the YEG Project and finally diversity and inclusion – under which we have the National Diversity and Inclusion Awards & Recognition project.
Where is your company located?
We are located about 200m off the famous Thika Superhighway, along Kenyatta Road 2nd Avenue and next to Juja Preparatory. DTL Suites is our official address administratively but our projects benefit and impact Kenyans nationwide.
Daima Trust, being a social enterprise entity, could you please explain what social enterprise is?
In my own words, social entrepreneurship or a social enterprise is any undertaking that addresses or offers solutions to the needs of the people and while at it raising funds that ensures the enterprises’ sustainability.
What inspired you to venture into social enterprising?
I am driven by a passion to change people’s lives. I have an innate desire to empower people in order to improve their quality of life. Interestingly, all ideas I have had many years back are things am working on today. DTL was conceptualized during my campus days back in 2011 and am happy to be actualizing it now as a full-time venture.
What products/services does your company offer?
DTL offers solutions to needs in the society. We bridge existing gaps within our four community impact objectives. From running free medical camps for street families, school adoption, support and mentorship programs, the YEG project and DIAR Awards. One of our core values is Leadership, we are constantly evolving, listening to and learning from the society where operate so we can better able address the root causes of societal problems and mobilize resources for the common good.
Who are your clients and partners?
The entire population where we operate is our clientele. To effectively do what we do, we are glad to have had very supportive partners and sponsors in our various projects including Medical Missions Africa (MeMA), National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), Safaricom Plc and Coca-Cola. Past partners include Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat, KenGen and the Kenya Airports Authority among others. We have a huge pool of beneficiaries; awards recipients and the list keep on growing.
How has the market responded to your products/services?
The response has been massive from across the nation. Our solutions have attracted a wide range of individuals and organizations from the government, companies, NGOs, community-based organizations, learning institutions, CSOs and even religious organizations.
How is Daima Trust funded?
DTL works on project basis. Meaning that we have a budget for every project and we raise funds through partnerships and sponsorships specific for that project. The partners/sponsors mentioned above are some of our funding organizations. We are open to other organizations that we share common goals and objectives.
In some of our projects, we charge participants some fee which caters for the implementation of that project. One key agenda we are currently fully focused on is sustainability and we are launching different products and services to ensure that in the next few years sponsorships and grants will only supplement our revenues.
There are many social enterprise organizations in the country and beyond. What would you say gives Daima Trust the competitive edge?
The understanding of what true leadership is set us apart from other organizations. For us, leadership is as a call to service. That helps us listen and learn from our community and offer solutions that address the needs in the community.
We also have a team of very innovative youthful brains that are very instrumental in what we do. Imagine having a resource pool of young brains spread across over five universities. We work a lot with university students and this has proven to be very resourceful.
In the same vein, we also get refreshed, inspired and mentored by a number of successful Kenyans of high professional and moral standing. We are grateful to have mentors who believe in what we do.
What is your current business threat and how are you dealing with it?
Sustainability is every business’ major threat today. Anybody thinking tomorrow should be concerned about how sustainable their business model is. Luckily and aware of this global challenge, we have a 2017 – 2027 Strategic Plan that stipulates what we should focus on to ensure we are purposeful, strategic and vibrant beyond 2027.
What has been Daima’s most defining moment/s in the recent times?
Every single day is a defining moment at DTL. From calls of a happy family who has been re-united with their lost street boy, a grateful award recipient writing to thank us for honoring and recognizing their efforts, an interested partner seeking for partnership or a renowned company or individual seeking to work with us.
We have had offers from organizations such as Signs TV, who called to partner with us by giving us sign language interpreters and free media coverage for our second edition of DIAR Awards, to be held on April 12, 2019. We have had many success moments and suffered setbacks as well especially when a prospective partner withdraws from their commitment. Our purpose keeps us moving!
What is the latest news from your company?
We have so much in the pipeline. First, we will be launching the Street Families Health Day Project in Nairobi on June 1, 2019 but let me concentrate on a project that is ending sooner in April 2019. This coming April 12, 2019 at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, we will be hosting the second edition of the National Diversity and Inclusion Awards & Recognition 2019 gala dinner and awards ceremony. The awards celebrate individuals, companies, NGO’s and government agencies who champion equality, diversity and inclusion.
The gala dinner and awards ceremony Kenya’s premier event on D&I that has grown into a must attend corporate event. This year, we will be hosting over 500 participants among them distinguished recipients from parastatals, independent commissions, universities, counties, companies, NGO’s, social enterprises and amazing individuals leading action on D&I. DIAR 2019 Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony is an experience you cannot miss! We will also be launching the first ever D&I Magazine in Kenya and the editorial team is burning the mid-night oil to deliver on this.
What are the ambitions of your company going forward?
We are committed to “Empowering people to lead a quality life” and we are keenly focused on delivering on our strategic plan 2017 – 2027. In the short term though, we want to deliver in an impeccable way DIAR 2019 Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony and the Street Families Health Day Project – which we are running in partnership with Medical Missions Africa (www.memafrica.org). We are looking forward into bringing in more partners, reach more beneficiaries and make greater impact.
Who should contact Daima Trust and why?
Any organization or individual with shared values, goals and objectives, looking to leverage their impact, can reach out to us for partnership. Young entrepreneurs, who are interested in a structured peer-to-peer mentorship program, can also get in touch with us or sign up for the Young Empowered Generation Project (YEG).
One can also recommend a needy school so that we may consider them for a robust mentorship program. We welcome everyone who is interested in our upcoming programs such as DIAR 2019, the Street Families Health Day Project, to get in touch with us.
What advise would you give to anyone interested in venturing into social enterprising?
This is a club for the selfless. It is for those who dare to dream and are careful not to be swayed out of their dreams. With good preparation and a strong support system, nothing is impossible.
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