Getu Estifanos and his sister were forced to drop out of school when they were orphaned. The lack of funds to cater for their fees cut short their education. Getu was barely ten years old. He then became a casual labourer at a construction firm in his home area in Aleltu Woreda (district). Being able to earn an income saved him and his sister from a life on the streets. Compared to his peers, Getu has done well for himself. Five years as a casual labourer didn’t stop this 26 year old man from wanting a better life for himself and his family.
In 2011, Getu learned through a close friend that the Ministry of Water, Natural Resources and Energy were recruiting individuals with experience in construction to train as masons. Getu jumped at the opportunity, he registered himself and got trained alongside 33 other masons.
A month after his training, Getu had managed to install two biogas plants in his kabele (village), “This was a great breakthrough for me, far better than the casual job I had done for the last 5 years.”
In the last few years, Getu and three other masons have kept on being masons. Many of those he trained with have lost interest in the work. As the demand for biogas plants increased, so has the demand for Getu’s services. Getu proudly notes that he has already constructed 48 plants in the last three years and has an order for 10 more digesters in the neighbouring kabeles.
Because of his passion for the job and the quality of digesters, Getu services are much sought after. He notes proudly most of his digesters are in good working condition, though for those that have problems, Getu guarantees ‘after sales service’. On a good month, Getu gets requests to build 5-7 digesters every month. Hehas registered a biogas company and is currently employing two construction assistant and two casual laborers. Each digester earns him 73 Euros , enabling him to take care of his sister and plough back money into his business.
Quality, Getu notes is what has kept him ahead of the pack, “The community trusts me and knows my services are reliable.”Getu has huge plans for himself and his business. He hopes to start up a company that supplies biogas construction material and appliances and to be sure he does it right, he is currently undertaking a technical and business management course.
“The future is bright, I am optimistic about the sector, as it is underdeveloped . I hope it will grow fast and I will be one of the leading private developers in the sector,” says Getu who firmly believes that sky is the limit for him.