• Consistency as a well-being practice for social entrepreneurs — Being well for doing good

    In conversation with Faith Aweko, founder of Reform Africa.

    Welcome to the sixth and final episode of the Being Well for Doing Well series!

    Created in partnership with the non-profit Hil-Foundation, this series will tell the stories of alumni from Social Impact Award around the world, and their journeys with well-being.

    Unfortunately, social entrepreneurs are often faced with intense stress and high risk of burnout. With this in mind, we at SIA have worked to put wellbeing at the heart of our work, to cultivate a healthy attitude towards social entrepreneurship amongst our participants.

    This week, we sat down with Faith Aweko, founder and CEO of Reform Africa. Armed with a big heart and a strategic mind, Faith is committed to supporting her community and knows wholeheartedly she cannot achieve this goal without taking care of herself.

    We hope you enjoy! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

     

    Tell us a little bit about yourself and what your venture Reform Africa does!

    My name is Faith, and I’m the founder of a social venture from Uganda called Reform Africa. Reform Africa employs marginalized youth and women in local communities in Uganda to repurpose plastic waste into sustainable bags.

    When did you first get in touch with the topic of well-being?

    I first got introduced to the topic in 2019 after joining Ashoka’s Changemaker community. We had a session on well-being which fully opened my eyes to the topic. I started focusing more heavily on it when COVID-19 first started, as I had more time to read into productivity, daily habits, and the overall topic.

    What are some of your struggles when it comes to wellbeing?

    I’m always excited to try out new habits around well-being, but my problem is consistency. Over time, I realized that my struggle with consistency came from not having a strong enough end-goal. I want to be able to run a marathon when I will be 70 years old, and this goal keeps me focused on running every morning.

    I also try not to be too hard on myself when it comes to staying consistent. For me, consistency is not about pushing myself, but keeping a steady pace so you can ultimately run the marathon.I also found that caring for something helps me with consistency. I started a garden 6 months ago, and seeing my plants grow keeps me motivated to take care of them every day.

    How does consistency also apply to your venture?

    Consistency is key to maintaining the health of our venture. When someone who is in a very difficult situation, like a parent with no money, comes to us looking for work, it’s very hard to turn them down. When you do give them a job, it creates extra pressure to stay consistent and take care of these people. If the venture fails, these people will lose livelihoods. This is sometimes hard to deal with.

     

    What kind of relationship does your team have with well-being?

    When it comes to the members of my team, we all understand well-being in our own way. We try to keep our relationship as a team open and understanding to fit our needs. For example, one of my colleagues enjoys spending her mornings reading and learning about creative people and creative fields, like architecture. She finds that it widens her mind and heightens her creativity, which helps the quality of her work.

    We also take time to go on walks, and occasionally do some yoga and meditation.

    What advice would you give to your younger-self and to younger generations getting into the field on taking care of their well-being from the beginning of their journey?

    Social entrepreneurship is not an easy journey, but it is so fulfilling. You get to support hundreds and potentially thousands of people in your community. Unfortunately, we often spend so much time focused on these people that we forget to take care of ourselves. If we take this too far, and have a burnout, we might not be present for our community when it needs us most.

    Taking care of your well-being and your health is crucial to making sure your impact is long-lasting.

     

    In a study, entitled The Possibilists, conducted in 2021 by an alliance of 16 of the world’s leading youth social innovation networks, we found out that 54% of the more than 800 respondents experience a high risk of burnout. To ensure social entrepreneurs are supported, and adopt healthy work and team cultures, it’s crucial the entire social entrepreneurship ecosystem takes action on these findings. For more information on the study and other fascinating data, take a look at The Possibilists website.