As a child, every morning before school, Jean Bosco Nzeyimana - who lived in a poor, rural village in Rwanda without electricity or decent infrastructure - would have to go into the forest to collect firewood. It was a tough job in a hard life; but it sparked an idea that, years later, would turn Nzeyimana into a budding businessman with a passion for sustainability and social enterprise. "My mother, a great teacher of mine, told me that to dream, I needed to go outside and look at my community and see how everything is going," he told the Skoll World Forum in 2016. "I was so sad because during those few days I took to look around, I found that I was uncomfortable with the way I was living and the way my community was living."
For example, as in so much of rural Africa, most of the people in his village were still relying on charcoal for cooking. In fact, around 80 percent of people in Rwanda still use wood as their main energy source, which means that millions of trees are being cut down to satisfy demand, causing devastating deforestation. Nzeyimana was concerned, too, about the waste he saw piling up in Rwandan landfill. "Cutting down trees is dangerous because it's exploiting nature," he says. "And taking waste to landfill is not a solution. It's creating another problem."
He was convinced that there must be another way and, as he grew, he kept thinking about what he could do to help his people find an environmentally friendly alternative fuel source.