CMS-Africa was formed in 2008 (from the Church Mission Society, UK) to provide support to communities and alleviate the effects of extreme poverty, disease, conflict and environmental degradation through education and awareness projects; creating enabling, prosperous and entrepreneurial mind-sets. In other words, helping people to help themselves.
All of CMS-Africa’s current projects revolve around the principle and objective of creating business-minded people. Giving them the tools they need to succeed as individuals whilst also helping the communities around them. The majority of their projects concentrate on helping the youth and women of Africa. Current schemes include: business training and entrepreneurship (including financial literacy), achieving financial freedom for families and youth mentoring.
For all their hard work, CMS-Africa had still been struggling for donations and grants for many years, meaning their growth and future ability to support the most vulnerable in society was increasingly limited. In 2015, CMS-Africa’s educational and business training projects were visited by our team members to look at the viability of us partnering with them to build on their central Nairobi real-estate plot. After careful due-diligence and procurement, construction commenced in 2016.
One of our key objectives was not only to create a positive impact after the build, but also throughout. To achieve this, we established an apprenticeship scheme, which generated over a dozen jobs for aspiring youths during the project.
Unfortunately, in Kenya, low-level corruption can be an all too common occurrence – particularly on large scale, multimillion-dollar projects. In 2016 a woman from a government agency visited our construction site and demanded to talk to the project manager and stopped any work continuing on site. It was immediately clear that she was seeking a bribe. We wanted to deal with this through the proper channels. Upon visiting her offices, we quickly learned that her activities were entirely of her own accord, we received an apology from her superior and we were able to resume construction several days later having resisted the easy route of paying a bribe. We would later reflect on this story as one of our proudest days on the project, standing up to the type of corruption that is prevalent in Nairobi and which others would have tolerated.
Through a few design changes and just over two years later, we are proud to say that the development has been completed. The whole structure is 16 stories, six floors of parking and 10 floors of grade ‘A’ commercial office space, a conference facility and a restaurant. The parking levels can hold over 250 cars, in a city that is infamous for a lack of parking facilities. This is also in part thanks to the building design, which was planned with sufficient height for duplex parking stackers.
On top of the $350,000 p.a. potential income to CMS-Africa that rent/sales of the offices, conference facility and parking spaces will have, the construction of a restaurant space, complete with a large outdoor balcony ideal for the Nairobi climate, really enhances the building and will stretch its use beyond a daytime workplace. Environmental impact has been built into the design as well, with a large garden created on the ground floor fitted with underground water harvesting tanks. Security is a further key feature, with enhanced vehicular checks and CCTV being deployed.
It’s fair to say that, in conjunction with CMS-Africa and our valued investors, we have all taken part in a special real-estate project, unique to Nairobi in terms of both the grade A quality of its finish and the values upheld during its construction. The financial benefits to CMS-Africa are clear. They are now able to plan with confidence to invest in the important educational projects they pioneer across East Africa as well as in Nairobi.
Get in contact via our website www.wellersimpact.com for more information on this project, or to get involved with some of our ongoing and future investment opportunities.