Personal experience that sparked the idea
SD Projects started between the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert. The same place where the silence is deafening is where the idea came roaring to life.
Dinner was approaching and a fire needed to be made if we were to eat. In the middle of desert this isn’t always an easy task since wood isn’t common. Our desert nomad friends from a local Berber tribe came back about a half hour later with enough for the night while we unpacked.
It was during this time that Renz was reminiscing to Josh of her childhood growing up in a rural town in the province of Cagayan Valley and Surigao del Sur in the Philippines. They too cooked food using wood or charcoal. She remembered how some families needed to spend hours collecting wood each week so they can feed themselves.
At this point, Josh’s questioning started creeping into the conversation. How much wood was used each day? How many households used wood for cooking? The numbers started adding up. The Philippines had already been robbed of so much of it’s beautiful forestry by logging companies over the last century, leaving only 4-5% of what once thrived. It seemed that using wood for cooking wasn’t helping the situation any.
Renz began to feel guilty realizing how she contributed to the problem for so many years without ever thinking about it. It was just how things were and no one stopped to think about it. Having a keen interest in problem solving, Renz started doing her research the moment she got back into civilization.
This is when she found out about cookstove projects being implemented in Africa and India. No cookstove project like this has been implemented in the Philippines, though. This seemed like an invitation to begin a project in her home country, however, she had no idea how to begin. Her background was in the tech industry and not in environmentalism and large project management.
Luckily, it seemed like things were meant to be. She was travelling with Josh at the time who was looking for a meaningful project to work on. Having a background as an angel investor and entrepreneur with success in the oil and gas, real estate, and software industry, Josh wanted to do something that genuinely helped other people.
After chatting about the concept at length, ideas began to flow and a concept began to materialize quickly. With Josh’s experience and contacts, they were able to take the project from concept to reality. Within the next year, SD Projects was created and boots were officially on the ground in the Philippines.