The devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic did very little to discourage Lutea Magaia Alberto from pursuing what she loves most: promoting grassroots environmental awareness in her motherland, Mozambique. Educating the public especially ordinary members of the public about the environment and green issues is vital, particularly in the context of Mozambique which recently bore the brunt of two most destructive cyclones, namely, Idai and Kenneth. The two catastrophes hit mostly vulnerable communities leaving in their wake a trail of destruction including the environment on which these communities depend for their livelihood.
Contributing to the green ecosystem
In 2019 Miss Alberto founded Mentes Sustentáveis (Sustainable Minds) to address the environmental challenges in Mozambique and to bring practical, ecological and sustainable solutions. Through the company, she designs environmental education programmes and activities for schools and the public including private sector companies aimed at contributing to the green ecosystem. Ms Alberto says her long-term dream is to make a difference for the planet and her country.
A passionate entrepreneur, Miss Alberto saw a business opportunity to expand her initiative into the corporate sector. Similarly, she assists the corporate community to develop eco-business models, and eco-friendly products so that they can formulate sustainable actions to maximise their socio-environmental impacts. Miss Alberto is not only passionate to drive environmental and green issues but she also has the right academic qualifications.
She boasts a degree in agronomic engineering from Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique and more than seven years of experience as an environmentalist focusing on environmental education, waste management and ecosystem recovery. Miss Alberto says the vast experience and knowledge and her understanding of the reality of Mozambique makes her the right person to come up with solutions tailored for country.
Taking care of the environment
“I felt I had knowledge that was only being shared within a restricted corporate environment and the reality outside the company was very different. People had no information about why it is important to take care of the environment and how our daily actions can have negative impacts on the environment. At that time, I decided I needed to take this information out of my workplace and create more real action for the Mozambican people,” says Miss Alberto.
She has assembled a formidable team comprising of women to drive her campaign to promote and educate communities to adopt sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices. Currently, the Mentes Sustentáveis team consists of Miss Alberto who wears two heads: an environment and agribusiness specialist and the company’s general manager. Shena Magaia, an organisational psychologist, who serves as an administrative manager and Sharmilla Mussagy, who is currently an agricultural student, is responsible for administrative support.
Ms Alberto says finding her company in 2019 was a rewarding experience as she is able to fulfil her ambition of working with and providing environmental education. Soon after she found the Mentes Sustentáveis she was lucky to get her first break by taking part in the first edition of the ‘Climate Launch Pad’ in Mozambique. The initiative is a global competition on green business ideas where her company outshone its competitors and earned a top-four position. This opened a flood of support from organisations that wanted to fund her business development, research and investment. When the pandemic hit she, like most businesses, had to scale down her operations because the sales and demand had declined substantially. But she kept going by transitioning to online platforms and she also took part in various programmes and debates related to environmental sustainability and a green ecosystem in Mozambique.
With the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions across the globe, Mentes Sustentáveis is slowly returning to business. “At the moment we are dedicated to working in the field of corporate environmental education and we intend to expand the options of eco-friendly products,” says Ms Alberto, about her future plans.