In conversation with Kubik Country Manager Robel Getahun

Kubik
3 min readJan 13, 2023

After returning to Ethiopia after 18 years to join Kubik’s mission to build dignity through clean and affordable living for all on the Continent, Robel Getahun joins us in conversation about his passions and motivations for the future of Kubik.

As a project manager in both government and private sectors, Robel has extensive work experience in North America and Africa and joined Kubik early on as Country Manager in Ethiopia.

We spoke to him about his vision for Kubik, the power of a social impact business, and the importance for him to return to Ethiopia. Let’s dive into our conversation.

Can you describe Kubik in three words?

Inspiring, impactful, and motivating.

Tell me about yourself. What has shaped you into the person you are today?

I was born and raised in Ethiopia. After high school, I went to the US to continue my schooling. I left the country for the first time in my life. I stayed in the US for 18 years, finished school and started working, and after 18 years, came back to Ethiopia. I have always wanted to come back to Ethiopia to work on something that’s meaningful for me, to change people’s lives.

Kubik brought that opportunity and came to me. So I packed my bags and moved back home. I was inspired by Kubik’s mission, to build affordable housing materials, to change lives. It’s not just about manufacturing, but also about social impact.

It was an opportunity, I couldn’t miss. I always wanted to come back to the continent and make a difference, and Kubik made that possible.

How was it to come back to Ethiopia after 18 years?

When I left Ethiopia I had never worked, I wasn’t in the workforce. Coming back as an adult with responsibilities was definitely quite different. Especially living in a developed country like the US and moving back to Ethiopia, a developing country.

Coming here with Kubik and thinking about how much difference we’re going to be making made the adjustment go smoothly. Versus just coming here and trying to figure out what to do.

Sky view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

What inspires you to work for the betterment of others and the planet?

Currently, we’re running a pilot program with GIZ where we’re supporting and training plastic collectors. A lot of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were not legal SMS, through this program we helped legalize them. Over 60% of these plastic collectors are women with children, so it as a parent, it really touched my heart to support them.

Just thinking about how much difference we’re gonna make in their lives and in the support that we’re giving them really motivates me. It was an amazing feeling to see their faces.

What do you see for the future of Kubik?

At Kubik, we have big plans. We have big plans to expand all over Africa. To really make a difference.

It’s not just about manufacturing building materials out of recycled plastic, right? What I hope for the future is that when people hear Kubik they think of the social impact that we’re having. We’re actually making a real change in the social environment. I hope the Kubik name is associated with this social impact, not just a manufacturing company, but a company that really works to impact people’s lives in Africa.

Interested in joining our mission to build dignity through clean and affordable living for all? Get in touch: hello@buildkubik.com

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Kubik

Turning plastic waste into low-carbon, low-cost buildings.