We are a social startup with an international team from Kenya, South Africa and Germany.



Start Somewhere is a design and construction team comprising of the German social enterprise and the Kenyan Ltd company. We manufacture our innovative TwistBlocks at our factory in Kibera where local people are permanently employed.

Director Start Somewhere Germany

Kristina Cress

Comm. Designer Director PR & Comm.

Kristina is one of the three founding members of Start Somewhere nonprofit. She brings over 10 years of professional experience as a communications manager for large corporations. Together with Silvia and other friends, she has supported Start Somewhere as initivative from Oliver from the beginning. It has always been her dream to use her skills for something meaningful.
Architect Start Somewhere Germany

Claire du Plessis

Claire is a South African architect working from Berlin on social projects from Start Somewhere in Kenya. She studied a masters degree in Architecture in Cape Town. The programme was focused on finding solutions to some of the many social inequalities in South Africa.
Administration Assistant SSW Kenya Ltd.

Beryl Achieng Odede

Beryl Achieng is adminstration assistant at Start Somewhere Kenya Ltd. Mostly she takes care of invoices and accounting processes in coordination with the accountant. Besides that, she is also present at client meetings and often in the workshop for support.
NGO Board Start Somewhere Kenya

Dennis Andere "Baqteria"

Dennis Andere has been a friend of Start Somewhere since Oliver's first visits to Kibera. He is a board member of the Start Somewhere NGO. Dennis has lived in Kibera since childhood and is the local expert on informal settlements for Start Somewhere.
Director Start Somewhere Germany

Oliver von Malm

Dipl.-Ing. Founder/Director R&D, Architecture

Oliver von Malm studied Architecture in Innsbruck, Austria. During his studies he worked in renown architecture offices Snohetta in Oslo and Zaha Hadid Architects in London and Beijing. In 2011 he left Beijing and traveled through Pakistan, India and Kenya and Tanzania and founded the initiative "Start Somewhere" after a 4 day visit in Kibera, Nairobi. Starting off as a private initiative, Start Somewhere is now a social business that enables people in informal settlements to produce their own innovative building materials, the "TwistBlocks" which were developed by Oliver and a team of experts. Start Somewhere has realized numerous social housing projects in Kenya and is now expanding to South Africa. Oliver has done teaching multiple years at University of Innsbruck with Rames Najjar and at TU Munich at the chair of Francis Kéré.
Operation Assistant SSW Germany

Martin Halseband

Mag. (FH) Management & IT

Martin supports Start Somewhere Germany since 04/2022 part time as Operations and Administration Assistant. He has 10+ years of experience as management consultant in the professional service and audit sector. Martin is involved in the operationalization of Start Somewhere’s business processes and IT infrastructure and serves as advisor to the board of directors in the areas of business development, controlling as well as finance and risk management.
Site Engineer SSW Kenya Ltd.

Odulah Kanyinya

Odulah has been supporting Start Somewhere since the opening of the TwistBlock factory in Kibera in 2018.
As Site Engineer, he oversees the ongoing tasks of our construction projects and supports with his knowledge about Start Somewhere and the TwistBlock Technology.
Treasurer NGO Board SSW Kenya

Brenda Lumumba

Brenda Lumumba is the treasurer of Start Somewhere NGO and contributes to the organisation her knowledge of running an NGO and her IT expertise.
Director Start Somewhere Germany

Silvia Hesse

Dipl.-Geogr. Director HR & Finance

Silvia Hesse is one of the three founding members of Start Somewhere. As a geography graduate, she brings experience in urban and transportation planning. Silvi is primarily involved in the HR and financial sector of Start Somewhere. Funding projects and communication topics are also her focus. Together with Kristina she has supported Start Somewhere as an initiative of Oliver from the beginning.
Director Start Somewhere Kenya Ltd.

Lazarus Asewe

Civil engineer and project manager

Lazarus Asewe is the project manager of Start Somewhere on site in Kenya and the director of Start Somewhere Kenia Ltd. He has 9+ years’ experience in Engineering ( civil, structural & mechanical). Some of his responsibilities are to make sure that the construction projects are successfully executed, to supervise employees and coordinate resources and work processes. Moreover, he represents Start Somewhere at local events, makes customer acquisition and does cost calculations for all construction projects.
Senior Community Associate

Ibrahim Maina

Ibra is very experienced in community work in informal settlements like Kibera. He supports Start Somewhere in terms of casual labour management, hiring and rotation, community stakeholder engagement and compilation of MoUs, supervision of workshop employees and improvement of teamwork. Ibra’s knowledge helps Start Somewhere a lot to ensure a smooth process of the project.
Head of TwistBlock Factory, Kibera, Nairobi

Milka Achieng

Milka is in charge of the TwistBlock factory with currently four production workers in the heart of Kibera, Nairobi. She is a local resident herself and proud to be contributing to the improvement of local living conditions. She has been part of our Start Somewhere team since the TwistBlock factory opening in 2019.

TwistBlock Factory Kibera, Nairobi Team

From left to right: Samson Ontweka (intern), Tonny Ogalu (production worker), Milka Achieng (head of factory), Kevin Omondi (production worker) and Richard Oloo (production worker)