Slums Going Green: Kibera youth turning waste into gold
Most informal settlements are often associated with filth and unplanned dumpsites. But Slums Going Green and Clean, a community based organization in Kibra has made it their responsibility to create a new look within the area. Our Reporter Judy Ndunge spoke to Gisore Nyabuti the 23-year-old mind behind the initiative that started in December 2017.
Tell us more about Slums Going Green and what inspired you to start it.
Slums Going Green and Clean is a community based organization on waste management incorporated with Agribusiness. The initiative also acts as a platform for expression of talents, skill and anything else one might have to offer .The organization came to be after a personal experience I had while living here in Kibra. My elder brother shared the thoughts he had for a very longtime of doing something to make the environment better. I understood where he was coming from since I’ve lived in Kibra all my life.A place infested with environmental pollution ranging from dumpsites, open sewers, flying toilets and open-air defecation along the railway line. So after hearing what he had to say I went and thought of it and after sometime Slums Going Green and Clean was formed.
Take us through your membership.
We have a total of 33 members. Out of these, 15 work full time while the remaining 18 do it part time. Those doing part time don’t earn but get the satisfaction of achieving something in life and the remaining 18 do Part-time-Eco-consciousness is what they believe in. They are driven by responsibility towards nature .Something our organization revolves in so they take up the opportunity we give them.
Why start farming along the railway line?
We lacked land and saw various dumpsites along the railway line as a potential place to start farming since it is misused. We mobilized a massive heap of trash from two major dumpsite rehabilitating them to farming and animal rearing areas.
What motivates the group to continue in a path that few have taken?
The passion we have for the environment. The huge impact felt and seen ever since we first started. Slums Going Green and Clean CBO provide us with an opportunity to express ourselves. We carry out activities such as growing trees, learning about different trees, recycling waste and creating art from waste etc. Slums Going Green and Clean CBO is home to all.
What are some of the key achievements your group has made so far?
We have so far completed our office built of 7,850 Glass bottles. We also have an ongoing mushroom farm house built of up to 10,000 plastic bottles and counting. We have two major dumpsite that we have converted to farm and animal rearing areas and we have planted 118 trees in Kibra. We’ve mobilized and involved the community in major clean-ups twice monthly. We have changed lives of many youths from being criminals, having suicidal attempts, sugar daddy and sugar mummy manipulation to great people in the society championing and taking action for a better environment. These are the same youths who constitute our members. We’ve provided platforms for children, youth to express themselves indifferent capabilities, winning competitions and exposure.
What challenges you have encountered in the long run?
We do not have land of our own and lack personal protective equipment to protect ourselves during clean up sessions. We experience financial challenges and inadequate working tools.
What are your future plan?
We want to make Kibra slum the most visited place on earth not as a poverty/hunger stricken region. But for the greatness of its inhabitants who have been given an opportunity and resources to express themselves.
Any last words?
Kibra has great people who are very passionate to make their environment better. But they lack the opportunity and resources to do so. This leaves many youths frustrated and on the verge of committing suicide because those around them don’t see their thoughts nor feel their pain. Such individual have dreams and visions or better yet something they long for even if they seem not likely to be. Come to the ground and help us tap in to these great minds and make Kibra great.