Dr. Mbwarali Kame, CECM Education, Mombasa County who pledged to support the youth led enterprises to scale their businesses across Mombasa County, during Mombasa Plastics MPP Incubator Enterprise Showcase at Sarova Whitesands.

Youth groups clean up Kenyan coast ahead of World Plastic Free Day

Nine youth-led enterprises have collected over 23 tonnes of plastic waste in an ambitious move to combat marine pollution on the Kenyan coast.

The youth enterprises – supported by Mombasa Plastics Prize Incubator (MPP), a flagship initiative funded by USAID and delivered by Challenge Works – have developed their innovative prototypes into sustainable ventures, promoting green entrepreneurship at the coastal town of Mombasa.

As the country joins the world in marking the International Plastic Free Day on 25th May, MPP highlighted these achievements at an event themed “MPP Incubator Enterprise Showcase: The Evolution”, which celebrated the conclusion of an intensive nine-month incubation journey.

Pervasive plastic waste

It is estimated that about 120 tonnes of plastic waste are generated daily in Mombasa County. Since October 2023, nine promising start-ups from the Mombasa Plastics Prize have received training to launch green businesses to combat plastic waste.

Anna Ghnouly, from USAid Kenya’s Environment Office, said: “Our commitment to initiatives like the Mombasa Plastics Prize reflects our dedication to fostering sustainable development and empowering future generations. It underscores USAID’s recognition of the transformative power of community-driven action in addressing complex global challenges.

“This partnership with Kenya is driving positive environmental change. Our investment of over $2 million has helped nearly double the amount of plastic collected and recycled nationwide over the past 10 years.”

Laudable achievements

Since the inception of MMP, the nine enterprises have set a benchmark for sustainable development in Mombasa and beyond; cumulatively collecting over 23 tonnes of waste and creating a pipeline of 545 green jobs. The nine groups are:

  • Capapo Solutions, which produces sustainable building materials – stronger than concrete – from recycled plastic, such as eco-poles, cabro blocks, and panels. It partners with local schools to secure raw materials for upcycling, currently at 1.3 tonnes of plastic waste.
  • Clean Tech Collectors is leveraging technology to enhance waste management efficiency, notably through a pioneering app, and providing collectors with essential tools and training.
  • Eco-Prints Generation is pioneering the production of eco-friendly 3D printer filaments from recycled plastics, educating 400 students on recycling practices, and has collected over 200 kg of plastic waste.

  • Furies Enterprise is raising awareness on marine plastic waste and focusing on creating employment opportunities, particularly for women. Its unique board game, Bahari Ya Ninja, has sold over 85 pieces.
  • Oceania Pacesetter is creatively addressing marine pollution by repurposing over 200 kg of plastics into artistic and functional items, alongside active community engagement.
  • Plas-Tech is at the forefront of innovation by converting plastic waste into clean cooking gas, with plans for expansion and technological advancements after successfully collecting over 300 kg of plastic.
  • Plastic Taka Creatives has repurposed five tonnes of plastic into eco-friendly yarns and stylish baskets, targeting to generate over 500 jobs each year through a novel buy-back recycling system.
  • Rafiki Peps is refining waste management with a focus on community education and segregated collection systems, enhancing efficiency through partnerships with local entities.
  • Twende Green Ecocycle is transforming over 2.3 tonnes of oceanic plastic into high-quality, customizable furniture. It aims to create 30 jobs within the next five years.

An incredible journey

To celebrate this incredible journey, Mombasa Deputy Governor Francis Foleni Thoya, said: “The transformative outcomes we are witnessing today are a testament to the hard work and innovation of the youth in Mombasa. Their commitment to green entrepreneurship alleviates unemployment and is a big leap towards a sustainable future. The county is looking forward to building on the legacy of the Mombasa Plastics Prize through supporting future related initiatives”.

In addition to tackling marine plastic pollution, the MPP Incubator serves as a call to continue supporting local initiatives that create and support green jobs.

This will aid in addressing youth unemployment, as well as protecting the environment. According to a recent study by the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), youth unemployment remains a critical global issue.

Environmentally friendly ventures represent untapped market potential, valued at a staggering $122.7 billion across Kenya.

The weeks leading to the global celebration saw several key activities, including the Zero Waste Fest, and the Green Jobs Summit — thanks to collaborative efforts by MPP Incubator enterprises, Government entities, ecosystem players, and the local community.

Multi-sectoral approach

To date, the MPP Incubator has favoured a multi-sectoral partnership funded by USAID and supported by the Mombasa County Government and Exploratory Programmes. Other partners include Innovation Competitions (a wing of USAID), Challenge Works, Close the Gap, Swahilipot Hub, Proportion Global, and Brand Spark PR.

Going forward, the county government, in collaboration with innovation experts, will build on the momentum of the programme and inspire young entrepreneurs.

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Source:By Zablon Oyugi