On Wednesday, 11th May, Global Peace Foundation Kenya on behalf of the Environment Track Members hosted a ground-breaking ceremony for the Kariobangi Community Cooker project at the Kariobangi Social Hall Grounds in Embakasi North Constituency. The project which is valued at an estimate of Ksh 4.5 million is supported by a consortium of corporates that share a common goal on sustainable waste management. It advances the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the use of combustible waste to generate energy for cooking. This reduces negative impacts on forests, cleans immediate environments, provides safe and clean cooking conditions for households as well as empowers youth with skills and sources of income to reduce the high unemployment rates which stands at 67%.
The patron of Global Peace Foundation Kenya, Dr. Manu Chandaria encouraged the youth to take initiative to lift themselves out of poverty besides relying on help from others.
“Today I challenge you to do something that will have a positive impact for you and your communities. If you take it upon yourselves to solve some of this problems around you, this country will realize peace and develop into what we all envision,” said Dr. Manu Chandari
Speaking on behalf of the Environment Track Members, the Executive Director, M-Pesa Foundation and Chairman of the Environment Track, Mr. Les Baillie, outlined the achievements of the track and commended their efforts towards the implementation of the project.
“This is the first time in Kenya that more than 10 corporates are working together to support one joint program for social impact. This project is going to make a positive impact for our environment and transform the lives of many in Kariobangi” he reiterated.
The Environment Track was initiated during the Africa Conference on Volunteer Action for Peace & Development (ACVAPD) in July, 2012 at the UN Headquarters in Gigiri and has since been supported through a Collective Impact Approach by over 10 corporate foundations. These include: Bamburi Cement, Chandaria Foundation, Cisco Systems, Community Cooker Foundation, County Government of Nairobi, EABL Foundation, Global Peace Foundation, KCB Foundation, KENVO, Planning Systems Service Ltd , Safaricom Foundation, Tetra Pak, Total Eco Challenge, UNEP, UN Habitat, Unilever Kenya Ltd and World Vision Kenya.
Gracing the ceremony was the Nairobi County Governor, H.E. Dr. Evans Kidero, who endorsed the project and emphasized on the need to empower young people with skills and the opportunities to develop their communities and contribute to sustainable peace and development of the nation.
“Today I pave way for the construction of the Kariobangi Community Cooker project. Once completed, the project will create employment opportunities for youth living in this area. This will also contribute to effective management of solid waste, reduce reliance on non-renewable sources of energy like charcoal hence promoting the use of clean cooking solutions for our women” said H.E Dr. Evans Kidero, Governor, Nairobi County.
The Director and Regional Representative, Regional Office for Africa UNEP, Dr. Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo urged the government to implement policies that would enable entities to work together for positive change.
“I urge the county government to make it a priority to create mechanisms and regulatory frameworks that incentivize partnerships for social impact and investments,” recommended Dr. Juliette Biao, “For this project to become successful, the youth must take ownership of this project and approach it as a business venture. They must prepare for challenges and have mitigations to solve issues among them,” she added.
In addition, the founder Community Cooker Foundation & Chairman Planning Systems, Arch. Jim Archer acknowledged that the rubbish menace has been a long time problem and is becoming a menace in urban areas.
“Back in the 60’s and 70’ litter became a nuisance in the city. This gave me a reason to think through on how to make rubbish attractive. I then thought of how I would use modern technology to burn rubbish in high temperatures to produce heat that would then be used for cooking and boiling water,” said Jim Archer, Chairman Planning Systems, “I want to build not just hundreds but thousands and thousands of community cookers around the world to address this social problem,” he added.
The Director, KCB Foundation, Ms. Jane Mwangi, in her statement endorsed the project and pledged to link it with KCB’s 2jiajiri (self-employment) program worth Ksh 50 billion that seeks to empower promising entrepreneurs to scale their business ventures citing that empowering communities is key in developing successful businesses.
The construction of the community cooker which entails a sanitation block, food café’ and resource center is set to begin and will provide youth employment opportunities through sustainable solid waste management technology to benefit at least 1,000 households. It will also provide practical training on waste separation at household level, fire briquette technology, compositing and plastic recycling for value addition, capacity building on entrepreneurship, leadership and sustainable peace & development among other training components. The project will be managed by Raslimali Enterprises Ltd, an umbrella group of 11 youth groups in Kariobangi and its environs under the guidance of the environmental track members.
Representing Kariobangi youth, the C.E.O. Rasilimali Enterprise Ltd, Mr. Erick Ravoga, accredited the support they had received from the Environment Track citing an improvement in their livelihoods. “Over the years, Kariobangi Waste Management Alliance has seen immense growth. Last year we registered Rasilimali Enterprise Ltd that now runs a business. We have received support from various organizations among them World Vision who donated us a plastic crusher machine that enables us recycle plastic materials among other things. We are grateful of this and look forward to more opportunities,” said Mr. Erick Ravoga.
The climax of the ceremony was marked by a tree planting exercise that was supported by total eco-challenge that resulted to 10 trees planted around the community cooker for decoration as well as to provide a breezing effect to the surrounding. This project is in line with GPF/COMESA existing MOU; “When implementing any agenda on youth it’s always important to engage all UN agencies, the private sector and the civil society. The Community Cooker project should also be implemented in other COMESA countries and IGAD member states for broad impact,” suggested Dr. Manu Chandaria.