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Youth Enterprises lead way in making Mombasa Plastic-Free, creating hundreds of green jobs

In an ambitious move to combat the unrelenting issue of marine plastic waste, the Mombasa Plastics Prize Incubator (MPP), a flagship initiative funded by USAID and delivered by Challenge Works, has been working with nine youth-led businesses to develop their innovative prototypes into sustainable enterprises, promoting green entrepreneurship within the County.

As Mombasa joins the world in marking International Plastic Free Day on May 25th, MPP is proud to spotlight the achievements of these enterprises at an event themed ‘MPP Incubator Enterprise Showcase: The Evolution,’ which celebrates the conclusion of an intensive nine-month incubation journey.

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It is estimated that approximately 120 metric tons 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 nurture essential skills to launch green businesses that will help combat the County’s pervasive plastic waste issue.

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

Since the inception of MMP, the nine enterprises (listed below) 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.

● Capapo Solutions produces sustainable building materials stronger than concrete from recycled plastic, such as Eco-poles, cabro blocks and panels. Partnerships with local schools to secure raw materials is expected to result in upcycling up to 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 in efforts to curb marine pollution.

● Furies Enterprise is raising awareness about marine plastic waste with its unique board game, Bahari Ya Ninja, having sold over 85 games and focusing on creating employment opportunities — particularly for women.

● Oceania Pacesetter is creatively addressing marine pollution by repurposing over 200 kg of plastics into artistic and functional items, alongside active community engagement on the issue.

● 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 5 tonnes of plastic into eco-friendly yarns and stylish baskets, targeting to generate over 500 jobs each year through a novel buyback 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 and aims to create 30 jobs within the next five years.

To celebrate this incredible journey, Deputy Governor H.E. 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 shaping a sustainable future. The Mombasa 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 action to continue supporting local initiatives creating and supporting green jobs. This will aid in addressing the issue of youth unemployment, as well as protecting the environment. According to a recent study by ANDE, youth unemployment remains a critical global issue. However, environmentally friendly ventures represent untapped market potential, valued at a staggering $122.7 billion across Kenya.

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

To date, the MPP Incubator has been supported through a multi-sectoral partnership approach, funded by USAID, supported by the Mombasa County Government and the Exploratory Programs and Innovation Competitions team in USAID, and delivered by Challenge Works, Close the Gap, Swahilipot Hub, Proportion Global and Brand Spark PR.

Looking ahead, the Mombasa County Government, in collaboration with a group of Kenya-based

innovation experts, is looking to build on the momentum of the program and inspire a new generation of young entrepreneurs. Please get in touch if you would like to be part of this movement.

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