Malindi stakeholders have begun nurturing youth to tap into blue economy funds through innovation so as to be empowered economically and have skills of wealth creation from an early age.
The stakeholders under the umbrella of the Progress Welfare Association (PWAM) have begun engaging some youth groups to take part in their monthly clean-up both in the town and beaches collecting wastes so as to conserve the environment.
Through waste collection, the youth are able to sell plastics collected and earn income that supports them in their education.
Other youth groups have even gone a notch higher to begin making products from the wastes collected and are making products such as handbags, mats, among others that are being exported.
Michael Nzuki the Director Anzuki recycle designers a company that makes leather shoes with car tyres together with leather jackets among other products said he came up with the idea to make useful products and make the environment clean.
Speaking during the monthly clean-up exercise organized by PWAM at the Ocean beach resort beach area towards Sabaki river he said the tyres when dumped usually acted as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
“We thought of a way to reduce the spread of mosquitos and began using the tyres to make shoes, like this one on top we used leather jackets and the sole is made from car tyres,” he said.
Due to their efforts, he said in the whole of Malindi town there are no car tyres that can be found dumped anywhere because they are a source of income.
He also came up with beach cleaning collecting plastics with children from a local village called Mijikenda which were sold to Watamu recycling plant but nowadays the plastics are sold right in town.
Nzuki got one client who was buying his shoes and after seeing his innovation opted to add Sh. 100 from each pair of shoes to support the education of the children who were collecting plastics.
“We thought it wise to make the beaches clean and ensure the marine life is safe,” he said.
Currently, he said there are 12 girls in the program whose fees are paid and he supports them with uniforms and other school items.
Evaline Salama a standard seven student from Maziwani primary said they joined hands with Nzuki three years ago and began collecting plastics so as to keep the environment clean and make the beaches attractive to tourists.
She said they began by collecting plastics and sending them to the recycling plant which was weighed and they got money before a tourist offered to facilitate their fees.
“Right now, I know the importance of conserving the environment, I can clean without being supervised by anyone,” she said.
The Chairperson of PWAM Kate Mwikali said their idea was community collaboration through garbage collection which has brought different ideas, innovations adding that through the blue economy aspect they have seen innovations where people make products out of recycled products.
She showed a bag made from used engine oil containers which are done by a group of women in Mamburui who have a contract with a designer fashion house in Italy.
Mwikali said through the beach cleaning school children have benefitted from the exercise by selling the plastics to get money for fees, food buying clothes among others.
“Through that, you can see it is not only transfer of information and knowledge but we are also grooming the children into becoming innovative young adults who will not be there always saying serikali saidia we need this and this because they already have the ideas,” he said.
Mwikali appealed to donors of blue economic funds and the government to begin funding schools, women groups, and youth so as to begin innovations from an early age by training them on creating awareness and recycling.
Conrad Masinde the President of Rotary Club of Malindi said monthly clean-ups promote recycling which if picked up will benefit the community economically through innovations.
He said the clean-ups have been done for over two years and it’s time to take it to another level adding that if donors support the recycling projects to create jobs for the youth and women.
“I am calling upon the organizations out there local and international to come and support what the young people are doing here,” he said.
Rif Arez the team manager Malindi rugby team said they take part in cleaning so as to ensure the resort town is clean to improve the outlook of their beach.
Malindi Assistant County Commissioner 1 (ACC1) Angela Wanyama said the program started because the community wanted to take responsibility for the environment.
She said Malindi people depend so much on the Ocean that’s why they are cleaning the beach which is in line with the blue economy.