Green Heroes in Action

By Maji Mazuri

The Mathare Maji Mazuri Green Heroes emerged as winners of the World Environment Day Worldwide Challenge.
Part of the regular activities of the Mathare Maji Mazuri Youth Group, MMMYG are clean ups. This unique project was introduced by the youth of MMMYG in 2011. On weekly basis they collect the garbage of 100 house holdings in the community. The youth collect not only the garbage but they also offer service by clean ups of several dumpsites in Mathare and clearing of trenches.

Green Heroes is designed to benefit the community of Mathare on different levels:

Youth undertake a positive activity every Saturday morning and seek to serve as role models to other youth of Mathare:

  • Creating job opportunities to the youths of Mathare valley. (see information below: Future Plans of Green Heroes)
  • The environment is cleaned by clean ups, collecting and transporting garbage besides the recycling programs (see information below: Recycling and Briquettes)
  • The community of Mathare is sensitized for the importance of a clean and safe environment

Recycling

Green Heroes emphasizes on the environment through the regular clean ups of the major dump sites, the garbage collecting and a recycling project. Youth separate metal, paper, plastic as part of their Income Generating Activity (IGA). For now this part of the project is still in progress.

The objective of Green Heroes is to expand this project to a higher level. They are planning to make the community aware of the value of garbage. Their idea is to collect not only the garbage but also materials like metal, paper and plastic from the house holdings of Mathare. With a weigh scale they offer individuals small motivation fee to separate the materials. By collecting these in large numbers, another IGA is born for the youth.

Briquettes

Briquettes are made from charcoal dust and paper and burn a significant amount of hours in comparison to the regular charcoal and wood which is used in Mathare. Youth from Green Heroes will be trained in the next 2 months of fabricating briquettes. Selling points will be created in the community of Mathare. It will profit the environment as part of a recycling project; next to minimize the expenditure for individuals or businesses.

Future plans Green Heroes

Green Heroes are making a difference in the community of Mathare Valley | Nairobi Kenya. To maintain this project the following challenges are met and in need of funding:

Employment of the youth

Youth of Green Heroes are till this day working every Saturday morning on voluntary basis. Part of the profit of Green Heroes is spent on buying lunch for the youth as a motivation fee. To make sure this project will maintain long term, employment of youth is a priority.

Every 3 months 5 youth (3 youth from Maji Mazuri and 2 youth from Mathare) are employed for 5 days a week. They will be part of the recycling project with the condition that they collect the garbage every Saturday. The rotation will ensure that many youths are included in the program and giving a possibility to be exposed to this working field and earn a living.

Weekly truck hire

In cooperation with the City Council every week a truck must be hired for not only collecting but also transporting the garbage to the nearest dumping site Dandora. At this moment the truck is not consistent. This creates an unworkable situation due to the fact that youth are endangered by getting arrested for pushing the garbage up to the main road. For truck hire the recognition letter must be arranged soonest possible, besides paying fees on a monthly basis for the truck every week.

Expansion of equipment

There is a lack of equipment which is holding the project on this level. The amount of house holdings can expand when equipment is more available. Especially overalls, wheelbarrows and spades are lacking.

Creating awareness of the community

Green Heroes can only be successful if it is supported by the community of Mathare. To stabilize a solid and long term interaction between Green Heroes and the community, creating awareness of a clean and safe environment in Mathare is a must. The challenge connected to this priority is to sensitize the community consistently through door-2-door outreach in combination with open air discussions organized by Green Heroes in cooperation with the Mathare Network Environment (a network of 15 CBO’s in Mathare concerning environmental issues).

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