World Bank grants polytechnic Sh1b to boost recycling skills

Kisumu National Polytechnic students Diana Oloo, 21, and Angeline Akoth, 23.  [Kepher Otieno, Standard]

The World Bank has extended Sh1.08 billion to Kisumu National Polytechnic to construct an ultra-modern textile factory and training institution.

A construction tender has already been advertised with 35 bidders showing interest.

Principal Catherine Kelonye said the construction will start in one or two months. ''This will be one of the biggest textile and clothing industry in East Africa,'' she says.

Kelonye looks forward to seeing her students absorbed into the factory when it opens doors in a year's time.

Recently, Diana Oloo, 21, and Angeline Akoth, 23, thrilled guests attending a national cultural and technology exhibition as they took them through the process of turning waste products into useful items.

By recycling, the students say they are also contributing to a global effort to improve the environment for everybody, and for the future.

Diana Oloo and Angeline Akoth thrilled guests attending a national cultural and technology exhibition. [Kepher Otieno, Standard]

The trainees, who gathered at the Kisumu National Polytechnic, used waste products such as polymers, newspapers, plastics, tires, cans, bottle tops, and metals to produce various items.

''This is what we do here with wastes. We sort the different polymers from one another, melting the waste polymer and making the polymer into a new product,'' says Akoth.

When Training For Life visited the institution, we found Akoth had made a mini dress from used newspapers. Oloo had made a mini skirt from used juice cans.

Both looked smart and spruced up as they dressed in the 'waste outfit' as models. Guests at the cultural exhibitions jammed their online platform to admire their creations.

It was all smiles as both showcased their talent saying anything is possible to make or copy.

''It can be an extremely enjoyable way to spend some spare time, on your own or with your friends during free time after evening classes. This is what I do,'' says Oloo.

Fashion designs by Diana Oloo and Angeline Akoth. [Kepher Otieno, Standard]

The students make the dress just to show how fashion and designs can be horned and harnessed. During social functions they make and adorn in such dresses.

At times, colleagues buy the items at Sh100 for fun during school night clubs and social functions. Akoth and Oloo are fashion and design students.

They say what is key out of their art works is creativity at its best. They hope to tap their skills and take them further when the institute builds the textile factory.

''This is my target. I look forward to being absorbed in the factory when it will be finally up and running,'' says Oloo. And she is not alone. Many of her peers eye the same path.

The polytechnic management now usually asks the students if they want to recycle some wastes before disposing them.

''They have to ask us if we need the wastes before they are dumped,'' Akoth says.

Liberal Studies students Nick Owaga and Beverlyne Achieng showcasing their innovation. [Kepher Otieno, Standard]

In fact, the institution now treats dumping sites as opportunity zones for harnessing new innovations, because students explore various wastes to make something out of it.

''Today the resources that go into the goods, buildings and gadgets that make modern life so convenient are limited. So we allow them to explore wastes,'' says an instructor Thomas Nyangor

He says finding ways to use less material inputs for products and to re-use materials in a circular economy is necessary for long-term prosperity.

Materials are chosen based on factors including working properties, aesthetics, environmental impact, function and manufacturing processes. 

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