Mombasa environmentalists bag Sh7 million at AU's innovation hub for efforts to combat ocean pollution

Gillian Caldwell, Chief Climate Officer of USAID, (second from left) congratulates the Mombasa Plastics Prize innovators who showcased their solutions to tackle marine plastics pollution at AU’s climate innovation hub. [Courtesy]

Three teams of young innovators from Mombasa have been lauded for their innovation and dedication to combating marine plastics pollution, in a bid to safeguard ocean life.

They are team Twende Green Ecocycle, team Eco-Redemptors and Oceania Pacesetter.

Twende Green Ecocycle aims to promote sustainable development by recycling marine plastic waste from informal settlements into school eco-desks.

While team Eco-Redemptors is on a mission to create sustainable products from plastic waste, team Oceania Pacesetter is on a mission to tackle plastic pollution by creating simple devices that intercept plastic waste. With peddlers and an anchored net, they collect debris directly from the ocean.

The three teams emerged the top during the US Agency for International Development (USAID) supported Mombasa Plastics Prize, and won a cumulative prize of Sh7 million.

The competition was implemented by Challenge Works- a social enterprise that runs challenge prizes that support innovation across the world. They support young leaders from informal settlements in addressing marine plastics pollution.

“USAID is committed to empowering young people to create innovative solutions for tackling marine plastics pollution, ensuring a sustainable future for all generations,” Gillian Caldwell, USAID’s Chief Climate Officer said.

MPP Teams members with USAID’s Chief Climate Officer Gillian Caldwell. [Courtesy]

“These young innovators from Mombasa have not only won recognition and support but have also demonstrated the power of innovation and collaboration in addressing pressing global challenges.”

Caldwell was speaking during the Africa Climate Summit- which was held from September 4 to 6, in Nairobi.

Themed “Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World”, the Summit focused on green growth in Africa and finding financing solutions to support the programs aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change.

Courtesy of the African Union Commission, the top three Mombasa Plastics Prize-winning teams joined 70 other innovators from across Africa in the Climate Action Innovation Hub, to showcase a diverse range of bold climate actions from across the continent.

The Climate Action Innovation Hub marked a significant milestone in transitioning the recently adopted African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy (2022-2023), into tangible action on the ground.

The two policies represent Africa's first-ever collective climate change action plan.

 The Summit also facilitated knowledge exchange and garnered support from a broad audience, including policymakers and potential investors.

Of the fourteen entries, three teams won and received financial support to develop their ideas into solutions.

The Summit ended on a high for the innovators when MPP was invited to host a side event in partnership with Tearfund International themed “Creating Green Jobs While Tackling the Marine Plastics Problem”

During the session, Lucy Atieno from Team Oceania Pacesetters shared how young people can create green jobs in informal settlements, and Dr. Taiba from BausTaka, a plastics collection enterprise in Mombasa, contributed her valuable experience to the discussions.

The Mombasa Plastics Prize-winning team's innovators expressed their excitement for having participated in the Summit saying that it “demonstrated that there is a collective global will to accelerate the pace towards a more equitable renewable-energy-based, climate-resilient global economy.”

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