By Anthony Aisi
Two young environmentalist leaders from Nairobi and Mombasa have been crowned as the 2012 young environmental envoys for Kenya, as part of an initiative organized by Bayer and united Nations environmental Programme (UNEP)
As part of their prize, Mwanyumba Hope Mugambi 23 years old, a student at Kenyatta University Mombasa campus, and Beverly Kendi Nkonge 16 years old from Riara School, Nairobi, will join on the trip by fellow young environmental envoys from around 18 countries in Africa, Asia and South America.
The two environmentalists received the honor at a special ceremony at held at UNEP on Wednesday. the winners were selected from a wide pool of applicants, all of whom are involved in environmental projects in their communities.
Mwanyumba Hope Mugambi, a 3rd year student in environmental studies and community development, runs a recycling initiative that turns waste plastic bags in to tablemats, laptop cases and other products.
She has trained members of a local women's group to manufacture the recycled goods, which they sell to fund school fees and to purchase of sanitary products.
"The aim of the project is to reduce levels of litter in the neighborhood, and also to prevent the release of harmful fumes caused by burning plastics, " said Hope
"I have always supported a clean environment and hope that i can dedicate my career to achieving this" she added
Together with a group of classmates, Beverly Kendy Nkonge founded a company producing 'fireballs' or fuel briquettes, made from sawdust and organic waste as part of an entrepreneurship challenge for young people.
Their company named providentia, sold the environmentally-friendly briquettes to teachers and classmates. the fuel was used in the kitchen. Money raised from the sale of the fireballs was used to ay school fees for children in slum in Nairobi.
"Hope and Kendi are leading the way in raising awareness of key environmental issues in their communities, and are worthy recipients of the Young Environmental Envoy title," said Theodre Oben, Head of UNEP's outreach unit.
"We congratulate them on their excellent achievements and hope that their field trip to Germany will provide them with fresh inspiration, knowledge and motivation to continue their environmental work, "he added.
The envoys visit to Bayer headquarters and other sites in Germany in November will have a strong focus on environment and industry.
Through a series of interactive workshops, talks and site visits, the young people will experience at first -hand how the latest technology can be applied to environmental protection.
"Bayer understands that engaging youths in environmental conservation ensures continuity, consequently making conservation efforts more sustainable. This motivates us to keep supporting this programme,” said Frans Labuschagne, managing director, Bayer east Africa.
After completing their year as young environmental envoys, the students then become members of an alumni network that brings together past envoys from all participating countries. The network acts as a support group for envoys implementing their own environmental projects and as a forum where young people can share experiences on environmental issues