Wednesday, 3 October 2012

UNEP names young Kenyan as 2012 young environmental envoys

 The UN Environment Program (UNEP) on Wednesday named two young Kenya's environmental leaders as the 2012 Young Environmental Envoys for the east
African nation, as part of an initiative it organized with Bayer.

The two environmentalists, Mwanyuma Hope Mugambi (23), a student at Kenyatta University Mombasa campus, and Beverly Kendi Nkonge (16) from Riara School, Nairobi,
received the honor at a special ceremony 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," Head of UNEP's Outreach Unit Theodore Oben said."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.

As part of their prize, two young Kenyans will travel to Germany next month to take part in an environmental field trip and will be joined on the trip by fellow young
environmental envoys from around 18 countries in Africa, Asia, and South America. 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 program," said Frans Labuschagne, Managing Director, Bayer East Africa.

The winners were selected from a wide pool of applicants, all of whom are involved in environmental projects in their communities. Mugambi, a 3rd year student in
Environmental Studies and Community Development, runs a recycling initiative that turns waste plastic bags into 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 the 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 plastic. I have always supported a clean environment and hope
that I can dedicate my career to achieving this," Hope said.

Nkonge along with a group of classmates, 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 also used in the school
kitchen. Money raised from the sale of the fireballs was used to pay school fees for children living in a slum in Nairobi. Launched in 1998, the UNEP-Bayer Young Environment
Envoy Programme aims to improve knowledge of environmental issues among young people and support them in developing and implementing projects on sustainable
development, conservation and other aspects of the environment in their own communities. Originally conceived as a local project in Thailand, the program has since grown
to cover 17 other countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea,
Venezuela and Vietnam.  (Xinhua)

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