By Carissa Marnce, GAIA Africa Communications Officer 

In the coastal area of  Old Town Mombasa Kenya,  40 female artisans were given an opportunity to partake in a pilot project developed by the Centre for Environment Justice and Development (CEJAD),  in partnership with Kisiwani Conservation Network  to reduce marine plastic pollution.

The project aims to promote sustainable livelihoods options for women in Old Town, whilst reducing coastal and marine plastic pollution in the region. The community groups involved include Mombasa Yes We Can for Development, Mombasa Community Health Volunteers and Mwamko Women Group. The local women, who have already begun collecting and separating their materials, will produce marketable sculptures and other items that are made from plastic waste, which they intend to sell to tourists who visit the area. 

“ Through this process the local women, who have had their livelihoods hampered by plastic pollution, are participating in addressing this issue while empowering themselves economically,”said Griffins Ochieng, Programmes Coordinator for CEJAD. 

Furthermore, the project will provide waste collection jobs for people in the community, as well as a plastic shredding service which aims to encourage community members to segregate their waste and promote a cleaner environment.

“ The community will become cleaner, as the plastic waste that would have otherwise been thrown away, will now be put to use and other recyclable materials will be sold. This will ultimately lead to a cleaner town,” said Griffins. 

The project which was launched in January of this year, felt the effects of COVID-19 pandemic. Due to Kenya’s lockdown measures to reduce the rate of infection, movement on the project site was prohibited and therefore promoted the temporary pausing of the project, until they can resume their activities again.  CEJAD has since turned their attention to market research for quality and sellable sculptures and items made out of Plastic and Other Recyclables from Waste in the county. 

CEJAD has also implemented a project around sustainable solid waste management in Wasini Island and the Shimoni Township Kwale County in Kenya, in which they illustrate the principles and practices of a circular economy, in an effort to curb the impacts of marine pollution.

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CEJAD staff meeting with community group leaders to launch the Old Town Mombasa pilot project (Pre-COVID-19)

Wasini Women Group and Wasini BMU conducting a clean-up in Wasini village (Credits CEJAD)