Nzambi Matee got tired of waiting for a solution to all the plastic waste she saw, so she created a company to deal with it. The material engineer opened a factory in Kenya where they turn plastics which can’t be recycled (with traditional methods) into bricks. She designed a concoction of hard plastics and sand to create a solid brick which has a comparable price to stone bricks. This is a neat solution to a global problem, her one factory has processed 20 tones of plastics since 2017!
“Our product is almost five to seven times stronger than concrete,” said Matee, the founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials.
“There is that waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get,” Matee said, strolling past sacks of plastic waste.
Matee gets the waste from packaging factories for free, although she pays for the plastic she gets from other recyclers.
GiveDirectly is a charity that just gives money to poor people in Kenya. There isn’t anything complicated about the idea: it’s just straight up handing out cash with no deliverables. The NPR recently investigated the operation.
Planet Money reporters David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein went to Kenya to see the work of a charity called GiveDirectly in action. Instead of funding schools or wells or livestock, GiveDirectly has decided to just give money directly to the poor people who need it, and let them decide how to spend it. David and Jacob explain whether this method of charity works, and why some people think it’s a terrible idea. (28 minutes)
Bikes4Care is an initiative in Kenya that helps medics and other health care workers get to more places thanks to bicycles. It’s a simple and effective concept to get people improved access to health services, check out this video on the pedal medics:
Regular readers of this site may know that we are fans of efficient stoves. The Kenya Stove is a new project to get efficient stoves in the hands of Kenyans. Erin, from Kenya Stove writes:
First some bad news: More than 3 billion people rely on traditional cookstoves for cooking in the developing world. Exposure to smoke from inefficient cookstoves and open-fire cooking practices contributes to the burden of pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases and results in an estimated two million deaths worldwide per year.
Now the good news: We plan to pilot a novel gasifying wood stove and fuel project in Kenya in the coming months. The stove emits little smoke, is durable and can be made at low cost with materials locally available in Kenya by Kenyan artisans thus creating jobs. Additionally we have selected mesquite, an invasive species in Kenya, to be used as the fuel source and therefore not impact indigenous forests through deforestation for wood fuel or charcoal-making. We anticipate our project will improve the health of families by reducing exposure to smoke, provide a lower cost fuel for cooking, and reduce the environmental impact caused by charcoal-making and the emissions from inefficient stoves.
Here’s a good story about how poor farmers in Kenya have shunned expensive chemical fertilizers for cheaper organic ones.
The organic fertiliser is sprayed onto maize two weeks after planting, and a month later.
Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services through Kenya Agriculture Research Institute have tested the fertiliser’s components and given an analytical report.
Mr Mosbei said the use of organic fertiliser, apart from rejuvenating soil quality, saves farmers about 70 percent of the cost of production.
“Whereas it takes a farmer in the North Rift 100kg of DAP and 50kg of top dressing to plant an acre of maize, all they require is only eight litres at Sh300 per litre for the same acre,” said Mr Mosbei.
“The organic fertiliser enriches the soil with minerals and maintains an ample PH level for the minerals required by plants for optimum yield,” added Mr Rono.