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Harmony in Art and Impact: Summer Arts’ Journey to Environmental Impact with Ubunifu Hub

Art serves as a powerful means of communication, and for Ombok and Maxwell, the creators behind the Summer Arts initiative, it has become a vehicle to bring artists together for a common cause. Documenting and showcasing their work on a dedicated YouTube channel, they have harnessed their artistic forms to raise awareness about environmental conservation and protection within their community.

The turning point for Summer Arts came with a transformative 6-week training at Ubunifu Hub in September 2021. Ombok reflects, “Before the training, the community didn’t take us seriously. But after that, we now have an identity.” The duo now proudly wears a uniform that communicates their purpose, sparking curiosity within the community and prompting inquiries about their work.

Their impact on the community is tangible, reaching up to 300 people through a handwashing campaign and other initiatives in Lucky Summer. Through the program, they’ve not only interacted with other like-minded groups but also expanded their network, fostering collaboration for a more significant impact.

The training also paved the way for tangible support from Ubunifu Hub. Ombok shares, “After the training, we submitted a proposal that resulted in us getting a micro-grant.” This grant provided them with essential resources such as a handcart (mkokoteni), uniforms, personal protective equipment (PPE), spades, and hoes, significantly easing their waste management efforts. Ombok emphasizes, “Now when we are working, we are also protected.”

Maxwell sheds light on their future plans, stating, “Part of the funding we’re using to create a website so that we can showcase more of our environmental work and also promote art as a way of spreading the message on environmentalism.” The gratitude towards Ubunifu Hub is evident as Maxwell expresses, “We’re grateful for Ubunifu Hub’s support. Being in this uniform signifies that we are resisting climate injustice.”

Story provided by Ubunifu Hub, Nairobi, Kenya

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Empowering Dreams: Seka Blaise’s Journey with Mboa Hub

Hello, fellow planet enthusiasts! I’m Seka Jean Blaise, a passionate advocate for clean energy hailing from the beautiful Grassfields of Cameroon. My journey with clean energy began when I witnessed the harsh realities of limited energy access in my community. Fueled by this experience, I embarked on a mission to empower youths like me and bring about a transition to clean energy in Cameroon, with a vision of energy democracy for rural communities.

My transformative journey took an unexpected turn one Friday afternoon at Open Dreams when I met Ndum Albert and Mache Dolores, Greenpeace Africa Volunteers. They shared the exciting news about the launch of a Youth Climate Justice Makerspace, Mboa Hub, powered by Greenpeace Africa and Fryshuset through Planet One. Little did I know that this encounter would lead me to a roller-coaster ride of purpose discovery and self-actualization.

Before January 17, 2023,  I was a novice in the field of climate action. However, the invitation to the opening ceremony of Mboa Hub changed everything. This youth Makerspace became the catalyst for my academic and professional transformation. Through Mboa Hub, I was nominated as a delegate from Cameroon, funded by Greenpeace Africa, to attend the Climate Justice Camp in Lebanon. This one-week experience, focused on clean energy, exposed me to expert leaders from 350.org in France and Greenpeace in Greece, shaping my perspective on energy democracy—a life goal I now aspire to achieve for Cameroon by 2035.

Out of this passion, DeWise Energy was born—a startup dedicated to providing affordable and reliable clean energy to all Cameroonians. Mboa Hub became the wind beneath DeWise’s wings, offering invaluable technical and financial support. Together, we’ve launched projects like the DeWise Fellowship, empowering displaced youths to propose solutions to community problems, and the DeWise-Mboa SunSpark Energy Accelerator Program, training 20 youths annually on clean energy technologies.

What sets Mboa Hub apart is not just its professional prowess but the sense of family it exudes. The unity within the team translates into effective programs that resonate with the youth. I’m grateful for the support from the Mboa Hub team, and I eagerly anticipate future collaborations and projects. Together, we’re not just dreaming of a cleaner, greener future—we’re actively building it!

Mboa Hub, Yaoundé, Cameroon

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We all agree that we need to act – what is stopping us?

When it comes to our ancestors, everyday was a battle and when you could stock up on supplies, you did. In the battle for survival the scarcity mindset was a driving force, which is something I believe led to a greater appreciation of what you had.

Unfortunately in today’s society, that isn’t the case. In so many societies of LAPA (Least Affected population areas) all we see is abundance. We are fooled by the size of the inventory stocks, and our brain think that this must be a never ending supply of whatever we need, whenever we need it. However, that is not the case. Ever since researchers could map out how brains work, we have been vulnerable to implicit marketing techniques and underlying messages. This would not be a problem if the human brain developed as fast as society at large. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, and evolution is slow, leaving us exposed to companies that want to speak to our subconscious and automated part of the brain. Planting seeds that spark our desire for consumption and the feeling of being incomplete.

I can’t help but to wonder what a world without all of these implicit messages would look like. Would it strengthen our connection to ourselves? Would it strengthen our connection to one another? Would it leave us feeling empowered or would it leave us feeling empty? What would we have in our brains if nobody was trying to fill it up with information? I would like to believe that we would have more peace.

In a world where money rules, that reality unfortunately seems far away. Establishing and maintaining conflict is literally the livelihood of some companies, whether it is fooling someone into believing they are not beautiful or starting wars and providing weapons to both sides.

So how are we going to change a system that benefits from destruction? How are we going to change a system into a better one, when powerful actors take advantage of the outdated machinery of our brains to keep the status quo?

To be honest, when you go over the math of what needs to happen, it almost feels impossible.

It feels like the only way for people to take action is if they can actually see the threat. Our eyesight has developed to be our most trusted sense and crazy enough, maybe that’s what we need to see. An external existential threat to humanity. Because If we don’t, our feelings of indifference will be the end of us.

To turn this development, everyone needs to engage. Especially people in LAPA because that’s where a big part of the huge consumption demand comes from. I believe we need to understand our place in this world and respect it. I believe we need a new system that respects our mortality and tenders our wish for inner peace. A practice many of us in LAPA since long have forgotten. Because buried in “modern society” of our world, lies the worshiping of the sun and the earth. The two celestial bodies sustaining all life as we know it. And we need to practice not extracting more than the earth can withstand. I believe this is the knowledge of living in harmony with the earth. The knowledge of being a human.

For all of our sakes, I hope we make some big changes. That we connect to the earth again before it’s too late. That we make some of our old ways our new age, and that we find our way back. Back to you, back to me, and back to us.

With love, your fellow human Eric

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MAKE SMTHNG Week: A Global Celebration of Sustainability at Planet One Makerspaces

In a world saturated with consumerism and a growing environmental consciousness, MAKE SMTHNG Week emerged as a transformative force. This annual international festival, passionately embraced by the Planet One makerspaces, seized the spotlight amid the whirlwind of Black Friday and the onset of the Christmas shopping season. It wasn’t merely a series of events; MAKE SMTHNG Week unfolded as a global movement celebrating creativity, challenging consumerism, and championing a sustainable future. 

As we draw the curtains on a week brimming with creativity, collaboration, and conscious consumption, we reflect on the inspiring events that transpired across the Planet One makerspaces. From empowering workshops to innovative projects, the week became a celebration of sustainability, craftsmanship, and community. 

In this harmonious blend of creativity and commitment, MAKE SMTHNG Week united communities worldwide, spotlighting diverse initiatives that took place at different Planet One makerspaces. This global celebration against consumerism illustrates the collective effort to challenge the norm and forge a path toward sustainable living.

At Bolygó, the week commenced with a pre-event that set the tone for the days ahead. Crafting instruments and a lively jamming session created a vibrant atmosphere, drawing in a community of individuals who returned eagerly for the subsequent events. The week progressed with crafting sessions and musical collaborations, turning Bolygó into a small, tightly-knit community where 70 participants joined the pre-event, with 10-15 enthusiasts attending each subsequent activity.

Make SMTHNG Week at Bolygó
Make SMTHNG Week at Bolygó

Across the globe at Ubuntu Hub, the ambition soared high. The community expressed a desire for quarterly MAKE SMTHNG Weeks, emphasizing a commitment to sustained creativity and conscious living. Over four days, participants engaged in activities such as mural and canvas painting, upcycling projects, and the innovative transformation of old tires into unique furniture pieces. Ubuntu Hub became a haven for artistic expression and sustainable craftsmanship.

Make SMTHNG Week at Ubuntu Hub
Make SMTHNG Week at Ubuntu Hub

In the spirit of diversity, Alternative Youth Space planned four distinct activities, each attracting 15-20 participants. From workshops with local school youths focusing on nature and the environment to sessions on making pots, renovating clothes, and crafting pencil purses, the hub embraced a holistic approach to sustainable living. Inviting artists and experienced individuals for the workshops added depth to the engagement, culminating in a powerful lesson on the fashion industry and greenwashing.

Make SMTHNG Week at Alternative

Mboa Hub showcased the strength of collaboration by organizing MAKE SMTHNG Week in partnership with local youth groups. An online challenge prompted participants to create new items from old materials, including making furniture from old tyres. The Plastic Day event saw 70 youths contributing to the creation of innovative pieces, ranging from Christmas decorations to artworks. The hub also hosted an art and clothes swapping event, where the materials for drawing were sourced from old clothes, emphasizing the creative potential of sustainable practices. The closing ceremony brought together the participants, presenting a culmination of the week’s collective efforts.

Ubunifu Hub harnessed the experience of past facilitators at their exhibition dubbed ‘Green Friday’, attracting a substantial crowd of about 200 participants. The hub explored urban farming, DIY projects with diverse materials, and a clothing swap. By inviting back previous facilitators for an exhibition, Ubunifu was a hub of inspiration, showcasing the transformative power of sustainable creativity.

Make SMTHNG Week at Ubunifu Hub

Momentum embodied the heart of Make SMTHNG Week by hosting a series of hands-on workshops and skill-sharing sessions that brought young people together. From upcycling old materials into functional art to learning about zero-waste living, participants gained practical knowledge and developed new skills that could be applied in their daily lives. The workshops were not only educational but also fostered a sense of community, with participants exchanging ideas and experiences.

Make SMTHNG Week at Momentum

Key Takeaways:

1. Empowerment Through Education: MakeSmthng Week showcased the transformative power of education in fostering sustainable practices, equipping participants with valuable knowledge and practical skills.

2. Community Building and Global Unity: The week not only fostered a strong sense of community among local participants but also established a global unity against mindless consumption, demonstrating the strength of collective action.

3. Tangible Impact and Simultaneous Skill-building: From individual lifestyle changes to community-wide projects, MakeSmthng Week highlighted the tangible impact of small actions. Simultaneously conducted workshops and skill-sharing sessions across hubs facilitated a global exchange of ideas and practical knowledge.

4. Diversity in Sustainability: The showcase of creations underscored the diversity of sustainable alternatives, emphasizing that the movement transcends cultural and geographical boundaries.

5. Community Impact on a Global Scale: Community impact projects undertaken in various hubs demonstrated that the collective effort to address sustainability issues extends beyond borders, contributing to a global movement for positive change.

As MAKE SMTHNG Week at Planet One makerspaces wraps up, the embers of the Green Rebellion continue to burn bright. The week may be over, but the impact, the skills learned, and the community forged will endure, inspiring a lasting commitment to a more sustainable way of life. Until the next MAKE SMTHNG Week, let’s keep creating, challenging, and making a difference.

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From Jack-of-All-Trades to Eco-Artist Extraordinaire: Ken’s Remarkable Journey

In the vibrant and bustling landscape of Nairobi, Kenya, where the quest for innovative ways to earn a living never ceases, one man’s journey stands out as a testament to resilience and creativity. Meet Ken, a true jack-of-all-trades who, despite facing numerous challenges, has managed to carve a path that not only sustains him but also contributes to a greener, more sustainable future.

Ken’s diverse career portfolio is a testament to his relentless pursuit of financial stability. He’s dipped his toes in construction work, acrobatics, carwash business, waste management, carpentry, motorbike transport services, food vending, and even renting out projectors for events and meetings. Each endeavor was met with its own set of trials, but through it all, Ken persevered.

The carwash venture, for instance, took a hard hit from national water rationing. Like many motorbike riders in the city, he constantly had to deal with harassment from law enforcement. The projector he once rented out was damaged beyond repair. These obstacles could have easily deterred many, but not Ken. His unwavering zeal and passion shine through, and they’ve found a new outlet in his latest venture: artwork.

“In this life, everyone must be strong,” Ken asserts as he paints a striking tree silhouette, capturing the essence of his indomitable spirit.

The turning point in Ken’s journey came in June 2022 when he joined the youth group Tempo Arts Centre, which, in partnership with Ubunifu Hub, embarked on a six-week training program to enhance their skills and knowledge in climate justice. The group’s activities spanned performative arts, community waste management, and awareness campaigns on critical issues, including drug abuse. Ken became an active member, and it was during one of these training sessions that he stumbled upon a revolutionary idea within the circular economy: transforming waste paper into art.

The training illuminated the concept of leveraging waste as a resource for green businesses, providing hands-on experiences to transform discarded materials like bamboo, paper waste, and plastic into saleable products.

Ken, always the resourceful individual, began experimenting with the idea by collecting waste cardboard and shredding it. Though resources were limited, his persistent determination and guidance from his trainer, Robert at Ubunifu Hub, enabled him to create his initial art samples. Subsequently, in early 2023, Ken pitched his concept to the Ubunifu Hub team, who promptly offered their support and the required resources to kickstart his vision.

But why art? Ken’s answer is simple: “I have a passion for it, and I learn something new with every painting, so it keeps my interest high. I’m very hopeful about the future of this project, so I will focus on it.”

Ken recalls his previous life, where idle afternoons were common after finishing early at his casual work with Tempo Art Centre. When he discovered the craft of transforming waste into art, he knew it was a chance to turn a slow-paced endeavor into something substantial and meaningful.

Now, you can often find Ken at the Ubunifu Hub, diligently working on his latest creation. He has 

crafted approximately 16 distinct art pieces, with four already finding eager buyers. With every piece, his skill grows, and his ambition swells.

“I love working at Ubunifu Hub,” Ken remarks. “There are no interruptions. I can focus all day and often work until evening.”

Beyond creating his masterpieces, Ken has utilized his presence at the Hub to inspire and guide others. Networking with fellow trainees and organizations, Ken has become a beacon of hope, motivating others to explore the circular economy and launch their initiatives. Already, four young people from different youth groups have reached out to Ken, seeking guidance in this transformative art form.

In May 2023, Ken had the opportunity to showcase his crafts to visitors at the Africa Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship Conference, an exhibition organized by Ubunifu Hub. It was a pivotal moment that further fueled his dream of establishing his enterprise and continuing to train others. He firmly believes there are others like him who yearn to learn and prosper.

Ken’s journey is a testament to the growth potential within youth initiatives when met with adequate support and the unwavering determination of these young change-makers. His initiative alone has diverted up to 60 kg of paper waste from looming dumpsites, a small but significant step toward a greener future.

As Ken wisely puts it, “I knew this was a skill I couldn’t let go of.” For him, this journey has only just begun, and the future holds limitless possibilities. Ken’s story is one that resonates on a global scale, serving as a vivid example of how dedication and innovation can shape a brighter, more sustainable world.

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From Soweto to the World: Lubabalo Jafta’s Journey in the Youth Climate Movement

In the vibrant heart of Soweto, a young and inspiring individual is making waves in the world of climate change and spirituality. Meet Lubabalo Jafta, a local theater actor who recently realized his dream of recording a podcast show that explores the deep connection between climate change and spirituality.

For three years, Lubabalo poured his heart and soul into crafting a podcast that would shed light on the profound question of how climate change affects our spirituality. Armed with just his trusty mobile phone, he embarked on a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment.

One fateful evening, while scrolling through social media, Lubabalo stumbled upon Ubuntu Hub. This discovery changed the course of his journey. He decided to pay them a visit, and this visit turned his long-held dream into a reality. At Ubuntu Hub, he found state-of-the-art equipment that he could use for free, which was instrumental in bringing his podcast to life.

Lubablo Jafta

We celebrate this young champion of climate justice and spirituality. His dedication and unwavering passion have led him to become a leader in a youth movement focused on creating a brighter future for our planet. Lubabalo is now at the helm of a remarkable podcast show, collaborating with other talented young minds from Soweto who share his belief in achieving climate justice within their lifetime.

Lubabalo’s story is an inspiration to us all, demonstrating how determination and the right resources can empower individuals to make a real impact on the issues they care about. He’s an inspiration, not just in Soweto, but for a global audience. His story reminds us that by pursuing our passions and uniting with like-minded souls, we can create a world that’s more in tune with our spirituality and the environment.

Podcasting equipment at Ubuntu Hub