Making Something or Giving Room to Creativity

Each generation has its challenges and it is the duty of that generation to take action in solving the various obstacles that arise. The state of our environment nowadays undergoes a lot of obstacles and pressure notably climate change, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, air and water pollution, soil degradation as well as deforestation. Added to these issues, there is an increase production of waste from all the four parts of the world. Unfortunately, everyone across the globe does not face these problems similarly. Among the various sustainable solutions proposed so far, MAKE SMTHNG WEEK appears to be impressive. However, can the MAKE SMTHNG WEEK work effectively for countries like Cameroon?

Mboa Hub with its team during Make SMTHNG Week in November, 2023

MAKE SMTHNG is a worldwide festival whereby, everyone, everywhere repairs, upcycles, shares, reuses instead of consuming as a way to counteract hyper-consumerism. It is in 2022 under the auspices of Planet One that I discovered MAKE SMTHING WEEK.

MAKE SMTHNG’s aim is to empower people to recreate more and to buy consciously. As a matter of fact, it appears as a means to counteract the BLACK FRIDAY culture which demands that more goods should be bought. In fact, the BLACK FRIDAY does not only enhance consumerism but it increases the quantity of waste into our Planet. The ultimate idea that arises here is the financial stability of those who are buying much. In countries like Cameroon, few people can offer themselves this luxury to buy much. At this level, the MAKE SMTHING might not make sense for developing countries like Cameroon. However, if the focus is made on the types of waste like plastic waste, organic waste, just to name a few, then MAKE SMTHNG will take on its full meaning. Therefore, reusing while giving a second beautiful life to waste is a way to contribute the MAKE SMTHNG. This is generally based on the culture of learning by doing. So, one can affirm that, MAKE SMTHNG can enable people to improve on their skills in managing waste.

Similarly, MAKE SMTHNG is an approach to develop creativity while working with other people. In fact, during the MAKE SMTHNG WEEK, people come together to have fun, joy, share experience while creating new and useful objects from waste.

This is exactly what happened at the University of Yaoundé 2 last year where, together with volunteers of Greenpeace Africa we celebrated the MAKE SMTHNG WEEK. Young students and volunteers express their innovative skills by creating flower jar, jewellery, drums, decorative arts and many others. With this learning, I opted to share this bundle of innovative activities with secondary school students. Here, I organised an inter-school competition among students who created new things from plastics waste. The winners were awarded many prizes.

For the year 2023, I intend to celebrate MAKE SMTHNG with more youth and contribute in reducing waste in our environment while creating knew and useful objects. Equally, it will be of great importance, if this year MAKE SMTHNG portrays the face and the life of young Cameroonian.   

In a nutshell, MAKE SMTHING WEEK is one of the most sustainable solution to combat consumerism. It enhances creativity and encourages people to improve on their skills while working together and have fun. However, whenever, it needs to be implemented, the main approach to use is to contextualise it around the community or country where it is supposed to be implemented.

Written by Mache Dolorès, Mboa Hub, Yaoundé, Cameroon