My Path to Artistic Advocacy

My journey started when I was introduced to Ubunifu Hub by a friend through our youth group, “Hatua kwa Hatua”. Little did I know that it would become the guiding light for my journey. The passionate trainers at the hub opened my eyes to the critical issue of climate change advocacy, igniting a curiosity within me that I never knew existed.

As I delved into this new knowledge, I discovered a creative pathway that merged my passion for art with my newfound understanding of climate change. The resources available at the hub allowed me to evolve and enhance my artistic skills, propelling me to new heights of creativity and expression.

One of the pivotal moments in my journey was the opportunity to participate in the ‘I Hummingbird Effect’ campaign led by Tracy Makheti. I created a captivating puzzle art piece and an impactful painting. These works not only showcased my talent but also sparked positive conversations and dialogues on the pressing issue of climate change. Through the campaign, I gained the confidence to continue my journey as an artivist.

The impact of my art extended beyond local borders when I was given the opportunity to travel to Sweden for a youth exchange program. There, I not only gained invaluable knowledge but also shared my artistic gifts with fellow youth from other Planet One hubs, fostering growth in my career as a self-taught artist. Throughout this transformative journey, the team at Ubunifu Hub has been my unwavering support system, providing a nurturing space where creativity flourishes. Their guidance has not only shaped my artistic endeavors but has also empowered me to become a better advocate for change.

I want to express my deep gratitude to Ubunifu Hub for being my stepping stone to my purpose. Your dedication to teaching and advocacy has been instrumental in shaping my journey as an artistic SDG activist. Through your guidance, I have found my voice and passion for climate stories, and I have been able to network with like-minded individuals who have further impacted my life.

Denzel’s beautiful artworks

Your commitment to nurturing talent and giving support has inspired me to educate my community through edu murals that emphasize the importance of climate advocacy and mitigation. The skills and knowledge I have gained from you have empowered me to make a meaningful difference in the world around me.

Thank you for the profound impact you have had on my life. Your unwavering support, constructive feedback, and belief in my potential have helped me grow not only as an artist but as a person. Your mentorship has instilled in me a sense of confidence, creativity, and a lifelong love for learning.

Denzel’s beautiful artworks

I am truly grateful for the countless hours you have dedicated to teaching and guiding me. Your patience, kindness, and genuine care for your students have left an indelible mark on my heart. Thank you for being an exceptional teacher, a mentor, and a friend.

Today, I stand as a testament to the transformative power of art and advocacy, all thanks to the profound impact of patience, hope, and hard work.

Denzel Juma, Young Member, Ubunifu Hub, Nairobi, Kenya


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


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.