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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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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