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