Taka Ni Pato (Trash is Cash)

Guest Blogger – Clare

“Carolina for Kibera” is an international, nongovernmental organization based in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya. It is a major affiliated entity and program of UNC-Chapel Hill, and was also the senior class project of the class of 2008 (what what) which is how I came to learn about the organization.

I recently received its 2008 annual report in the mail, which describes all its programs and highlights its success stories. While all the programs were remarkable, the one that jumped out at me was Taka Ni Pato, or “Trash is Cash.” Kibera lacks the government waste collection and disposal services that, here at home, tend to be underappreciated. As a result, garbage heaps, littered streets, polyurethane bags and household waste are entwined with everyday activities, including shopping, going to work or school and eating. This is where TNP steps in. TNP is comprised mainly of young adults and operates community based, profit-driven waste management systems and promotes waste reduction and environmental awareness throughout Kibera.

In 2008 TNP, with other community groups, organized 37 clean-ups and removed more than 4,600 tons of trash from Kibera. The recycling teams sorted through this waste and earned $24,000 through the resale of usable materials. One group of women began weaving handbags and other crafts from the trash they collected and reported earnings of $200 a month. TNP also helped bring the first ever World Environment Day (June 5) to Kibera and trained staff members from five schools on waste prevention.

To learn more about Carolina for Kibera and the Taka Ni Pato program, visit its Web site cfk.unc.edu.

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