Sustainable Development is one of these concepts we here about day in day out, we see banners, advertisements, articles, educational materials and all other IEC and scholarly sources you can think of. One question that we have to ask ourselves at a personal level is,
What I’m I doing to contribute to my own sustainable development, that of my community and that of my world?
Well, what are you doing?
Okay, maybe not much, maybe a lot too.
Ecofinder Kenya has been in this environmental space for over 2 decades now. We have taught, educated, trained and facilitated initiatives we could about sustainable development (Environmental growth, social growth and economic growth). I think it is safe to say that we have truly seen it all when it comes to the communities of the Lake Victoria region.
Then years down the line, we learnt a very important lesson, that environmental sustainability is purely about human management. In as much as it is important to shift gears at the policy and higher governance levels, it is even so much more important to change the attitudes, knowledge, behaviour and practices of the people who have to live with and use these natural ecosystems that we are trying very hard to protect.
Well, here is where I through in a new concept – The Blue Economy – Ever heard of this one? Well, this one was just God sent to the ecosystems and landscapes which are, or once were as rich with resources as the Great Lake Victoria.
The motto of Ecofinder Kenya is Environmental Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Communities and this is our forte. Through the great support of the Canadian High Commission through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, we got the chance to touch the lives of over 70 women and youth of the Lake Victoria.
We trained them, yes, I know you have probably heard this strategy countless times but just wait, I told you we are good at this. We helped these community members gained skills in Ecotourism and Tour Guiding and they are now expert naturalists. We also gave them the great skill of craft making and now they are able to use all soughts of waste (Plastic, glass, paper), papyrus reeds and water hyacinth to custom make any equipment or home-based items.
But we still did not end there, we created an online marketing platform for them to help them drive sales. Through this, they become financially empowered, they are using recycled materials so actively reducing pollution, they have become environmental advocates and through their give back strategy to help even more women , young girls and youth they are empowered and empowering others socially.