What you need to know:
- In my 20’s I got involved in environmental conservation alongside my music because I wanted to see a change in the place I grew up.
- This is when I started Taka-bank, a social enterprise that rewards Dandora residents for proper waste disposal.
“I am Julius Owino, aka Juliani. I am a Hip-Hop artist with an interest in climate change, resource recovery, and youth development.
I was born in Dandora and while growing up, we didn’t know we were poor until someone pointed it out to us. Dandora hosts the largest landfill in the country, where all the solid waste from Nairobi and its environs is dumped.
In my 20s, I got involved in environmental conservation alongside my music because I wanted to see a change in the place I grew up. This is when I started Taka-bank, a social enterprise that rewards Dandora residents for proper waste disposal. We call it waste recovery and not disposal, where community members help with sorting out the waste that can be recycled and we pay them with what they need like food and other amenities. The results have been worth it since people are now seeing the value in waste.
I am almost 40 years old and I can say the future of our environment's conservation lies in the youth. The truth is that as a young person, you have a personal responsibility to figure out your part in making things better because young people are the ones who are going to bear the negative effects of climate change and environmental degradation.
My turning point came in 2010 when I took part in the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference in Norway, where experts painted a grim picture of where the world would be if the warnings the scientists were giving were not heeded to. I can only imagine what will happen in 20 years to come. This is why I am using my voice as a musician to spread the word on the need for all of us to conserve our environment.
I applaud the government for the steps it has taken in terms of climate change. I can say there’s a national agenda and goal that we all need to support even though implementation is a problem. It is now up to the youth to get the right information and be specific in demanding for the change they want to see when it comes to the environment.
I have been working with the World Wide Fund for Nature Kenya for a while as a member of the council of ambassadors. This is group of influential people and environmental activists who have been selected to help champion conservation through our different platforms. Through my role, I have learnt that Kenyans lack individual responsibility in how we take care of our personal spaces and environment. We have a lot to learn when it comes to how we relate with ourselves, to the environment and people around us. We only see problems in our minds and lack confidence in providing solutions to these problems and I hope this will change in the long run.”
Compiled by Brygettes Ngana