Biupe Innovators: Youth in Mukuru Taking Lead in Locally Led Climate Solutions
Biupe Innovators is a group located in the heart of Mukuru, one of the biggest informal settlements in Africa. Started in 2011 with only 63 members, it was certified in 2012 and now has 15 active members. Despite being a small group, Biupe is known for leading locally-led solutions in their community, and the group is involved in urban farming, poultry farming, waste management, advocacy for climate change, tree planting, and community cleanups.
Biupe Innovators is a group located in the heart of Mukuru, one of the biggest informal settlements in Africa. Started in 2011 with only 63 members, it was certified in 2012 and now has 15 active members. Despite being a small group, Biupe is known for leading locally led solutions in their community, and the group is involved in urban farming, poultry farming, waste management, advocacy for climate change, tree planting, and community cleanups.
Julius Obisa, the programme manager of Biupe, highlights that the group has witnessed a substantial decline in membership, shrinking from 63 members to 15. This reduction can be attributed to the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the arrival of the pandemic, the group’s activities came to a standstill, compelling several members, who served as the primary providers for their families, to seek employment opportunities outside Mukuru to sustain their livelihoods. Nevertheless, Biupe remains resilient and their ongoing efforts in the community continue to create a tangible difference.
Biupe was one of the 106 groups that received financial support through the Voices for Just Climate Action programme (VCA) facilitated by Muungano wa Wanavijiji. This support aimed to help local climate action groups and expand innovative climate initiatives in marginalised urban communities in Nairobi, Kisumu, and Nakuru Counties. The support helped them continue with their initiatives when they were struggling and thinking of putting their activities on hold. The group also received capacity building on how to make their work visible. Through this, they opened a Facebook page, which has gotten a lot of traction as they can now showcase the amazing job they are doing in the community.
Julius has been part of the group from inception to date. He believes people should adopt trees, stating, “People should be encouraged to adopt trees; this is especially because if you want to localise the climate change agenda, then it is very important that we move away from jargon.”
Biupe has a programme where they mentor children in primary school. Julius says the group should include the Climate Innovative Challenge (CIC) in the curriculum. “We want climate change to be part of the curriculum,” he says. “It would be a major breakthrough if CIC is upscaled in the country.”
Biupe believes it is essential to start teaching children about the importance of caring for the environment and inspire them to lead in locally-led climate change solutions. “When you teach young children innovative ways, then we can nurture them to be climate champions, and we believe they are the future of tomorrow.“
“In my experience, I find it difficult to turn a grown-up into a climate champion compared to children. Education is key to creating a sustainable future, and by starting early and teaching children about the importance of taking care of the environment, we are creating a culture of sustainability that will continue into adulthood. By inspiring leadership in children, we can create a generation of young people who are proactive, innovative, and passionate about creating a sustainable future for all.”
In addition to their work with children, Biupe has gotten a lot of support from the community through activities like urban planning. The group has been able to help secure food security for community members, and they have also addressed the issue of malnutrition in the informal settlement by educating the community members on the importance of having a balanced diet.
Poultry farming is another way that Biupe is making a difference in the community. The group teaches members how to raise chickens and sell eggs, providing them with a sustainable source of income. Biupe also plays a crucial role in waste management and community clean-ups. The youth group takes on the responsibility of keeping their community clean by educating residents on proper waste disposal methods and actively engaging in regular clean-up activities.
Through their efforts, Biupe effectively reduces the amount of waste accumulating in landfills while instilling a sense of ownership and responsibility among community members. Their dedication and impact inspire others to join the fight against climate change, making a tangible difference in creating a cleaner and more sustainable environment in Mukuru.
Tree planting is also a significant part of Biupe’s work, as they believe that planting trees is a simple and effective way to address climate change. Planting trees helps reduce carbon emissions and provides shade and shelter for the community.
Despite coming from informal settlements, Biupe and its members are resilient and committed to addressing climate change issues. Julius says, “We should mentor young kids so they grow up knowing the importance of maintaining the environment.”