Beyond MCC: Kenyan women who met at MCC'15 now powering Systems Change

For most of the Students who attend the Millennium Campus Conference, the main objective is to network, create partnerships and socialize with students and experts in different fields, disciplines and campuses from all over the world. MCC is an excellent platform not only for professional development but also for personal growth; An MCNer learns how to work and actively participate in a multicultural environment.

          Apart from the group discussions, solidarity shares and public speeches from renowned world leaders, a very crucial component of the MCC experience is social events. MCNers interact more at such events, get to know each other better and share campus and work experiences. It was one of these social events, the Open Mic Night at the New School that KYCE team member met: then merely as Kenyans but now as partners and champions for sustainable economic development in Kibera slums, in Kenya.

         So many values are acquired from the MCC experience including proactivity and social responsibility, which is one of the main reasons as to why the Kenya Youth for Circular Economy was founded.  KYCE is a project focused on creating self-sustaining systems for developing countries, using Africa’s largest urban slum, Kibera, as a model. The systems created by the team can foster employment, improve sanitation and hygiene, enhance the living standard of urban environments (particularly crowded and marginalized peri-urban communities) and improve the overall health of these peri-urban communities. KYCE was founded by six Kenyan women in colleges abroad: Costa Rica, the United Kingdom and the United States, thanks to the 7th Millennium Campus Conference 2015 held in New York that brought us together.

          We learned about the Wege Prize 2015/16 Competition, focused on “wicked solutions” for the emerging social, economic and environmental challenges or what is also known as a circular economy. Coming from a developing country and home of one of the largest slums in Africa, we designed a “wicked solution” (integrated and circular economy project) to the major challenges faced by the slum dwellers, a proposal that we presented at the final stage of the Wege Competition earlier this year. We were ranked the second position in the final event and we are currently in the initial implementation stages, bringing on board partners such as the Nairobi County government, the National Government of Kenya as well as municipal solid waste management and renewable energy companies. We are also eyeing partnerships with non-government organizations based in Kibera such as the Human Needs Project through Kibera Town Centre and Carolina for Kibera.

--Phenny Omondi, MCC'15