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Two Africans among four winners of global youth climate prize


TWO young Africans have been selected as the global winners of the Young Climate Prize, an award by the non-profit, The World Around, that recognises projects that use “design to address and mitigate the impact of climate change”.

Foday David Kamara from Sierra Leone and Aziba Ekio from Nigeria were among the four overall winners selected from a shortlist of 25 who had all been paired with a mentor to help them scale up their project in order to bring it to life and address issues related to climate change.

Twenty-two-year-old Kamara won the young climate designer category, while Ekio scooped the Special Jury Prize.

Kamara, a sustainability advocate, was recognised for using plastic extrusion technology to create bricks and paving tiles from waste. His technology replaces the use of expensive cement while simultaneously clearing plastic waste.

Using extrusion technology for the project called Ecovironment, Kamara worked with New York-based architect Dominic Leong to develop the material.

According to jurists, Kamara’s solution “stands out not only for the idea of recycling plastic waste in a realistic and scalable way but also for the emphasis on systems, training and education.”

Kamara has already converted 460 tonnes of plastics, creating dozens of jobs and even donating the money made from the material to 1,500 schools.

In his statement on the World Around website, Kamara hopes to create “600 jobs, and recycle over 7000 tonnes of plastic waste in the next 8 years.”

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24-year-old Aziba Ekio from Nigeria, who received the Special Jury Prize, uses poetry to voice her message on the climate crisis, conveying its urgency and impact through written and spoken pieces.

Ekio’s project, under the mentorship of South African architect Sumayya Vally, aims to bring light to aspects of the climate crisis through spoken word poetry.

Her approach was praised for its ability to communicate effectively and inspire action, especially among young people.

Her anthology, ‘The Color, Green,’ was the competition’s primary assessment tool.

The jurists believe her poetry is “extremely stirring, uplifting, passionate, and moving, and her strong voice in the fight to tackle the climate crisis will undoubtedly be heard.”

Other winners include Mexican Pamela Elizarrarás Acitores, who won the young climate voice category, and Namra Khalid, the Dutch designer who won the young climate visionary award.

The four winners will present their work at The World Around Summit, taking place at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Earth Day – 22 April.

More significantly, the 25-member cohort of the Young Climate Prize finalists represented diverse African countries, showcasing the continent’s rich talent and ingenuity in addressing the pressing issue of climate change.

Mangaliso Ngcobo and Sam Harding represented South Africa, while Nigerian finalists included Ichor Joshua Kenghen, Esther Olalude, and Stanley Anigbogu.

Uganda was also represented, with Aida Namukose and Mohamed Maweje. Shariffa Amolo Anguria and Joseph Ngbiro from Kenya completed the line-up of African contestants.

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By The African Mirror