By Ian Kiptoo
The climate crisis in Africa is a cancer slowly eating away. The continent is experiencing the devastating effects of climate change in various ways. Rising Temperatures lead to heatwaves, droughts, and desertification. According to reports by the UN, more than 2.7 million people were displaced by drought, and 5 million children were malnourished in the Horn of Africa.
Water Scarcity has also plagued the continent. The 2022 World Health Organization report on water indicates that more than 400 million people lack water due to changing weather patterns. This lack of water has led to water stress and conflicts among communities on the continent.
Erratic rainfall and temperature fluctuations are affecting crop yields and food security. A report by Self Help Africa on food security in Africa showed more than 258 million people in 22 countries face acute food insecurity.
In a world where the consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly dire, a group of young, passionate, and visionary teenagers from Africa is emerging as the Seeds of Tomorrow.
These young individuals are not just embracing the challenge of climate change but are actively working to combat it using innovative technology.
Fadeel Notta, from Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, has created a garbage-collecting robot. This technological marvel is designed to autonomously roam the streets, parks, and water bodies, collecting and disposing of waste. Its mission is to combat waste pollution and reduce plastic pollution, two of the most pressing environmental challenges facing Africa and the world.
"We wanted to take some action for the planet. We were inspired by the former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s words in a United Nations forum, where he said Africa needs smart solutions,” said Fadeel as he explained his project.
Another visionary team comprising Sana Charania, Zaahra Thathiya, and Christian Kisali, all from Aga Khan Academy, have not been left behind. They entered the Afri-robotics competition showcasing their innovation – ASTRO assembled entirely from recycled plastic.
"Climate change does not wait till you are old and grown up," said Christian Kisali as their motivation in creating solutions to fight climate change.
"Climate change is a problem approaching us too quickly. Young people should be involved as they have more sharp and creative ideas that can change this war in favor of humankind," said Sana Charania.
This recycled robot is a testament to their commitment to sustainability and resourcefulness. It showcases how technology can address environmental issues and repurpose waste materials into useful tools.
They recognize that they are the custodians of the earth's future and refuse to stand by while environmental crises escalate. These young activists are united by a common purpose: to leverage technology as a powerful tool in the fight against climate change.
At the heart of this inspiring movement are the mentors from Tech Kidz Africa, led by Paul Akwabi, the founder and director, alongside Grace Irungu. Paul's mission, as he says, is to make the first Bill Gates and Elon Musk from Kenya. He says the potential to scale is huge when children are trained from an early age.
Organizations like these have played a pivotal role in nurturing the potential of young climate warriors. Tech Kidz Africa is an educational initiative fostering technology skills among African youth. The organization has been instrumental in guiding youngsters through their journey.
“We practice computational thinking, we get the children to think outside the box that is accompanied by critical thinking skills," said Grace Irungu CEO of Tech Kidz Africa
Afri Robotics, with its expertise in robotics and sustainable innovation, has provided technical guidance and inspired young minds to think creatively about using technology for environmental conservation.
These mentors have created a nurturing and empowering environment where the Seeds of Tomorrow can thrive. The founder, Mr. Jasin Owili, organized Africa's first-ever world robotics competition. His goal is to bring new technology to Africa. He says it is time Africa innovated its robots if we want to compete globally.
The efforts of the Seeds of Tomorrow and their mentors are not isolated. They are part of a larger movement that is shaping Africa's fight against climate change. With Africa being one of the most vulnerable continents to the effects of climate change, initiatives like this one are of paramount importance.
The role of mentors in the Seeds of Tomorrow's journey cannot be overstated. These mentors have imparted technical knowledge and instilled a sense of purpose, responsibility, and environmental stewardship in these young warriors.
The mentors have encouraged them to think beyond the conventional and push the boundaries of what is possible. They have nurtured their creativity and fostered an unwavering commitment to improving the world. Through this mentorship, these teenagers have developed the skills, knowledge, and determination to tackle climate change head-on.
The African Climate Summit held in Nairobi was a powerful platform for starting the conversation on climate change. The summit brought together leaders, policymakers, and environmentalists from across the continent to discuss strategies for mitigating climate change's impact on Africa. Pledges worth more than 3 trillion Kenyan shillings were made.
The Seeds of Tomorrow are not just a symbol of hope; they are the embodiment of action and innovation. Their journey, guided by mentors from Tech Kidz Africa and Afri Robotics, showcases the potential of young minds to address the most pressing global challenges.
As we look to the future, it is clear that these young innovators will continue to grow and inspire others to join the fight against climate change. Through their dedication, creativity, and unwavering commitment, they are cultivating a sustainable future for Africa and the world, one innovative idea at a time. These young warriors are the true Seeds of Tomorrow and are blossoming into a force for positive change in the battle against climate change.