Michelle Muturi, a 23-year-old from Nairobi, Kenya, aspires to create something lovely and surprising out of the trash plastic she finds here.
A 2023 has been given to her idea of using recycled plastic to make bricks that will be utilized to spruce up and renovate a number of Nairobi schools.
She will use the $20,000 stipend from the grant to carry out her project.
“Winning this award is a tremendous achievement for me,” said Muturi, a biochemistry major who has served as 2022–23 Pitzer Student Senate president. “It means that a vision that has been lingering in my mind every time I visit home, wishing I could be of service to schoolchildren and improve their environment, will now turn into a reality.”Napier Initiative Award
After observing the monotonous surroundings and surroundings of three schools outside of her village, Muturi suggested making eco-bricks out of recycled plastic and old plastic bottles that had been filled with sand. These bricks would serve as the bases and supports for numerous additional features and constructions, such as benches, ornamental fences, tree guards, and flower containers.
Volunteers and students from the schools will work together to complete the project, which will not only make the schools look nicer but also teach the kids how to deal with pollution in a fun way.
Additionally, as part of the initiative, Muturi suggests growing fruit trees, both to further enhance the beauty of the schools and for a more practical reason: to improve the diets of the children with fresh fruit.
Her project takes full advantage of a local competence-based curriculum that encourages learners to be creative in using locally available materials. The partnering agency, the Rongai East Rotary Club, will continue the project once it has been launched in person by Muturi: “I am confident that this project has the potential to create a positive ripple effect, not only in the lives of the children but also for their families, communities, and beyond,” Muturi said. “By empowering these children to take an active role in managing their waste and reducing plastic pollution, we can inspire a culture of environmental stewardship that will have a lasting impact on the planet.”
The annual Napier Awards are given to two graduating Claremont Colleges seniors “who demonstrate outstanding leadership in fostering justice for all people, caring for our fragile earth home, and nurturing peace and reconciliation,” according to the Napier website. The awards are named after the late Davie and Joy Napier, longtime residents of the Pilgrim Place senior community.