- In Swahili, the name “Taka Taka” means rubbish
- Taka Taka Zero’s vision is to create long-term change specifically in Mathare Slum and Kibera slums
- Taka Taka Zero fuels sustainable futures through waste conversion.
On Saturday, 10 September 2022 the TAKA TAKA ZERO finally got launched in the slums of Mathare, Nairobi. TAKA TAKA ZERO is a Nairobi-based zero-waste food program and sustainable business, aiming to empower youths and increase food security, and clean communities through waste conversion. Their goal is to facilitate clean, self-sufficient communities.
To keep children in school, TAKA TAKA ZERO has a food program, in partnership with Nestlé Foundation, to help feed the children at least twice a day. They do this by working with the youths in the community in Mathare and Kibera Slums. After getting empowered with both training and employment, the youths in Mathare and Kibera run the entire food program by making meals for the children every day using the community cooker that provides safe methods of incinerating trash for energy production in informal settlements.
TAKA TAKA ZERO is an ENACTUS-DURHAM Project. The ENACTUS project is a global non-profit organization that helps students around the world to create projects to solve social issues that target Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ms. Anna Lelek, the team leader, is a German studying Psychology at Durham University in the United Kingdom (UK).
“We are a team of seven that formed the TAKA TAKA Zero project under Enactus in Durham. The idea came from the second leader (Priyanka) from Nairobi, who grew up around constant waste. We also noticed that it’s the youths that take part in cleaning up the community but with o proper mechanism to take care of the waste,” she says.
TAKA TAKA ZERO targets the garbage collectors around the communities so that they can help them get rid of and at the same time make good use of the wastes. The team also partners with other organizations to help in meeting their goals. Among the organizations include The Nestlé Foundation, Community Cooker Foundation, Eco-Bana as well as the OneChuom Youth Group from Kibera.
“Everyone has been incredibly supportive and I’m very excited. The most motivating part is that everyone wants to be on board and it’s really helping out. So whoever we need they find a way that they can include themselves in the project and not for their own benefit but to help out, and to help in their own ways and with their own skills and ideas,” Ms. Lelek states.
Mr. Robert Wanga is a youth from Mathare Slum, and the one helping Ms. Lelek and her team while they are abroad. Since he hails from the slums he understands the challenges faced around and this makes it easier for Ms. Lelek and the entire TAKA TAKA ZERO to undertake its projects.
“There is a need for change in our community, not just physically but also how we relate as men, men and women, and also adults and children. In whatever you do, it ceases to be good when you do it for your personal gains but when you do it for the community it turns out to be a good course.” He remarks.
Him being on the ground, he is responsible for liaising with other youth groups and he helps ensure that the goals that they have are easily executed. Mr. Wanga’s passion for seeing the youths and the community get transformed what made him decide to work with Ms. Lelek and her team in TAKA TAKA ZERO.
“For the longest time I have always wished to be deeply involved in such a project to help transform his environment and others,” he adds.
Ms. Jane Wandere the National Coordinator for Nestlé coordinator was also present during the launch. The program runs in 72 countries in Africa where Nestlé has a plant. The program is need-based and she says that “One country’s need is not another country’s need. In Kenya, we have regions where people suffer from malnutrition and thus the interest of teaching about nutrition to school-going children.”
She further states that they aim at having future healthy adults who have nutrition ideas and be able to make decisions regarding what they eat and the benefit of eating healthy.
“We train the children to have a simple balanced diet meal from the foods locally available from the community,” she states.
The Nestlé Foundation has a program that provides communities with the materials required to set up a simple garden in the schools. They encourage the schools to start the 4K Club and ask the particular schools to provide them with space to set up the garden. Nestlé Foundation then comes in to provide organic manure, seedlings, and foliar for planting. Also, Ms. Wandere says that they encourage the children to be the ones to work on it and take ownership of the garden by ploughing, planting, weeding, watering, spraying, and harvesting.
She adds that “We give the children a record book to record all the processes from the first stage of planting to the last activities. When it comes to harvesting, we also want the children to take part in harvesting so that they can know the process that takes place for the food to reach their tables.”
Apart from providing food for children, it also helps the school to generate income during holidays by selling the produce to the local mama mboga around.
Moreover, the Nestlé Foundation also provides rabbits (male and female) to school-going children. When the rabbits reproduce, the children are able to get their products and also sell the surplus to get the money that they are later encouraged to save for future use.
“We give them a buck and a doe. We want at least every child to own a rabbit since they produce real quickly so that it becomes an income-generating activity for them. In the future, I hope to bring in with banks so that they teach the children how to save.” She concludes.