As a high school graduate, Leroy Mwasaru, now 19, achieved global recognition for using human refuse, dung and organic waste as a power source for his school in Kenya. Now the innovative teenager has a plan to train a new generation of entrepreneurs who can bring a more sustainable future to Kenya.
The One Young World Ambassador was only 17 when he became co-founder and CEO of Greenpact, an energy start-up that begun by addressed sewage problems in Mwasaru’s school community in western Kenya by using human waste as a means of providing energy to his school. The remarkable project was featured by CNN, Grist, The Huffington Post and CCTV America among other media outlets.
Mwasaru’s latest project is CampBuni (*Buni-Swahili for “innovate), an initiative that will bring directly to Africa the techniques used to teach business students at elite American summer programmes. Mwasaru was previously an attendee at the prestigious Igniting Innovation Summit, hosted by Harvard University.
CampBuni, which opens in Nairobi next Monday (17 July) and runs for five days, is aimed at 13-18 year olds and will be focused on Human Centered Design Thinking and entrepreneurship. Participants will be encouraged to “brainstorm critically about solutions in their own communities and come up with innovative solutions to solve these problems, “he told One Young World.
Some 30 teenagers will take part in the camp, with the object of generating “ingenious solutions from scarce resources”. They will be taught entrepreneurial and presentation-making skills, and advised on seed-funding opportunities. The overarching theme of CampBuni is human-centered design thinking (HCDT).
Speaking to One Young World, Mwasaru says: “I am looking forward to the interactions that will come out of the camp and the ideas that will lead to ground breaking innovations for Kenya. We are planning to follow up on the ideas that emerge at the camp so that the young people are given the support to find partners who will leverage their ideas to reality.”
Mwasaru founded the camp with a group of high-powered and like-minded friends, who will assist in the training. “The camp is inspired and driven by the belief that the most important change a country can achieve is to embrace a creative and innovative mentality which will lead to future sustainability,” he says.
CampBuni is being hosted by iHub in Nairobi, a technology innovation hub. Its other partners are Moringa, a Kenyan coding school, and Junior Achievement, an organization dedicated to incubating ideas and entrepreneurship.
But the bold project is in need of further outside funding if it is to be able to pursue its goal of identifying a new cohort of entrepreneurs and giving them the chance to learn skills in innovation and sustainability within their home country.
You can find details of how to support CampBuni here: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/campbuni
Mwasaru, now 19, was a delegate speaker at One Young World’s Environment Summit last year in Arizona. In addition to running Greenpact, he graduated from High school in Kenya and is part of a Leadership development programme in Johannesburg.