Leap² Innovation Challenge Innovative Light & Circular Economy. Theme: social entrepreneurship.
The goal of the innovation is to help save the environment by recycling non biodegradable waste hair products in the urban and peri urban areas while creating employment for women and youth.
The business intends to produce sellable end products such as floor and Table Mats, carpets and rags and textile from waste false hair products. All these will be hand made using the weaving technique.
The innovation here is that the business intends to move away from the usual use of threads (being carried out by competitors) and other materials to come up with the above mentioned products but explore the use of waste false hair products to generate threads which in turn will be used to produce sellable products. The innovation in the long run intends to produce quality products which can be exported abroad for sale.
What problems does the innovation solve?
This innovation intends to solve two problems specifically as listed and discussed below:
- Conservation of environment through waste management.
- Empowering youth to be financially self reliant and encouraging self employment.
Conservation of the Environment: The false hair industry represents a case of growing demand and depleting natural resources, in addition to a significant environmental impact of synthetic alternatives. Recycling, reconditioning and remanufacture of waste materials are identified as mechanisms to reduce waste of false hair products.
Human hair waste takes several years to decompose to its constituent elements of namely carbon, nitrogen and sulphur. It is slow to break down and blocks drainage systems and produces foul odors. Synthetic materials likewise occupy large volumes within landfill disposal but do not decompose over time, while alternatives such as burning releases highly toxic chemicals which can impact human health.
This innovation therefore intends to reduce amount of waste false hair products available by using them to create goods that can be sold to generate income. This will contribute to environment conservation and also the circular economy.
Youth Empowerment and Self Employment: The business intends to train youth especially young girls on how to produce the end products using the waste false hair products. The business intends to work in partnership with both private and public entities to have youth trained on this craft so they are able to come up with goods that can generate income thus empowering them economically (Financial self reliance).
Youth unemployment is a huge problem being experienced in Kenya right now and the Government is continuously trying to come up with ways to solve this problem Kenya's youth unemployment situation is particularly serious. For instance, in the period 1998-2005, aggregate unemployment fell from 15% to 12.5%, but the share of the youth in unemployment rose from 60% to 72 %. And the rate of joblessness is almost 40% of youth, or an estimated 5.2 million young adults.