Shelterplast

A project for Kenya

Shelterplast
Shelterplast Olten, CH

Project Overview

We are a non-profit association based in Switzerland and focus on the collection and recycling of plastic waste in Kenya. Together with the local population, we want to build houses from the plastic and thus offer not only shelter, but also jobs and employment.

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44%
44.733 CHF
of 100.000 CHF
45
days
of 90 days left
256
Boosters
supported project
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
Shelterplast

Funding goals

  1. Stage 1:

    40.000 CHF

    100% funded

    The amount of CHF 40'000 enables us to further develop the houses according to a modular construction system including prototypes.

  2. Stage 2:

    75.000 CHF

    13% funded

    With the additional amount of CHF 35,000, we can already rent suitable storage space for the collected plastic waste and purchase our own container for this purpose. In addition, smaller collection stations can be set up for the population in the village.

  3. Finish Stage:

    100.000 CHF

    0% funded

    With the remaining CHF 25,000 we can already produce and build the first two houses for families. After deducting all the salaries of our helpers in Kenya, there is even a small amount left over to print advertising material such as flyers and posters.

For years, Kenya has been confronted with excessive plastic waste. Only about 30 per cent of it is actually recycled. With the plastic bag ban in 2017, Kenya dared to take the first step towards a clean future. Nevertheless, thousands of tonnes of plastic waste still dominate the landscape in coastal regions and inland. Whether it is washed-up fishing nets, plastic bottles, bottle lids, children's toys or packaging material is irrelevant. The fact is that about nine million tonnes of it end up in the oceans every year.

In addition, many Kenyans struggle to survive from day to day due to lack of or inadequate employment with fair wages. Kenya's World Hunger Index 2020 of 23.7 confirms this. This puts Kenya in 84th place out of a total of 107 countries, with around 36% of the population living below the poverty line. That is about 20% more than in Switzerland.
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
Together with the villagers in Msumarini, we want to collect and recycle plastic waste and use it to build safe shelters. In doing so, we not only contribute to the environment, but also create education, jobs and employment.
Together with the residents of Msumarini, we want to free the surrounding nature from plastic waste. For this purpose, we will carry out collection campaigns at regular intervals, divided into teams. The waste should not only be collected, but also professionally sorted. For this purpose, the necessary infrastructure for a professional disposal point in the village centre has to be created.

An important part of the process is the transfer of knowledge. We want to show the residents why the proper disposal of plastic is so important and why the waste should not be burnt in the open. Due to a lack of disposal options, plastic is burnt in gardens today. The resulting aerosols enter the respiratory tract and cause illness. We would like to counteract these health-endangering consequences in a preventive way.
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
In close contact with our production partner Andreas from Smart Wood Solution, we are working on the development of suitable building blocks and profiles. In doing so, we make sure to use only as many additives as necessary. Nevertheless, the material must meet certain criteria, such as weather resistance, UV resistance and salt resistance. Integrated plug-in modules are designed to facilitate the construction of the house and reduce the need for additional materials.
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
In our opinion, all people in this world have a right to protection and security. We associate this with a safe home for all. Together with the residents of Msumarini, we would like to build a shelter for the families from the building blocks and thus enable them to build a foundation for further expanding and furnishing their own home. The efforts of the helpers that go along with this are to be recognised through fair remuneration. In this way, we not only provide accommodation, but also create jobs and employment.
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
Driving on the road from Mtwapa to Kilifi for the first time, one hardly suspects human civilisation in the green thicket of trees, bushes and palm trees to the right of the road, yet the green wall is only a narrow strip and behind it opens up wide country with fields, palm trees and villages all the way to the beach. Msumarini is one such village. It belongs to Kikambala, Kilifi County. Most of the people here are members of the Chonyi tribe. The village centre is formed by a shop and some houses. When you move away from it, it becomes visible that the houses and huts are spread over a large area and hide behind palm trees, trees, bushes and hedges.

The village makes a sleepy impression. Only barefoot pre-school children in shirts play in front of the houses made of mud and coral stone on the natural street. Those who have a job away from home are up long ago and have left the village on foot or by motorbike; shepherds have driven the cattle to pasture early in the morning. Those who have stayed behind do the household chores, gradually set off to work in the fields or go to the beach to fish or look for shells on the coral reef. Much later, vegetables and fruits are offered on stalls in front of individual houses and huts.

In the afternoon, children and later also teenagers come home from school in droves. They wear school uniforms - in bright colours the primary school children, in shades of grey or blue the young people from the secondary school. In the late afternoon, when those who have been out also return, the village is lively. People sit in front of their huts and houses, men sit in the mnasi den and drink palm wine. Fine fragrances permeate the whole village. Cooking is going on in front of the huts. Fried cassava or potato pieces with hot spices, beans and chapati, fish, roasted corn on the cob or boiled maize are offered. Children play and run and tussle. You see games and toys here like you haven't seen in Europe for decades: tyre beating and rubber mitts.

On the natural road that leads from the main road to the village, further towards the beach, you pass a huge wasteland. It is the legacy of a foreign investor. Nothing has been done here for years. You reach the beach through the area of the former magnificent Paradise Hotel. Although individual parts of the building have been used again and again in recent years, the hotel is no longer in operation and is only a puny remnant of the once extensive complex. Until 2002, the hotel had been the largest employer in Msumarini and the tourists had brought foreign currency into the local economy.

The beach is mostly empty on weekdays - except for a few truants and two or three women cleaning fish and a few stray dogs. Rarely do you see tourists. The boys look for something useful in the plastic waste that washes up. The plastic does not only come from the sea, but also from rubbish left on the beach and then washed away or thrown into the sea at high tide. Litter is waste that is dropped. On the beach, on the street, in the field, where you are standing.

At sunset, I usually sit down with the men at the mango tree. This is on the western edge of the village. You have a good view of the football field and inland, where the sun sets fire-red behind the hills. To end the evening here and drink palm wine is a good way for me to get in touch with the men. Not all of them speak English - and I don't speak it very well - but the palm wine makes you happy...

Here, people speak mainly Swahili or Kichonyi. Those who didn't go to school don't speak English. Most of the waitresses don't speak English. I speak Swahili when I order mnasi. I know that much. Chibonge speaks fluent German. And Matano speaks Hebrew! Matano rarely has money. When he thinks I'm in Msumarini, he shows up here. He knows I'll pay him for a bottle. Matano was first a gardener in Paradise, and because he learned Hebrew so quickly in contact with the tourists, he soon became a tourist guide. Since then, you don't get very far in Msumarini with Hebrew.
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
Shelterplast
Olten, CH

We are a non-profit association based in Switzerland and focus on the collection and recycling of plastic waste in Kenya. Together with the local population, we build houses out of it and thus provide not only shelter, but also jobs and employment.

Laura Knecht
Laura Knecht
Olten, CH
President of the association and Co-Founder

The reconciliation of ecological, economic and social aspects has been on my mind for a few years now, both in my private life and in my educational and professional career.

I became aware of the importance of fairly paid work, access to education and environmentally sound waste management during various trips to South America and East Africa. Particularly in rural and coastal areas, I repeatedly encountered population groups that were unable to benefit from any or only minimal of the aforementioned privileges. This gave me the incentive to offer precisely these opportunities to less fortunate people.

After visiting the village of Msumarini in Kenya, my sympathy for the people living there and my curiosity about their cultural customs and traditions increased.

In connection with this project, I am now pursuing an affair of the heart.

Stephan Baschung
Stephan Baschung
Olten, CH
Project Manager House Building Kenya and Co-Founder

I am a service technician and have been travelling the world for my company for three years. In many places I have seen how valuable raw materials are not or only partially recycled. When I visited my father in Kenya in summer 2019 and saw the plastic problem on the ground with my own eyes, it made me think. The same thought kept coming back to me, "What can be done to solve this problem?"

A few months later, on a boring car ride with Laura, the idea came to us. In Kenya, there is too much plastic waste that the inhabitants and residents can't do anything with, too little work and very poor accommodation in many places. "Let's take the plastic out of nature, create jobs and use it to build better housing for the poorest in society!" That a few weeks later we would actually muster the courage to go a step further and take on the solution was not something we had planned at the time.

But now we have found a suitable production partner and can finally start planning for the first show house. As the project manager for the house construction, I am enormously pleased when we can finally raise the necessary capital and devote ourselves to the construction in Msumarini.

Zuena Baschung-Fondo
Zuena Baschung-Fondo
Olten, CH
Communications Officer Kenya and Co-Founder

My name is Zuena Baschung-Fondo. I grew up in Mombasa, Kenya. I am married and the mother of a thirteen-year-old daughter. I have lived in Switzerland for seventeen years.

In my childhood there was very little plastic and recycling was part of our everyday life. I remember trading old clothes for shoes. You got a Kenyan shilling for a soda bottle. Aluminium cans were made into oil lamps and bottle tops into musical instruments. We always took a bag made of sisal or palm leaves to go shopping. My village was clean and tidy then.

Nowadays, it is impossible to imagine our everyday life without plastic. I see plastic on the ground everywhere. Be it while walking on the beach or in the vegetable field. Even animals that we consume later eat plastic. When I swim in the sea, plastic comes towards me.

Our village Msumarini, where my family and I live, is green, the air is clean and fresh. People in the village live simply - according to their tradition and culture. I want to make my fellow villagers aware that we need much less of the harmful plastic and that we can recycle the little we need.

Benedikt Baschung
Benedikt Baschung
Olten, CH
Actuary and Co-Founder

I am a father of four, a secondary school teacher and have been dreaming of Africa since I was a child. I had to be 43 years old before I came to Africa for the first time. Meanwhile, I spend a few weeks every year in Msumarini, Kenya. The people here call me Chengo. I see how they live in this small village on the Indian Ocean. I experience paradisiacal beauties and abysmal contradictions here.

I see myself as part of Msumarini. Not only when I shop here in the Duka or with the farmers and fishermen of the village, or when I drink palm wine with the men of the village in the evening. I want to contribute something that is good for the village and its inhabitants.

Stephan and Laura, my son and his girlfriend, develop an idea during a stay in Msumarini: recycle plastic into building material and use it to build simple houses. This gives the people here work and a roof over their heads and counteracts plastic pollution. This is how dreams become projects. And now it's time for implementation.

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Popular goodies

Shelterplast

CHF 60

Choba Choba Chocolate Bar

unlimited availability

CHF 100

Wooden key ring from Kenya (Handmade)

271x available

Shelterplast

CHF 40

Plant a tree

unlimited availability

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Category Environment
Location Mombasa