Her innovative technology will easily have a global impact.

Nzambi Matee (Kenya) is a materials engineer. She used her experience and knowledge to create Gjenge Makers, which "produces sustainable low-cost construction materials made of recycled plastic waste and sand."

At this stage, Nzambi and Gjenge Makers are creating building bricks that are stronger than concrete, and lighter, too. The weight reduction reduces the work and cost of transporting materials across Kenya and Africa. This innovative technology easily has a global impact.

Nzambi is inspiring as she shares her accomplishments and motivation to continue. She challenges everyone to "be true to your 'why." She challenges us to ask why we are doing what we are doing.

“We must rethink how we manufacture industrial products and deal with them at the end of their useful life,” said Soraya Smaoun, who specializes in industrial production techniques with UNEP. “Nzambi Matee’s innovation in the construction sector highlights the economic and environmental opportunities when we move from a linear economy, where products, once used, are discarded, to a circular one, where products and materials continue in the system for as long as possible," said Nzambi.

The United Nations Environment Program created the Young Champions of the Earth prize "to engage youth in tackling the world's most pressing environmental challenges." In 2020, there were seven winners awarded funding and mentorship to support their environmental initiative. Since the first Young Champions of the Earth prize in 2017, there have been 28 young world-changers who have been honored around the world. 

Read more about Nzambi and her prize-winning accomplishments.

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