Mr. Sam Vidambu pauses for a photo with an award at KICC in Nairobi. PHOTO/COURTESY
“If we don’t tackle climate crisis, it will soon cost our economy trillions of dollars and endanger our national security, richness, health and future“. That’s where our interview began.
Sam Vidambu is a multiple award-winning social entrepreneur, young climate activist, renewable energy innovator, youths advocate, motivational speaker and Founder and CEO of Ambigen, a company that reduces deforestation by putting a sustainable alternative to the tree-based charcoal.
Climate action is one decision that changed Vidambu’s entire life and it was a long journey to get where he is right now.
After winning the 254 Youth Entrepreneurship Awards in the category of Social Entrepreneurship last week at KICC, Nairobi, I approached Vidambu to tell me how he ended up a climate activist.
After finishing high school, Vidambu explains, he went back home to his rural home in Kakamega county and because the area is full of forests high rate of unemployment, most Form Four leavers were doing charcoal burning to earn a living.
This was directly affecting the environment because most were cutting down trees without replacement. Vidambu saw that was a problem that needed to be solved.
He decided to design a way of solving the vise. No sooner had he formulated his design than he was called to campus in Central Kenya. He was a little unhappy because he had not finished his mission at home to find a good way of renewable energy to reduce cutting down of trees.
Little did he know that joining university at that time was a blessing in disguise.
At the university, Vidambu, Vidambu joined many organizations and school based clubs e.g Environmental Club, Wildlife Club and Tourism Club which exposed him to effective ways to conserve the environment.
He also attended many seminars which increased his knowledge on matters climate.
After finishing university, Vidambu founded a company called Ambigen.
They decided to supply briquettes to reduce green house gas emissions. He had to learn how to talk to people, he struggled and got the necessary skills to help him continue with his mission of making the world a better place.
Within months, he had learnt how to organize events, gather youths and educate them about climate change.
It was not easy – he had to spend hours a day on social media to advertise his talks to attract larger audience to his events.
He had to spend hundred of thousands of shillings on buying seedlings for tree planting exercises, transport and facilitation.
This word Climate
Climate change has been a topic of discussion for many years and in many forums, both local and global.
Many steps have been taken by various agencies to reduce the impact of climate crisis.
With worsening droughts, species extinction, wild fires, flash floods, rising sealevels, tropical cyclones, soil erosion, climate change is an area of concern.
Vidambu, through his company, provides sustainable energy for his community reusing charcoal waste, charcoal dust, sawdust, wood chips, and paper dust.
He says that some of the advantages of this energy is, it reduces dependency on firewood, has high burning efficiency, deforestation, creates employment for young people hence reducing poverty levels as it’s cheaper and also has no sulphur whose effects are dangerous on health.
Understanding that many of the developing countries provide large quantities of agroresidue, Vidambu has sought to reduce the effects that might be caused by the same.
When I asked him about what he thinks is the importance of tree planting, Vidambu, boldly, says “Research has proved that worldwide tree planting exercise could remove 2/3 of all the emissions that have been released to the atmosphere as a result of human related activities”.
“The current trend of rising greenhouse gases from from forest destruction can be brought down to zero”. He continued.
But does his company follow certain policies in distribution of seedlings Vidambu says that tree planting is a solution that does not require any scientific formula to reduce carbon dioxide out of the air. It is the cheapest and most effective hence everyone can do it, he says.
Having participated in many youth platforms talking about matters climate, Vidambu has taken part in many TV interviews and radio programs sharing his ideas on how to make the world a better place.
Having also attended many seminars on climate change and social entrepreneurship e.g poverty eradication, Vidambu is a real hero of climate action who’s impact is not just enjoyed by present generation but also the future generation.
Vidambu explains that he holds many open forums with youths, teaching them about importance of tree planting, Innovative ways to reduce green house gas emission, partnering with other non-governmental organizations in climate research, helping in funding climate projects, financing social entrepreneurs who have ideas to tackle climate crisis, teaching importance of blue energy, ways of poverty eradication, hunger reduction and promoting peace and justice.
Vidambu has visited hundreds of schools and tertiary institutions teaching young people their roles in climate action and how they can make the world a better place.
For committing himself to address climate crisis and proving leadership and solutions to the community – a fate that has made him get multiple awards in various platforms – the latest being the 254 Youth Entrepreneurship Awards in the category of Social Entrepreneurship, Vidambu is a young leader of climate action whom all the youths should emulate.