Meet the Unlimited: Calvin Shikuku

"Having been raised through difficulty in Mathare, I became determined to become a change maker because no one should live without the most basic needs such as food, water, healthcare, and education."

Calvin Shikuku
Calvin-Shikuku
Generation Unlimited
29 June 2021

My name is Calvin Shikuku, a youth advocate from Mathare which is one of Kenya’s largest informal settlements. I am an enthusiast of mobile journalism which I got from my passion to deal with some of the challenges my community was facing.

Having been raised through difficulty in Mathare, I became determined to become a change maker because I realized that it was not okay to live without the most basic needs such as food, water, healthcare, and education. As I was making videos through my mobile phone, I came across many stories, some very heartbreaking. These stories inspired me to dare to dream, which led me to apply and participate in the Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge.

My daring to dream gave birth to the Green Project Initiative that is now one of the proud winners of Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge 2.0. At GPI, we provide renewable energy from waste material available in the community. In a big way, it has helped rally young people from Mathare to start taking part in the SDGs. My engagement with Gen U has been very exciting because I gained many important skills. Winning the youth challenge has sparked a network of environmentally conscious young people, who pride in the name Generation Shapers and who believe that they can play a part in making sure the next generation’s future is secured.

My dream going forward is to help other young people with their ideas. I want to show them that it is possible to succeed. It doesn’t matter how many obstacles you will have to overcome to succeed. If you truly believe in your dreams, they will always materialize, but you have to take the first bold step and be ready to soldier on no matter what.

Two young boys  (Calvin shown in the left hand sight) in GenU T-shirts posing for a picture in an informal settlement in Kenya

The world is at a critical moment right now. The pandemic has reaffirmed the need to do things differently in solving the issues facing humanity. By investing in the youth through public-private partnerships, we are building a critical force for bringing lasting change. We may be at a disadvantage position with soring population leading to massive unemployment amidst dwindling resources. However, the large number of young people can be harnessed to create a movement of change-makers.

As young people, we must capitalize on the strength and creativity that they have to tackle some of the world’s most pressing needs of our time. Doing this will ensure the survival of future generations. We must make our life more interesting and sustainable because this is our time, our turn, our future.