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Kenyan startup uses VR to teach about pollution

Kenyan startup Ukwenza VR is using virtual reality technology to improve young people’s understanding of environmental challenges such as plastic pollution and climate change.

Despite the efforts of governments, organizations, and the private sector, the utilization of technology in most African countries is still expensive.

Digital devices like laptops and tablets continue to be accessible mainly to privileged students, predominantly in private schools. Despite the global advancements in educational technology, millions of children from poor backgrounds are unable to grasp the full reality of the effects of climate change.

The startup’s immersive experience begins with students donning state-of-the-art virtual reality headsets, transporting them to realistic digital simulations of environments affected by plastic pollution and climate change.

Ukwenza VR majorly focuses on schools from low-income areas who are unable to access such digital opportunities. These underprivileged areas are the most affected by plastic pollution and accumulated sewage and garbage.

Through the meticulous creation of visuals and interactive elements, students are empowered to immerse themselves in these environments, leading to a profound and instinctive response that conventional classroom learning frequently falls short of achieving.

One of the major focus areas of Ukwenza VR is educating students about the detrimental effects of plastic pollution on Kenya’s ecosystems.

Through the VR experience, students witness virtual representations of polluted water bodies, littered streets and devastated habitats in Kenya and beyond. They are exposed to the impact of plastic waste on marine life, land animals, and human health. By immersing students in these virtual scenarios, Ukwenza VR fosters empathy and encourages a sense of responsibility, motivating them to take action in their daily lives.

In addition to plastic pollution, Ukwenza VR also cautions on the grave consequences of climate change.

The VR experience takes students on a journey through diverse virtual landscapes, allowing them to witness firsthand the devastating effects of rising temperatures, deforestation, and extreme weather events. Through simulation of heat waves, droughts, and floods, the startup helps students and teachers comprehend the urgency and the involvement of climate-related challenges.

Ukwenza VR not only educates students but also empowers them to become environmental advocates.

Following each virtual reality session, the startup facilitates discussions and workshops where students share their thoughts, ideas and proposed solutions to combat plastic pollution and climate change. This collaborative approach fosters critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity, equipping students with the tools necessary to address these global issues.

To further enhance its impact, Ukwenza VR actively collaborates with schools all over Kenya, environmental organizations, and government agencies.

Through partnerships, the organization ensures that its VR program reaches a broader audience and integrates seamlessly into the existing education framework. These collaborations also enable the sharing of resources and knowledge, driving the collective effort towards a sustainable future.

While the startup has garnered significant success, there are numerous challenges in its mission to educate students on environmental pollution.

However, the organization continues to seek innovative solutions, such as mobile VR setups and securing funding from public and private sources, to make this immersive learning experience accessible to all Kenyan students and expand to other East African nations.

As the edtech startup expands its reach and collaborates with stakeholders, it continues to create a generation of environmentally conscious individuals equipped to address the pressing challenges of the future.

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