In August 2013 Alex Mativo, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kenya, began to notice that several industries were dumping electronic waste in the area he lived. As a result of the pollutants released when waste was disposed of incorrectly, life expectancy in the area was reduced and health complications were common.
“I began looking into ways to transform this hazardous waste,” said Alex. These efforts led him to explore one of his talents: art. “Art has always been my way of expressing myself to my peers,” he said. “I found out I could do some things with my abilities.”
“I founded E-Lab because I believed that of all the unchangeable things in the world, our biological nature requires clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy,” said Alex. “Protecting the planet should be our highest priority or else we sicken and die.”
Alex says that E-Lab has helped to rethink the way products are created in developing countries. To reach this goal, they worked with artists to incorporate an ‘African heritage’ into the products.
Over the last year “E-Lab has had a tremendous impact,” said Alex. The company has grown from a start-up to being fully operational within one year, mopping up 2000 tons of electronic waste from Kenyan households, dumpsites and industries in the process.
On 24 June 24 the Queen of England presented Alex with the Young Leaders Award at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. In the ceremony, Alex and others under the age of 30 were recognized for taking steps towards transforming their communities.
Alex Mativo’s efforts to use his talents to build communities in Africa is a powerful example of magnifying the talents we are blessed with.
The Gospel Principles manual instructs us that “the Lord is pleased when we use our talents wisely. He will bless us if we use our talents to benefit other people and to build up His kingdom here on earth. Some of the blessings we gain are joy and love from serving our brothers and sisters here on earth.”