Black Earth Podcast

In Season 3 of Black Earth Podcast, we are meeting visionary black women creating innovations inspired by nature.

In this episode we meet Tinuke Chineme. Tinuke is an inspiring scientist and innovator based in Calgary, Canada. 

She is working with black soldier flies and African Indigenous Female Entrepreneurs to develop a new economic model that transforms organic waste into wealth.

Join us for this enriching conversation as we learn how to create economies that promote dignity, wellbeing and sustainability for people and our living planet.

Connect with Black Earth Podcast
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Connect with Tinuke via LinkedIn - Tinuke Chineme 

Episode time stamps

00:00 Introduction

01:18 - Where is home? Unravelling ties between territories and identity 

05:19 - Tinuke’s relationship with nature 

08:57 - What led Tinuke to her work as a scientist and innovator on waste

13:07- Tinuke explains her biowaste innovation 

22:39 - Connecting waste and environmental justice in black communities 

28:54 - How waste is defined in Yoruba culture and Indigenous cultures

32:59 - Zero waste is a part of African cultures

33:57- How nature sees waste 

40:00  Why our dominant economic system is unnatural 

41:53 -  Introducing an economic model fit for the future  

47:55 - The difference between the dominant economic model and a social circular economy 

51:00 - Why it’s important to talk about the purpose of an economy

56:08 - The power of African Indigenous Female Entrepreneurs 

01:06:00 - What animal welfare looks like in life-giving economies 

01:11:43 - How to support Tinuke 

Creators & Guests

Marion Atieno Osieyo
Creator and Host of Black Earth Podcast

What is Black Earth Podcast ?

Black Earth is an interview podcast celebrating nature and black women leaders in the environmental movement. Join us for inspiring, informed and authentic conversations on how we can make a positive impact for people and nature worldwide.

Episodes out every Wednesday. Connect with us online @blackearthpodcast on Instagram, LinkedIn and Tiktok.

Hosted by Marion Atieno Osieyo. Healing our relationship with nature, one conversation at a time.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: [00:00:00] Welcome to Black Earth Podcast. I'm your host, Marion Atieno Osieyo. In season three, we're meeting visionary Black women who are creating innovations inspired by nature. In this episode, we meet Tinuke Chineme.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Tinuke is an inspiring scientist and innovator based in Calgary, Canada. She's working with black soldier flies and African indigenous female entrepreneurs to design a new economic model that transforms organic waste into wealth.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Join us for this enriching conversation as we learn how to create economies that promote dignity, wellbeing, and sustainability for people and our living planet.[00:01:00]

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Hi, Tinuke. Thank you so much for joining us today. Um, could you please introduce yourself to our listener community?

Tinuke Chineme: Well, absolutely. Thank you. First of all, so much for having me here. Um, it's pretty exciting, the work you're doing and the fact that I get to share abit about what I am doing. Um, so yes, my name is Tinuke Chineme.

Tinuke Chineme: I am PhD candidate at the University of Calgary, uh, which is located in Alberta, Canada. Um, my research, uh, uh, Is about developing innovative solutions to, uh, waste management, particularly in low income countries. And I tend, I am focusing it mainly on, uh, the women. Women who are impacted, uh, by poor waste management, um, practices.

Tinuke Chineme: And, uh, the The beautiful thing about the project is [00:02:00] that not only does it cater to, uh, the, uh, the overarching problem of waste management, it also, uh, tackles, uh, food insecurity, food security, as well as sustainability and, uh, climate change, uh, mitigation.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Amazing. Um, and so you're, you're currently in Calgary.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Uh, where is, uh, Where is home home?

Tinuke Chineme: That's a very interesting question. So um, it's, it was actually, and I know this conversation is probably going into a different aspect. It was, um, home home is really where I am because, uh, My life has been a very interesting one. I love to travel. My parents have always loved to travel as well.

Tinuke Chineme: And so I was actually born in Germany, raised there for some years. We moved between Germany and the UK, and then I moved to Nigeria. And then I thought I was home because I was, I [00:03:00] was back then with people who look like me, but it wasn't quite the way I thought it was going to work out. But I, I, um, I went to school in Nigeria, grew up there, spent quite a number of years there, graduated from university.

Tinuke Chineme: And then I started moving around again, uh, this time with my spouse, we moved, uh, to, I was Norway, Denmark, uh, did a bit of traveling, Angola, uh, then moved down to, uh, Italy, and finally we relocated to Calgary, Canada. So home is really wherever it is I, am

Marion Atieno Osieyo: That is a really beautiful reflection. Um, and I think Many of us can resonate with that.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, you know, home is where you find belonging. Um, and that can look, uh, differently. It is different for many people. and it's changes as you change as a person. Um, so yeah, I'm just, thank you for sharing that.

Tinuke Chineme: No, no, no. And I just want to add that, yes, [00:04:00] especially with globalization, you know, um, it's just me, it's so much so that those lines that were drawn for territories between territories and between ethnicities and culture, it's just, blurring so much so it's really hard to put people in the box.

Tinuke Chineme: And so that's one of the reasons why I try not to, because, uh, people are a mix of everything.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: For sure. That, that really resonates with me also, um, because I have grown up and spent a You know, a lot of my time having a very strong identity and connection to my Kenyan heritage, and it still is very much something that I feel very connected to.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: But also as my love for nature has grown, um, I feel more connected. Home for me is belonging to the earth, and that is more than a specific geography or a territory. It's, it's a [00:05:00] relationship. Um, and that takes place between me and earth as I interact with earth every day. So home for me is earth and that looks and feels differently on a day to day basis.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, but yeah, so moving on and on from that, how would you describe your relationship with nature?

Tinuke Chineme: Well, um, I, I would describe it with, um, with the words curiosity and appreciative. And so the truth is, um, I am completely and totally appreciative of our natural, um, environment. Um, but. Because every day that you look out, there's something new to learn.

Tinuke Chineme: And then you truly begin to appreciate, uh, um, the vast scale of the world we live in that it's so much bigger than. And the individual or even bigger than the collections of individuals. And so there's [00:06:00] always something to learn, you know, and there's so many schools around here in Calgary and it's amazing to just watch them and see the personalities they have and see how they interact with the birds and see how they interacts with the, with the, with the, um, with the trees, with the flowers.

Tinuke Chineme: And so, yeah, it's just appreciative and completely curious. You know, there's always something new to learn. I worked with the black soldier flies and just watching how they and all the other microorganisms, even the ones you can't see, how they change things and make them from something that's completely irrelevant or we consider as waste and should be discarded.

Tinuke Chineme: They turn it into something that's so precious and valuable.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much to Tinuke for sharing that. Um, and yeah, biowaste is going to be, uh, a big feature of our conversation and they'll be featuring the Black Soldier flies whom you work with, [00:07:00] um, very closely. So I, I think when I, when I thought of season three, which is innovation inspired by nature.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: I definitely wanted to talk about and explore how, um, kind of the principles of nature, how nature designs things, how nature creates life, um, how it can be applied, how we can apply that to our life to create more life giving cultures. And I thought of the economy, um, just because it's something that it's, affects all aspects of our lives and is also one of the spheres of, um, our human life that needs to change, um, if we're really serious about addressing the climate crisis and nature loss. Um, but I didn't just want to talk about the economy. I wanted to think like, okay, [00:08:00] are there economic models that are inspired by nature and nature's principles of life? that also center the dignity of, um, African women, um, that also work in harmony and solidarity with other species.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: And I honestly thought I would never find this. Well, actually, I didn't think that, but I actually was like, I, I don't know how this is possible. And then you appeared and that taught me a very crucial lesson. Everything that you imagine exists. Okay. It exists. So I was like, I was actually blown away. Um, so I've been so excited to speak with you just about the work that you're doing.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, but before we get into that, I'm just really curious to find out more about your journey and what led you into this space as a scientist innovator, uh, working on, on waste? [00:09:00]

Tinuke Chineme: Well, I guess it was a good thing that I introduced, um, or you asked the question about, uh, where home was, because that, uh, gives a bit of perspective on how I consider my place and, um, how I view, I mean, what led to this particular research.

Tinuke Chineme: And so, um, as an African woman who did grow up in Nigeria and spent quite a number of years there. Um, I could see, um, how patriarchy had impacts, uh, impacted women. And I really wanted to do something for, you know, to help other women to, to get, to hopefully improve their situations. And, um, you touched on something very interesting about the economy and how that impacts things.

Tinuke Chineme: And so I, I had that idea from the beginning that, you know, if you can improve economic situations for women, then chances are you can [00:10:00] also thus empower them, give them freedoms and allow them to explore things that, um, previously were limited to not considering, but just because they have some source of income, alternate source of income, and they, they're financially independent, then that could open up doors to the self discovery as well as discovery of any other thing, as well as, um, um, given them um, education and everything else that they want, but not just for themselves, but also for their family. And so with that idea, I went into this, um, into this, uh, research of, okay, how can we curtail the waste issues that we see, particularly in low income communities where waste is not collected. And with that, I was looking for simple technologies, simple systems that could be decentralized.

Tinuke Chineme: And so what that means is really, you don't need to have a [00:11:00] government, so you don't need to have big organizations coming into communities to collect the waste, because the beginning of the problem in these low income situations is the fact that waste is not collected. And so if waste is not collected, how can they people that live in the community manage to waste themselves. And so I entered the black soldier fly with some research that came across that. And then, um, the system is pretty, um, popular in, um, developed countries, but, um, because the lava from the black soldier fly is actually used as, as protein, there's insect based protein that is used in the, um, in the pet industry.

Tinuke Chineme: But with that means there's an economic advantage from these flies that can actually convert waste into protein, and then they leave behind a compost like material, which we can call biofertilizer because it is organic fertilizer. That's really rich. And, um, It's basically like when you think about it, it's, um, [00:12:00] waste materials, say for instance, fruits and vegetables coming from the earth grown, and then it's wasted.

Tinuke Chineme: You don't need it anymore. Then these flies come in, they break it down so they can become a rich, um, source of nitrogen, phosphorus, you put back onto the, onto the ground and use it to grow more crops. And so it just closed that loop that way. And so it is environmentally friendly. I thought it was so I had to do some research, do, um, some, uh, tests and analysis to confirm that is environmentally, um, uh, friendly.

Tinuke Chineme: And then, um, socially that was the question. What was it? Was it going to, would the system and putting it into, um, a community, will it be, uh, socially, uh, cohesive? Will it improve the uh, living conditions of the women? And then will it also be economically, um, viable? And so those were the questions I wanted to ask and have answered around the [00:13:00] research.

Tinuke Chineme: And so that's how everything is tied in together.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: That's amazing. Um, so yeah, tell us, tell us more about. Um, tell us more about the, the bio waste model that you've been working on and co creating because there's some really unique elements to, to it as well. Like, as you've just mentioned, um, working with black soldier flies, um, for waste management as, you know, insect protein, that's quite popular and it's actually increasing, um, globally, but, um, what you're working on is, is novel.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: And I think it's actually. very future focused, very futuristic in a number of ways. But yeah. So tell us more about, yeah, the work you're doing.

Tinuke Chineme: Okay. So, yeah. Um, so the model that I was pursuing was, there's a theory that I had initially and It was really the [00:14:00] fact that, um, having advanced technologies does not solve everything.

Tinuke Chineme: It does not solve the problem in every situation. And I could, um, with a little bit of digging, it was pretty obvious that, um, some type of waste management technologies that have been directly imported from the global, uh, um, north to the global south, where many times abandoned, um, or left discarded just because, um, either knowledge transfer or the expertise was lacking or even maintenance of these, uh, systems was not happening.

Tinuke Chineme: And so in my mind, I had to look for a way of using the same Black Soldier Fly technology that is being used in the Global North, but develop a way where it could, um, be simple for the community that will be using it. And at the same time, Not too laborious because these, I mean, like not heavy duty kind of work because these are [00:15:00] still supposed to be, uh, systems that are benefiting women, so there had to be a balance there.

Tinuke Chineme: And so, um, initially, um, going through just the research and trying to find out how do I make sure that this is not a, uh, a top down. I'm not using the top down approach, but more of a collaborative approach and not just with words, but just actually with actions. And so I had to design the research so that it was in three phases.

Tinuke Chineme: And so there was a pre design phase and then this pre design phase was actually following a strategy that's called co production, which is closely related with co creation. And so it was, There's a pre design phase, and then the middle is a co design phase, and at the end there is a post design phase.

Tinuke Chineme: And so the pre design is really just going through literature, seeing what others are doing, trying to model something after what everyone, what you've learned. And then the co design is where you [00:16:00] take what you have, you know, okay, now you're knowledgeable about it. You take it to the community of in question, and then you actually sit down with them, describe what you, what you're trying to do.

Tinuke Chineme: And then the amazing thing happens there, because even though they had no idea about the technology, they begin to look at it with, through their own lens. And they begin to come up with recommendations of, now maybe we should change this, or we should do this, or we should do that.

Tinuke Chineme: And then before you know it, there's a difference that occurs between what you came in with and what actually happens when you co design. And so the post design phase is now where you look back at your original plan, your original design or original plan, and then compare it to what happened when you implemented it and talked to them and redesigned it.

Tinuke Chineme: And then you see where the innovation is. And so in terms of this, project, it was really, uh, just looking back now at the, with the post design, I could see very [00:17:00] clearly that initially my plan was, yes, I was just going to scale down what is done here in the advanced, uh, in the, um, developed, uh, world, scale it down to use little energy and not, not a lot of water because we wanted to make it, uh, very few inputs into the system, because with inputs, that's, uh, more, uh, capital that has to be spent or more resources that the people have to source.

Tinuke Chineme: So this one's making minimal. And also the more important thing is the minimal inputs is minimal environmental impacts, because if you're using less water, using less energy, then you're doing you're leaving very little impact, um, on the environment, um, as a consequence. And so we wanted, I wanted to have it that way.

Tinuke Chineme: And so I scaled down the design to make sure that, um, you know, it didn't have a lot of water or a lot of energy input, but by the time we designed the system, what we came up with was something completely different. And it [00:18:00] was an open, system, which you actually didn't need any energy on a day to day basis.

Tinuke Chineme: And you needed almost no water. We, we started with some water, but we quickly realized that we did not need any, um, just maybe to clean up and stuff occasionally. And then, um, even the process, you know, the process improvement was all coming from the women that were, that I was working with. And so with that, we realized that not only were we going with this circularity idea, whereas, uh, the fact that you actually taking bio waste, which is, yes, waste, uh, from nature, waste generated without our interaction with nature.

Tinuke Chineme: But then we, um, you, you transform it to something that can be, that contributes back to nature. And so not just, not just, um, our bio, uh, physical system, but. Even human beings, because you get the protein replacement, the women, for [00:19:00] instance, don't have to go to buy a commercial animal feed because now they can just get the protein directly from the waste that they're generating and then feed that to their livestock.

Tinuke Chineme: Because in the area, most women actually have, um, have, um, They're micro livestock holders, and they also have, they're also smallholder farms, uh, farmers. And so as a result, they, there's that benefits that they can actually, you know, treat the waste and have additional source of income, but also benefit themselves and their families as well. And so that's how it just covers the all aspects of sustainability, which is the social, the economic, as well as environmental, but also it's also, um, empowering them because they're learning and they're enjoying it. And then, um, and the, the thing that the one key takeaway that I learned is [00:20:00] that when you think you have, you know, Um, how things are going to benefit people or how it's going to be detrimental to people.

Tinuke Chineme: You actually don't know, you go in with some ideas, um, and then you learn so much from the people that you're talking to, you're working with, because the one big thing that they took away when they did all of this was, Oh, we could actually teach other women how to do this. We can host them, teach in training sessions.

Tinuke Chineme: And so to them, that was a big thing, which I had never even considered. And so, yeah, that's just how, uh, the research grew and grew.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: That's incredible. Um, thank you so much for sharing that. And whereabouts did you do the, the pilot, the co production? Sorry.

Tinuke Chineme: Yeah, so I should have actually mentioned that. So yeah, thanks for asking.

Tinuke Chineme: So this was in, uh, Dar es Salaam. Uh, it was a peri urban, um, community called Kipunguni, uh, with, um, with a group that is called Sauti Ajami [00:21:00] Kipanguni and what that means is in Swahili is 'Voice of the community' Kipanguni and their group that were formed because of the the gender issues that they saw in their community.

Tinuke Chineme: And it was mainly the FG, the female genital mutilation issue that they wanted, they started trying to fight. And with that, they realized just as I had realized that, we need to have a source of income to be able to, you know, fight for these women to represent them to share, spread the word about, you know, like women should not be forced into these practices.

Tinuke Chineme: It needs to stop. And so, um, with help of, uh, international organizations, as well as local organizations, they said, um, Tailoring sessions, uh, uh, working, um, as paralegals trying to build skills, um, so they could represent themselves, you know, uh, [00:22:00] legally and, um, yeah, one thing just grew to the other. And then they also got interested in, uh, this waste to wealth concept.

Tinuke Chineme: And I then got, uh, introduced with that, with them by partnering with, uh, AMWEF health, which is, which is an organization that looks out for the health of women in Dar es Salaam, uh, Tanzania.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So, uh, with, with the bio waste model, uh, waste is, is kind of almost the soil of this innovation, if you were to talk about it in other terms. Um, and [00:23:00] I think, uh, within kind of black communities around the world, um, when we're talking about environmental justice, uh, environmental racism, one of the issues that comes ,up in those discussions is, um, the idea of like waste and, uh, toxic waste in particular, and how there is a trend around the world and in many different countries of, um, black communities, communities of color, um, living geographically closer to, uh, toxic sites, dumping sites, in comparison to, to other, other communities.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: And so there is, already, um, an awareness that waste is not just kind of a physical entity, but there's kind of social and political elements to this idea of waste. Um, and I think the interesting thing about the bio waste [00:24:00] model is that it challenges, uh, our current, um, concepts or understanding of what waste is because in, in, in the dominant economic model, which is about, you know, extract, make, use. Uh, and then discard waste is an inefficiencies almost like once something has no value, um, it no longer becomes, it becomes a nuisance. It becomes something that needs to be discarded, right? Um, but then the bio waste model challenges that and introduces a different idea of, of waste. Um, and so I was curious to explore with you, yeah, this, this concept of waste not being and how that has shown up perhaps in other cultures or just in the work that you're doing currently.

Tinuke Chineme: Yeah, no, that's a very good, very insightful, um, uh, lead [00:25:00] up to the question that you gave there. You see, when I started this, um, this research, I personally, I'm interested in waste. I actually find it very curious and what we could do with it and you know, where it ends up and what future generations will see when they go excavating, you know, because that's how we have learned about history, right? All the just digging up different Pompeii, you know, um, there's so many of these places, especially in Greek and, you know, the Middle East, how, you know, we actually learn about Asian history just by going through their, their their sites, their waste, you know.

Tinuke Chineme: Um, so it's interesting to me to just ponder that sometimes. However, yes, there just does seem to be an injustice when it comes to, to waste. And there's a quote that I use many times. Uh, I think it was Jaya Singh that gave that quote and he says, waste flows in the least path of resistance.

Tinuke Chineme: And typically it's always into the poor neighborhoods. And so [00:26:00] that path of resistance flow is consistently seen. So whether it's a, uh, whether it's a developed country or an developing country, low income, low income communities will always have ways to be closer to them than higher income communities.

Tinuke Chineme: And it's just something that we consistently see. The brilliant thing about it though, is Many of those communities are very resilient. And so even in my time in Dar es Salaam, I could see like the discarded, the waste that has been shipped to some of these countries, like in Dar es Salaam, the electronic waste, you can see them taking it apart and trying to look for.

Tinuke Chineme: You know, um, trying to look for minerals, you know, the rare ones they could extract, or just look for something that they could get from this, from these, um, discarded, uh, electronic devices. And so that, that's a positive, right.

Tinuke Chineme: Um, but to answer your [00:27:00] question, um, initially when I started this, uh, research, I was really looking at what Having grown up in Nigeria, I was looking at, and I could see, it was very clear that, um, the culture did not, Basically frowned on, on wastage.

Tinuke Chineme: And so it was almost like waste nothing, everything can be reused and repurposed. And so, um, the tribe I grew up in, um, is Yoruba. And so my culture frowned on anything wasted. My parents would, they would say, They would, they could present, they will have a fit. So they see you with anything at all, especially free.

Tinuke Chineme: And so it's, it's common, you know, we understand it. You don't waste, you don't waste food. And so. I was curious when I started exploring this thing of how do we now solve [00:28:00] this waste issue because bio waste, believe it or not, is actually in the developed, globally, it's about 44%. It's a fraction of waste.

Tinuke Chineme: It's 44 percent of waste. Um, that is bio waste. And so I was thinking, we can actually deal with that on a global scale, then we're just left with, you know, something, something less that we can tackle in other ways. But the interesting thing is when you now begin to go to developing countries, that percentage actually increases.

Tinuke Chineme: It's now like between 50 and 80 percent of waste is organic waste that's generated local. And so then that's a low hanging fruit, right? We can deal with that waste. And guess what? we've solved most of the problem in, in these situations, you just left 20 percent in some situations. And so I was just thinking, how can we, how can we, um, then, you know, tackle it.

Tinuke Chineme: And then remembering my parents and my co and how I grew up and all of that, I started exploring this idea of indigenous cultures, indigenous practices, [00:29:00] local traditional practices. And so I was exploring that and it was curious to see that it was not something that was just limited to, um, African cultures.

Tinuke Chineme: Because, like, for instance, in Nigeria, idoti is really dust. It's something going back to dust, and that is waste. Idoti is a Yoruba word for dust and for waste, and it literally translates to something going back to the dust. And so that's how the culture saw waste. Like, it's not something that is, that is, uh, harmful to us.

Tinuke Chineme: It's something that we, that goes back into nature. And, uh, The next thing I saw in Russia also, in the, uh, in the indigenous Russian cultures, their word, their word, um, sorry, for waste is trata. And that trata translates to a weight, a material that's waiting to be reused. And so their culture also saw waste as a material waiting to be reused.

Tinuke Chineme: And so it's not waste. And then it's the same, even in Latin America too, just checking their indigenous cultures, a similar thing. And so I thought to myself, [00:30:00] because somewhere along the way we've missed it, you know, um, uh, with, uh, modernization and if you start treating waste as something that is apart from us, meanwhile, our, uh, our generations before us, They saw that something that was part of them, something that was, you know, part, and that's why they treated waste in a completely different way.

Tinuke Chineme: And so with new ideas, you know, uh, we've talked, um, you know, we've talked about, you mentioned it's like a circular economy and, you know, industrial ecology and cradle to cradle concepts. Yes, that, that idea of, you know, what waste is not something that should be discarded and, you know, put away, put into a landfill, fill it up and cover it up and, you know, don't do anything with it.

Tinuke Chineme: It's something that actually is a resource, you know, so just as, uh, uh, money is a resource, you know, time is a resource, waste is actually also a resource. And [00:31:00] so that idea Uh, I decided, you know, we could actually build on it and begin to see how we can explore it in this particular situation. Just going back to basics and how, you know, things have always been done.

Tinuke Chineme: I don't know. I hope I answered your question.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: You absolutely did. I'm just, I'm just thinking and just really reflecting on everything that you've shared. Um, what was powerful for me is how, you know, waste, uh, is also archival information. It's how we learn about uh, like histories, you know, ancestral histories, which I've never even thought of that, to be honest.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and then this, this, uh, idea of like the cultural idea of waste and how that varies very different from the modern or the current economic system that we, uh, is the most dominant in our world right now. Um, [00:32:00] the, the kind of the word for Idoti and yeah, this idea of waste as dust, as a resource. Um, and what was the Russian word that you mentioned?

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Trata. Trata. Yes. Trata. Um, and also just us, you know, we're two individuals with different life stories and how growing up the idea of waste was, you know, is like a moral you know, in both of, you know, our social communities where we are part of and The reason why I laughed also is because it's a visceral experience for me.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Like, when I think about how waste is perceived, I can just imagine like the frowning or just the shock, like, wow, you're going to dispose of this. It's like, are you, are you actually okay? Um, and I, I think it

Tinuke Chineme: was a taboo. Everything,

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Everything was [00:33:00] used. And It brings me to a conversation I had with an amazing, um, geographer from the UK.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Her name is Francesca Rocchi, um, and she developed, uh, a platform called Black Geographers. And when we were talking about this podcast as an idea, um, one of the things that she said to me was how she wanted to see more conversations about, Um, our cultural practices and sustainability that are rooted in kind of the black diaspora or African cultures.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: And one of the things that she raised was this idea of like zero waste. And she was saying like African parents are like, they're pioneers of zero waste, you know, like you are not wasting anything, everything will have value in this place. Um, and that was, that was a great insight in our conversation, but it also connects to that.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, what I also find [00:34:00] very insightful about, um, kind of what you learn about, um, indigenous concepts of waste and how waste is seen as a resource or something that has value, intrinsic value, is that it mirrors a lot of what I've learned about how nature sees waste. Um, so, you know, when you look at different ecosystems around the world, like when, you know, natural ecosystems.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Uh, one of the most common kind of patterns is that everything has value in a particular system or a biome. Like, um, there is nothing that can be kind of discarded outside the system. It serves the system. So what is waste to a particular animal or particular species is a resource for another species or another ecosystem, which very much connects to kind of the black soldier fly, you know, how it interacts with [00:35:00] organic waste, um, and then produces, um, protein, um, for animal feed.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and nature also kind of shows how, I guess, whenever you're interacting with another living being, just to put it in crude terms, there is opportunity to provide mutual benefits all the time. Um, so it's this kind of the value in interaction and what it produces, and there's opportunity for constant sharing of benefits.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and I think that's something quite profound in the sense that it introduces an idea of like relationship and relationality. So you are also thinking about how can we create mutual benefit through [00:36:00] our interactions. Um, and. There's something that we've touched on a little bit, but um, when I look at the idea of waste in nature, I think that the difference between kind of the cultural concepts of waste we've discussed, um, and the idea of waste in the dominant economic model, which is about, you know, create, use, and then throw away is that the goal of the dominant economic model that we live in is to continuously grow, continuously create and consume.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So growth is the ultimate goal. Um, and nature does not value growth for growth sake. It doesn't, it, because it values energy, it values materials so much. Growing for growing sake is like a threat because what if you just suddenly run out of things, then you're just gonna mess up everything. [00:37:00] So this idea of growing for growing sake is what produces so much of the, well not all of it, but it's, it's one of the main behaviors that we see in the economic model that we're operating it, that ends up with us having waste that is inefficient. Like it's just exists because there is no purpose for it because we've produced too much of something.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, whereas in nature, everything has a purpose and nature makes the most of what it has. It doesn't seek to just grow for growing sake. Um, so I, I find it interesting just like seeing, uh, commonalities between how nature perceives waste and how, um, the kind of indigenous and cultural perceptions of waste, uh, waste is value, you know? [00:38:00] Um, and that's exciting. I think that's very exciting.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, I love, I love having these conversations because they, there's so much of our world that we take to be fixed truths but actually they're socially created. Um, and if we seek to learn from each other and we seek to learn from nature, we actually understand that there's different ways. Of the different concepts that serve us more in terms of creating life or creating goodness in the world, if that makes sense. Mm. mm-Hmm?

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Mm-Hmm. .

Tinuke Chineme: Absolutely.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Yeah. Um, yeah. Thank you . You sparked me. It sparked my interest.

Tinuke Chineme: No, absolutely right. I mean, that notion of, um, uh, being cur curious. It's so key because, um, [00:39:00] you don't know all things. No one is the gatekeeper of all truth. And so you have to, you have to be open to learn. And that's one of the big reasons why a co creation, co production is so important.

Tinuke Chineme: And it's not just important for when you're interacting with, um, people of unequal powers, but it's even when it is equal power, because there's always something to learn from someone else's, uh, perspective. And yes, we learn from the past, uh, very, very important, even though we try, uh, we try to forget it.

Tinuke Chineme: We think it's all future, but we also learn from the past. So yeah, we all do have to be, um, um, lifelong learners. I mean, we have, we've heard that term before, but not just, um, using the phrase casually, but actually be eager to learn from people, from each other, from nature, you know, from your experiences, from the past, you know, it's, it's really important.

Tinuke Chineme: [00:40:00] That's how we grow. And I completely agree, agree with you about the growth for this. That really is, you know, those, those, um, Capitalist, um, notions that are completely unnatural are things that we do need to address. And that's another interest that I have taken because economic systems is what forms a lot of the policies, a lot of the cultural, um, norms, um, even, even the current traditions, you know, and practices of what we see around us. It is, um, economic systems that contribute to it. And so, yeah, just to, just to say, just the thoughts that, um, we just have to grow. It's just something that we have to do. It's, it's, it's completely unnatural, or even the idea of, yes, uh, businesses operate on the, on the, on the, um, on the presumption of self interest.

Tinuke Chineme: I mean, self interest never serves anyone. It has to [00:41:00] be, um, our interest, collective interest and interest in other things in the environment and, you know, things around you, or even the idea of, um, uh, what's the other one again, you know, them and a lot of these concepts that we have to reconsider. And, um, that's why there is that push to rethink the role of business.

Tinuke Chineme: We think, you know, economic systems and hopefully, you know, with the conversations going on, um, yeah, all something will happen.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Something has to happen.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: The, the bio waste model that you're working with, um, the indigenous African women [00:42:00] entrepreneurs, it's based on a particular type of economic model called circular economy. Um, or social circular economy, well, we can tap into that. So, but I, I wanted us to explore a bit more about the idea of like circular economy, social circular economy.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, using the bio waste model as a, uh, as an example, just to touch on that, because I think, um, these are the types of economic models that we need going forward. Um, so it'd be really great to also unpack what that actually means. Yeah.

Tinuke Chineme: Um, it, it is, um, a really good concept because, um, I mean, and when I say that I'm talking about the circular economy, because it actually builds on a lot of, um, uh, concepts that have, you know, that have come through time, industrial ecology, natural capital, um, cradle [00:43:00] to cradle, you know, that all of these things that build into this, notion now that is pretty popular in the secular economy.

Tinuke Chineme: And the idea of the circular economy is, okay, it's not just Um, you know, we, uh, get the natural resource use, um, and then we discard at the end, but actually now we can recycle, reuse, remanufacture, refurbish. There's a process now so that we, uh, reduce, uh, resource depletion and pollution. And then of course, finally waste generation.

Tinuke Chineme: So with that idea. Um, hopefully, you know, uh, businesses now begin to rethink the way that they operate. And the circular economy is really, um, because of the remanufacturing and the refurbishments and all of these steps, it really is targeted [00:44:00] to developed countries and some of the principles, and I am smiling because some of the principles like this notion of the sharing economy that comes under the circular economy is really exciting here in the developed country, in the developed world.

Tinuke Chineme: However, when I read it and I was reading about it, This is how we grew up in Nigeria. Like, no, if you own this shovel, everybody on that street owned that shovel. No one on the streets ever bought a shovel because they knew there was someone down the street that owned it. And like, it's the same thing. If you have a basketball hoop for your child, that's the hoop that everybody in the community, in the neighborhood is going to play with.

Tinuke Chineme: Unlike the systems that we have here where, you know, every house, you know, house by house, everyone has their own individual. And so, yes, the circular economy is basically saying, Let's do it like, like, these cultures have always done it and are still doing it. And so with that recognition that, you know, there's some [00:45:00] things that it's introducing that are more targeted to these developed countries, um, then I saw that, okay, you know what?

Tinuke Chineme: So this circular economy that we're going to use, we have to localize it. And that means we have to make it relevant to our context. And so with that, um, I just, um, touched on a few key things that I thought the circular economy could help with, you know, which was like circular inputs. And so circular inputs, uh, were like renewable energies and that's the focus, you know, not fossil fuel based, but they're going to use a renewable energy.

Tinuke Chineme: So that way you minimize pollution at the end of the entire process. And so I thought, okay, fine, let's use a circular inputs. Um, I. Thought about, um, you know, okay, job creation is another thing. However, um, by anyway, um, let me just follow this trend of thought. So I just outlined the ones I thought were interesting.

Tinuke Chineme: And then looking, looking at all the modifications of a circular economy, like the social circular [00:46:00] economy, that one, um, brought to my attention the need for a champion, uh, a community champion. And so. I thought that was very interesting because that means that even as I'm going in, the whole idea of the research was not just to implement another technology, but for it to be long lasting and that's sustainable in my mind, sustained use of the of the of technology.

Tinuke Chineme: And so the idea of a product champion or community champion was, was, uh, was important. And, um, from that, I tied, I tied that into one of the indicators that I was going to, um, to monitor. However, um, this community champion that I thought was very interesting, and it was something I was going to pursue. By the time I got to, uh, Kipunguni Dar es Salaam, I actually, I started working with this women's group.

Tinuke Chineme: It was very, as soon as I raised the issue that, oh, we need someone to champion, they were like, no, we, we We always have a project leader for everything that we do. And [00:47:00] so it was already their practice. Like if there's something new. They nominated amongst themselves, someone who was going to be in charge and that person would just take it.

Tinuke Chineme: And so you can see that there's some things that are recommended by certain systems, but you also have to always evaluate your current system and evaluate it with the people that you're working with and then see which ones can be dropped, which ones can be picked up. And so even at the end of the day, job creation was not an issue in this, in our particular research because, um, They were looking to use it for themselves and their households to benefit themselves and power themselves, not necessarily scale, which is just grow.

Tinuke Chineme: No, it was more of this can benefit us and it can benefit our community. And so we will keep it that way. And, um, yes, I'll end it there before I go on and on.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much. Um, I, yeah, I, I think [00:48:00] one thing that, um, is important to also kind of. share with our community is how a circular economy, for example, or a social circular economy is different from the current or the dominant, I would say dominant economic system that we have. Are you able to expand on that a bit?

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Some of the main features that make it different?

Tinuke Chineme: Yes, yes, yes. So the dominant, um, um, model, economic model is really, really what we say, take, use. and dispose. And so you just take it, you build it into a product, you use it, and then you discard it. And so it ends up in the landfill. The circular economy, however, doesn't do that.

Tinuke Chineme: It closes the loop by saying, okay, we take it, we produce, we use, and then whatever we, that is discarded, that's leftover, we repurpose it by recycling it. [00:49:00] By, first of all, we try to reuse it in a different form. We can't, and we try to modify it and recycle it, or refurbish it, or re manufacture it. And then as you're reusing it that way, you're not just discarding it.

Tinuke Chineme: So it's not just a straight line, linear economy anymore. You're trying to refurbish, reuse, repurpose, and therefore you're reusing it. Now you're closing that loop again. However, yes, there is that. We know, we do know that as you're trying to refurbish there, some amount of things that will be wasted along the way.

Tinuke Chineme: If you're reusing as is, then of course there's nothing wasted. It's just, you're using it for a different purpose. Say for instance, um, a plastic cup, you use it in a restaurant or you have takeout, you bring it back home. Instead of just tossing it out, you decide to reuse it, use it at home. for many, many months.

Tinuke Chineme: And maybe from there, one of your children takes it and uses it for arts and craft it's [00:50:00] using, or eventually you might discard it. And so just extending the life of that thing or repurposing or refurbishing it makes sure, uh, allows waste to be reduced. And, um, and it closes that loop. So instead of just discard at the end, you actually just extend the life, uh, lifetime and keeping it into that, into that circle till finally, maybe somewhere along the line, yes, some of it is discarded.

Tinuke Chineme: And so that's why it's called the circular economy instead of just the linear economy.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much, Tinuke. That was a really clear explanation. Uh, and I think it's, I just wanted to expand on that because. Um, sometimes people may not understand why it's a circle, why it's circular, um, and so really having that definition of the process or the life cycle, um, is, yeah, it's really fascinating.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, I, I really, I'm [00:51:00] excited by the work that you're doing, um, because one, one of the, one of the main, the environmental crisis, as it were, has raised up a lot of questions, uh, about our world. Um, but one of it has to do with the economy, right? Because we understand that the dominant economic model, that linear model, um, has led to many ills both in society and also in our natural world. Um, and that manifests in, in climate also, in climate's, um, earth system.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: And I'm excited by the work you're doing to co create and co produce new models because it's helping us. Um, think about like what the purpose of an economy truly is. Um, and [00:52:00] you know, as we've mentioned before, you know, our current, um, I keep saying current, our dominant, the dominant economic model globally is, is about infinite growth.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: It's about growth in pursuit of capital, right? You just have as much capital as you can possibly have, you know, and that has like serious issues for, for our, our world. Um, And I wanted to use the idea of the GDP as a way to kind of talk about this practically.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, so, um, GDP is, uh, it's known as the gross domestic product, and it's, it's a type of metric that is used, um, to measure how well a country's economy is, is doing, right?

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and what GDP, gross domestic product, it measures, um, the, the [00:53:00] value of kind of the goods and services that are produced and ready to sell, but the monetary value, not like the social value. Uh, so for example, if I have a business, uh, cleaning business, that is a particular service that's ready to sell in a market.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, but it doesn't measure many things. It doesn't measure, uh, our wellbeing. It doesn't measure standard of living. Um, it doesn't measure the environmental health. So, uh, the health of the environment and, you know, what has been used to create that particular good or service, um, and it doesn't measure things that don't have monetary value.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So just the idea that I can have a cleaning business where I go into other people's homes and clean their homes and that has monetary value because I'm selling [00:54:00] it for a certain price. if I was at home and I'm taking care of like a hundred people in my home and I'm, you know, I'm working hours of the day to take care of my family, that is not counted in GDP because it has no monetary value.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, so the GDP as a concept is, is flawed in so many ways, but the reason why it's problematic is because it exists to measure a certain kind of progress and that progress is infinite growth of goods and services. Um, and you know, that has had implications for the environmental crisis because we're not measuring the health of the environment.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: We're not measuring the health of people, the wellbeing of people. Um, and so now the environmental crisis is challenging us to actually think like. Hold on, why are we using these metrics? Like what, what is the purpose of an economy? An [00:55:00] economy should exist to be in service of life. It should exist to be in service of the wellbeing of people, the wellbeing of, um, of the earth, you know, the wellbeing of social relations.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So if that is, or if that should be the purpose of an economy, how can we think about different models that actually enable that? And so that's why. Um, models that like the one you're creating Tinuke, that's based on a social circular economy. Um, there's ideas of like well being economies. There's ideas of like doughnut economies.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: There's this really exciting, um, not even just conversations, but people actively applying these concepts because they're trying to create new worlds that are in service of life, um, and life on earth. Um, so life for human beings, but life for other species [00:56:00] too. Um, and that's why I'm very excited, as I mentioned before about what you're doing.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, thanks. I, I think, you know, a core part of the, the bio waste model is also, um, the, the African indigenous female entrepreneurs. And I, yeah, I want to talk to you about that because it's more than just working with African indigenous female entrepreneurs. It's also about their institutions. It's also about who they are and how that brings wealth and value to the bio waste model, if that makes sense. So I'd love for you to speak about that.

Tinuke Chineme: Absolutely. In fact, this is, this is the part of the research that really got me gingered up when I started because everything that I could, um, I [00:57:00] could, that I saw as a modern day problem and I started to look back at the history and try to uncover the um, uh, that history was so, so mind blowing, liberating, at the same time as exciting, you know, and it's the same thing with the waste.

Tinuke Chineme: As soon as I start looking at waste and as soon as I start looking at women, African women, and I, once you start to look at Indigenous African women, then it's just amazing. And then by the time I started looking at Indigenous African women institutions, that was another exciting, um, um, um, You know, rabbit hole to go down.

Tinuke Chineme: And what I learned, a few of the things I learned is, you know, um, prior to colonization, a lot of these African women institutions existed, and they existed as social groups, but the biggest one, believe it or not, were the business ones. And so it was the, these ideas of the market women, and they [00:58:00] were. they were, they had a lot of power.

Tinuke Chineme: They were, um, they were not just not revered, but they were completely, um, they were autonomous. They were, they were strong, um, very strong institutions. And the, um, evidence of the strength is the fact that they still exist in our modern day societies. And so any African community you go to, there still remain the market women's association and these are retail market women and their institutions are still going strong.

Tinuke Chineme: There are a few researchers that I discovered as I was going along about the modern day ones, and they still are the ones that political, um, political, um, um, Candidates who approach if they want to have their names spread wide because these women have links to the informal sector [00:59:00] and they just have, uh, they have the respect of their community because they've existed a long time ago.

Tinuke Chineme: In fact, in Nigeria, one, uh, one, uh, uh, narrative I came across as I was doing research was in Nigeria during, um, um, colonization when the, um, the British were trying to put, uh, Agenda tax on the women just to to subdue the women because at the time the women were making a lot of, I mean, the women were in control and so they wanted to, um, make, uh, um, uh, Nigeria reflective of what was in England then at the time when men were the dominant, uh, providers.

Tinuke Chineme: But in this, uh, This new place they'd come to, it was women that were the dominant providers, and so what they had done was they, they implemented a gender tax. And so the women were supposed to pay higher taxes to the government so that the men [01:00:00] would, would at the end of the day turn, would come out, um, Uh, more, uh, will have more money, uh, compared to the women.

Tinuke Chineme: And so these women decided to get together and they actually, you know, they confronted the, uh, they had a, they had a march. It was, it was a peaceful protest, but then, um, sadly. a lot of them were actually, um, violently attacked. They were gunned down and it's just, um, and, and of course there were targeted instances of where the head of these women institutions were targeted just to, uh, weaken the institution.

Tinuke Chineme: However, the institution still remains, uh, very, very strong, even in, um, in Dar es Salaam, where I did the research. And of course, for instance, we started collecting, uh, waste from the marketplace. And of course, uh, who did we have to connect with? It was the same, um, uh, market women that were collecting the women, uh, collecting that organic waste from.

Tinuke Chineme: And once [01:01:00] they, once they understand what you're doing and they support you. Yeah, the sky really is the limits. They would, you know, what you're doing, they'll do everything within their power to make sure that it works. And so, yeah, it's just the idea of, you know, the Indigenous cultures that we've, that we had, the Indigenous institutions.

Tinuke Chineme: I mean, And now the variations of it, because there are a women's group that are now religious based. There's some, there's still some that are, uh, social based. And then of course, we still have the ones that are also, uh, economic based, like market women's group. And so all this work that, that I have done or that I hope to do going forward is really to recognize, you know, uh, the role that women have had in these cultures and hopefully to do something to contribute to them recognizing what they've always had and then sharing that knowledge and then hopefully allowing that knowledge to do something [01:02:00] different than what the culture is propagating about African women, as well as African cultures and African institutions.

Tinuke Chineme: Uh, it's, it was beautiful, powerful in the past. And I believe that it can still be just, if we remember where we came from, what we had and try to build systems around that, not of course, ignoring the benefits of modern technology, but actually localizing it in a way that builds on the things that we've always had and that maybe we've taken for granted that we lost, try to, um, just marry them together and, you know, get the best of both worlds.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Wow. Thank you so much, Tinuke. Um, I feel like your mission is very much resonates with my mission and what I'm doing with this podcast. It's about remembering, um, our place in earth and that in many cultures, [01:03:00] um, both within the continent and around the world. Uh, women are the gatekeepers of, of knowledge.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: We are the cultural bears of knowledge when it comes to earth care. And it's a very sacred duty. It's a very prestigious duty, right? Because if you don't know your environment, then you cannot survive, um, as we are seeing with what's happening in the world right now.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and just this idea of like localizing, um, I think that's something that's also very prevalent in a lot of future futuristic models of the economy, um, speak a lot about localizing and understanding, uh, your local environment and really connecting with that on a deeper level.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and that's something that nature does very well. Nature is very attuned to Um, it's local environment, it has to be able to respond and survive. Um, [01:04:00] so I, I just wanted to also thank you for really highlighting that in, in your research that there are these institutions, there are these, uh, social roles that were played by, are played by African women, uh, which predate, um, so much of modern history, um, in its many forms and they are still continuing and they have so much to offer in terms of teaching us about how to live in a way that makes the most of the, the values or the value that we have in a community, whichever way it looks like it could be a social relationships. It could be, uh, economic value. It could be, you know, environmental value. Um, there are like actual examples in history of where we've done that, and it still exists.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: And it, because they are resilient institutions, there's a [01:05:00] reason why they've survived. Um, they've survived violence and attempts to take them down. Um, because by nature they, they are resilient and they have a lot to offer us that we can learn from when we're thinking about different ways of living and creating, um, systems that produce, produce life going forward.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, so I just want to thank you for that because I think that's a very important thing. crucial part of, of your research and the model you're co producing. Um, I feel sometimes, uh, we are seen in a certain way as recipients or, or victims or passive players in whatever sphere that we exist in. And it's important that as part of this work that we actually take time to question those roles and to really look through new lenses but also through histories to understand whether that [01:06:00] is really aligned with the roles that we're being assigned.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and that, that comes out very clearly in, in how you're working with them. Um, I'm conscious that this conversation is coming to a close and I don't want it to end, but, um, I had one. Uh, one question for you.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, so black soldier flies are just doing the most. They're answering so many of like humanity's problems, like protein, like food, you know, addressing food waste and fertilize is they're doing everything for us right now.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and I think as, as someone who is. very, um, my work is earth care. I do think a lot about our, our relationship with [01:07:00] other species, other life on earth. Um, and I say this because, you know, when it comes to, um, black soldier flies, you know, within the next decade, they're going to be the most farmed insects like in, in, on the planet, like currently, um, 200 to 300 billion black soldier flies are farmed for protein.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So I just wanted to kind of, guess what I'm trying to ask in, in my question is that, um, I think part of, for example, designing economies for life is about economies that create life and well being for humans and also other species. And, you know, how can we [01:08:00] work with other species as equals, as partners in, in creating and designing new economies.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Does that make sense?

Tinuke Chineme: No, absolutely. Absolutely. It actually makes sense. I guess, uh, if I, if I, if I, uh, interpreted the question right, it's more simple question of how we're making sure we're not exploiting, you know, this resource. Because yes, waste is now a resource, but of course the black soldier flies are also a resource.

Tinuke Chineme: And so just have to be cognizant of the fact that we're not just taking, taking, taking, taking, taking, taking, and then nots. allowing, you know, the flies or allowing, uh, whatever natural resource we're, we're harnessing to also have a space to, to grow, you know, essentially, uh, and not just us benefiting, you know, all the time.

Tinuke Chineme: And so that, um, to answer your question, [01:09:00] I actually stumbled into the answer that I'm about to give you. And I stumbled into it because we used the co creation method. And so initially my, in my pre design, I was going to go in, like I said, with a scaled down version of what we have here in the developed countries.

Tinuke Chineme: And that was really, we capture the flies. and we rear them and then we use those red flies to compost the waste. And then we capture some from the ones that are growing in the waste and we rear them. And so everything is an enclosed system. So the flies are captured, they are bred in captivity. And that's where that figure that you had, I actually didn't know there were that many that have been exploited, but, and, and that's where it comes from because you breed them.

Tinuke Chineme: You know, it's like a farm. You're farming them. And so I had a scaled down version of that in my pre design. By the time I went to Dar es Salaam, just the culture and the [01:10:00] ideas that other people had and the conversations, we quickly, my design quickly changed to an open design. And what the, what is that?

Tinuke Chineme: That is really no more breeding of the flies. It's basically a big concrete bin and we dump the waste inside. The flies naturally occur in that, um, in the environmental parameters that are prevalent in that location. And so we just had to wait for a while and then the flies come, the flies lay their eggs, the eggs, uh, become, um, they hatch to become larvae. They grow. We harvest what we need from, you know, so the women are going to feed their chickens. They take out what they need to feed their chicken. We're going to sell some. If they're going to sell some, they take out what they want to sell. And, but because the flies are free to come and go, they lay the eggs.

Tinuke Chineme: The ones that we don't use, grow into adults, they lay eggs, [01:11:00] they, and so we allow the natural system to happen just by, yes, we source the waste and bring the waste to the place where they collect, where they, where they come and they do their, their thing. We take from what we need and then we allow the natural system to continue.

Tinuke Chineme: And so with that, we are essentially not just sucking the system dry. We're allowing, uh, the natural process to occur in as natural a way as possible. And like I said before, we're not adding energy into the system, neither are we adding more water into the system. We just allow the system to, to, um, to run by If we want to have more flies, we just have, we just collect even more waste so that more flies will come and then they do what they're doing. And because we're giving [01:12:00] them, um, the food that they need to grow and grow quickly, then the system just naturally grows that way. And so with that system, I think it is not so much of, uh, us exploiting, uh, the resource but actually benefiting as they benefit.

Tinuke Chineme: So it's mutually beneficial. And so in my mind, that is more of a sustainable, um, what's the word I was going to use? A sustainable consumption because we harvest as we need.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much. Um, wow thank you so much, Tinuke. This has been an incredible conversation. I am very grateful for the opportunity to speak with you and to learn from you.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and I wanted to know how we can support your work going forward. [01:13:00]

Tinuke Chineme: Well, honestly, that is, that was really, really kind. I really appreciate the question. And the truth is just having this, the work you're doing actually is supporting my work. my, what I would like to, the conversations I would like to have going are the conversations we've had today, which is, yeah, let's take a look at, uh, at the, at the past for women in Africa or women all over the world.

Tinuke Chineme: Women that generations and generations, whether it's centuries, can be traced back. Let's look at how they lived and try to learn from how they lived and see that we don't have to discard all that just because we want to advance in the future. And especially with the ones that are marginalized in our current days.

Tinuke Chineme: Um, we know that it's a modern thing. It's something that's happened over recent times. And so, How can we go back to remind them about who they used to be while also putting things in place that can actually encourage them [01:14:00] and empower them, especially financially. And then hopefully everything else follows and just having the conversation and you being able to share.

Tinuke Chineme: Us being able to talk about it, learn from each other and share the word, you know, that's honestly more than enough. So, yeah, thank you so much for actually helping my, helping my work. This, uh, this conversation has been, uh, has been definitely a jewel and, um, it makes all the work that, uh, I had done in the past, uh, worthwhile.

Tinuke Chineme: So yes, we've done more than enough. Thank you. I should ask the same question. How can I be helping?

Marion Atieno Osieyo: You're the first person that's ever asked me that on this podcast. I am so grateful. Honestly, um, continuing to, um, pursue your passion, your dreams, um, centering that as the compass for living your life. Um, I have a strong desire to [01:15:00] have um, all women, all people, but especially black women center their dreams and their joy as a compass for living their life. That's the key. So I think for me, you doing that, you doing that genuinely helps me. That genuinely honestly helps me. And I hope it comes across through this podcast.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: You know, a lot of the people that I interview, um, you know, some of them started this work from a place of pain and survival.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Um, and a lot of them also are doing it because they're They just genuinely love it. And it's the most interesting thing in the world. Um, and so the world needs people who have come alive. Um, and so if I can be of service to that through our conversation, um, yeah. And you doing that really uh, gives me motivation to continue.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: So, [01:16:00]

Tinuke Chineme: Well, I do have to say, you said, if you could be of service, um, uh, by this conversation, you cannot imagine how excited or how exciting it has been for me, just because it's been years when I've been talking about indigenous African women and there's like, no one really, the spark never happens. It's like, what are you talking about?

Tinuke Chineme: And since we actually have a conversation, with you and you get it, you understand that it's, you know, and the conversation is going on and on and it could go on for much longer. And that is, you know, it's definitely a gift.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: It's amazing. Thank you so much, Tinuke.

Tinuke Chineme: It's my pleasure. Thank you, Marion.

Marion Atieno Osieyo: Thank you so much for joining us on today's episode. We'd love to stay connected with you. You can subscribe to Black Earth Podcast wherever you listen to [01:17:00] your favorite podcast. And you can also connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok at Black Earth Podcast. See you in the next episode.