Asase Foundation, Accra
When talking about ASASE, the first question I am asked is:
My dedication to Africa comes from a feeling I experienced on one of my first trips to South Africa. I remember knowing what I needed to do but I wasn’t sure how to do it.
This feeling also sparked a dedication that brought me to Accra after meeting Hilda Addah. Hilda, a Ghana native, exposed me to the raw reality of how environments like hers are affected by not recycling plastics. As an experienced plastics industry professional, seeing the effect of plastic waste on a place like Accra, I knew I had to do something to help fix the issue.
In Accra, only 20% of household garbage waste is collected and only 2% is recycled resulting in 78% of garbage ending up on the streets. Due to heavy rain fall, the garbage ends up in the oceans, washing up on the shores or being ingested by the animals in and around Accra. Plastic bags and containers often clog gutters causing hazardous flooding. These issues are endangering people’s lives and causing an environmental issue.
What truly sparked my dedicated to Ghana was Hilda and the story of Mamadu.
Growing up in Takoradi, a southern coastal town in the Western Region, her family had a beautiful sheep named Mamadu. She was so loved by all the children that she was like part of the family. One day their sheep stopped eating and slowly starved to death. The took her to the veterinarian who found out in her stomach a massive bunch of plastic.
When she finished her story, I looked at Hilda and empathizing with her I said: we need to STOP this! In May 2017 Hilda and I created the ASASE Foundation in Accra. It started with our determination to do something good for our planet and for our children, while helping under-privileged communities to do better.
Asase is coined from Asase Yaa, mother earth, in Akan mythology. It represents the resilience and nurturing nature of the earth. A call to revere and preserve it.
We aim to start small recycling plants, setting up social enterprises in communities suffering from the effects of plastic waste littering. We will empower women entrepreneurs to build their own plastic recycling business and cash in on the value of the waste for a profit. The social enterprise model will help create jobs and keep most of the value generated by recycling plastic in the community. This will engage in collecting all the waste plastic before it is littered.
I became dedicated to setting up a social enterprise model after learning about the impact which such investment projects can create – for instance: those run by the Acumen Fund. We further learned about how to build social enterprise through the online courses provided by +Acumen.
If you want to be part of our exciting journey in Accra, Ghana, get in touch with me.