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.
ALLIANCE TO END PLASTIC WASTE PARTNERS WITH ASASE FOUNDATION
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (the Alliance) today announced a partnership with the ASASE Foundation to support women entrepreneurs working to reduce plastic litter in the community. The initiative called Closing the Loop uses a circular economy model, to enable local communities to benefit from discarded plastic waste by collecting, reprocessing, and reselling it.
Closing the Loop kicks off the Alliance’s support for projects based in Africa. It was first launched by ASASE in 2018 to provide seed money to equip a plastic waste reprocessing plant as well as provide technical and business management training to women entrepreneurs to run the recycling plant for profit. The project has already created eight jobs within the community as well as diverted 35 (metric) tons of plastic from waste in the first twelve months. By partnering with the Alliance, the capacity of the reprocessing plant will increase to divert 2,000 (metric) tons of plastic waste per year and create even more jobs.
Read more about this partnership on ASASEGH.com
About the Alliance to End Plastic Waste
Established in 2019, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste is a not-for-profit organization that includes companies that make, use, sell, process, collect and recycle plastics, including chemical and plastic manufacturers, consumer goods companies, retailers, converters, and waste management companies. The Alliance is the foremost CEO-driven international organization focused on bringing together industry, government, communities, and civil society in the fight to end plastic waste. The Alliance is working to promote programs and partnerships that focus on solutions in four core areas: infrastructure, innovation, education, and clean up. The Alliance membership represents global companies and organizations located throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Arabian Gulf. The Alliance global headquarters is located in Singapore.
For more information, visit: www.endplasticwaste.org