“ECOaction” in Banda was founded in 2012 by Reagan Kandole. This waste management education project is engaging young people and the rest of the community in collecting waste and creating employment opportunities through reusing and recycling waste. In the capital city of Uganda, Kampala 730,000 tons of waste is produced every day and, at present, only an estimated 1% is recycled.
ECOaction’s goals are:
- to address high unemployment and the increase in bio and human waste;
- to stress the benefit of an eco-friendly society beyond trash, where empowered and responsible citizens live in harmony with their environment;
- to engage the community in environmentally beneficial livelihood activities, increasing community events and activities that can improve the environmental situation and
- to increase opportunities in welding/carpentry/and using many kinds of waste apron plastics aim to recycle/reduced/reuse.
To this end waste management workshops are conducted and biodegradable and non degradable waste is recycled.
ECOaction’s products include: children’s playgrounds, telephone kiosks, chicken feeders, bathrooms, shelters, bins, chairs, green houses, aprons from plastic, waste composting and public art installations.
Karen Kana visited the project in 2017, meeting single mothers, children, men and some twenty youths from the wider community – over a hundred in all – who are creating a centre from recycled materials, engaging in urban gardening, briquette making from biodegradable waste, composting and exploring other income-generating activities. The community is also working on a project with Uganda Christian University in Mukono to create greenhouses from recycled plastic bottles to improve urban gardening and nutrition.
Project coordinator David Turner writes: “We are going to partner with CYEN, a UK based NGO which has been involved in youth social enterprise projects for last 5 years and want to expand their social enterprise environmental intervention by working with our project”. CYEN’s Ugandan NGO, ChrysalisUganda will be hosting one of our large recycled plastic collection bins and we plan that young social entrepreneurs from their Butterfly project will be learning the techniques of recycling plastic, as part of their training programme.
“We also hope to remove local children from the backbreaking plastic bottle collecting, by incentivizing their parents to recycle higher value bottles, which will enable them to earn more and use this money to pay for their child’s education,” says Ben Parkinson, Director of ChrysalisUganda, who work to reduce child labour in Kampala:
“Companies estimate that only 4% of their bottles come back for re-use and surely we need to address this by improving the amount that recyclers are paid for the bottles or finding some way to subsidise this. Bottle picking is known as the least well paid work, where adults cannot find even enough for their children’s school fees. Ecoaction Banda have evolved products which could help address this imbalance.”