When writing these pieces, it’s always a great opportunity to reflect on just how much WasteAid has achieved since my last update. I am also pleased to say that it is always a question of selecting the very best of a great body of work, rather than struggling to fill the page!
So, what have we been focusing on these last few months? Firstly, we have now closed the Zero Waste Cities Competition receiving over 100 applicants and some fabulous ideas. The team had a tough job to shortlist the thoughtful and innovative entries, but in the end a shortlist of 12 entrants from each country was finalised.
Ideas ranged from diverting chicken feathers from landfill and reusing them, to apps that encourage segregation and collection of waste and even use gamification to promote green living.
There are too many good ideas to mention here, but it was a great response. WasteAid is now supporting 36 shortlisted organisations through an intensive 8-week business incubation period before selecting 5 entrants from each country to participate in a Dragons’ Den pitch. Please follow our social media channels @WasteAid and @CircEconNetwork for the latest updates.
Outside of that, we have been delighted to welcome our Project Coordinator in The Gambia, Ingrid Henrys to the WasteAid team. Ingrid is leading our EU-funded project addressing climate change through the recycling of organic waste from markets. The waste will then be turned into compost to increase crop yield for market sellers and woody waste will be turned into briquettes for fuel. In this project we are working in partnership with a municipal council as well as a women’s empowerment organisation. The project has got off to a great start with a series of launch events and an initial KAP survey (Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices) to understand how people engage with waste.
In other news, we said ‘au revoir’ to WasteAid’s Head of Programmes and Impact, Angela McDermott as she heads off on a period of maternity leave. We wish her a blissful time off! Angela’s replacement has been selected and will be announced shortly. However, before Angela left, she was able to complete a crucial piece of work to further improve WasteAid’s impact monitoring. This is a fantastic initiative that will really allow WasteAid to prove the wide-ranging impact of its work by measuring it against health, economic, behaviour change and environmental indicators. This is so important in our mission to ensure waste management is prioritised within the development agenda.
This period has also seen a phenomenal boost to WasteAid’s corporate partnerships and whilst I cannot name each and every company, I did want to highlight a couple of our new partners.
Firstly, we were delighted to partner with music Magpie on their ‘Mount Recyclemore’ campaign which also saw WasteAid name-checked in the national press – something we definitely want to see more of! As well as running an attention grabbing campaign to highlight the problem of e-waste, music Magpie contributed a very generous donation to WasteAid. We will be using part of this donation to develop further guidance on e-waste as this is a growing issue in the countries where we work.
Secondly, we were delighted to receive a significant donation from Finnish company Neste Oyi who felt that WasteAid’s approach, values and impact deserved their support. We really enjoyed learning more about their approach to sustainability and are delighted to have them as a supporter.
If you are a corporate reading this update and feel that WasteAid could contribute to your CSR/ESG goals, please get in contact.
Finally, many of the WasteAid senior team are preparing to attend the RWM Exhibition on 22-23 September. Both myself and our Senior Technical Advisor, Zoë Lenkiewicz, will be speaking and we hope to meet as many of our supporters and friends (new and old) as possible.
It just remains for me to thank you for your continued support of WasteAid and to wish you all well. So until my next update, please take care and continue to follow WasteAid on our social media channels for all the latest news.