The first part of 2021 has been difficult for all, but here at WasteAid it feels as if things are moving in the right direction – the lockdowns across the UK have lifted and WasteAid managed its first socially distanced UK-based staff meeting in too long. It was so important to meet face to face and great to catch up and share ideas. All of us who attended felt refreshed and re-energised and we were able to welcome in person our new Head of Finance, Charles Njoko. I hope that many of our supporters, donors and partners are feeling equally optimistic as we head into Summer. However, in some countries where WasteAid has a presence, we know that staff and partners are still facing incredibly tough challenges due to the pandemic and our thoughts are with you all.
Quite a lot has happened since my last update, our programmes team, headed by Angela McDermott has been preparing for the launch of our European Union funded Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+) project in The Gambia. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Kanifing Municipal Council on this circular economy initiative that focuses on reducing food waste and supporting women’s livelihoods. It is very exciting to be working with a new institutional donor on this project and we hope that this also will be the start of a fruitful collaboration. Since its inception, WasteAid has been active in The Gambia and we are pleased that our work is able to influence local government practice when it comes to waste and recycling. There’s so much positive energy in the country towards the green recovery initiative, and WasteAid is honoured to be able to play a small part in its journey. That said, there is still so much more to do, and we have a list of priority projects that we would like to fund. If you would be interested in funding our work in The Gambia, perhaps as part of your CSR strategy, then please get in contact.
It was also fantastic to have the WasteAid team travel again to project sites too. Last month, our project manager Luther Hinga, travelled to Douala in Cameroon to follow up on two of WasteAid’s projects there. He liaised closely with our partner organisation, RED PLAST, and was able to support project activities and work with RED PLAST and beneficiaries to ensure that our UK Aid Match project and our Bunzl Plc funded projects were transforming lives and reducing plastic waste. At the same time, he found time to pass his DELF B1 French language exam and introduce a potential new corporate partnership focused on WasteAid activities in Cameroon. Well done, Luther!
One of the key events in the last month has been the launch of WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network Zero Waste Cities Challenge. This is a fabulous initiative to support innovators and entrepreneurs to solve the waste crisis in Ho Chi Minh, Johannesburg and Guwahati. In each of these locations WasteAid will be supporting businesses through incubation and training and will be offering 10,000 Euros seed funding to two organisations in each location. The network also continues to deliver inspiring and educational content through webinars and through its website. The network is growing and I am constantly amazed and inspired by all those involved in developing the circular economy and reducing waste in these locations.
Since my last update, it has also been hugely heartening to see a real leap in corporate engagement with WasteAid. We are all delighted that our work on building a circular economy network and advancing solid waste management in areas of the world not served by it is really resonating with socially aware, responsible corporate entities. WasteAid individually tailors its corporate partnerships to ensure that these are mutually beneficial and have the greatest impact for our programme beneficiaries. If you are developing a CSR or sustainability policy and are looking for an organisation that can help deliver your goals, please do get in contact with us. WasteAid’s work transforms livelihoods, the environment and communities and we would love to hear how we may work together with you. We will be announcing more exciting corporate partnerships in the coming weeks.
Finally, to all our partners, supporters and donors, please stay safe during these uncertain times. Our thoughts are particularly with our friends and partners in India as the country battles a huge wave of Covid cases.