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Tackling Waste Management with Education

Research into waste management uncovered issues such as insufficient governmental resources to collect recycled material. Pivoting their solution to focus on changing attitudes towards waste, Cameron, Toju, and Leon created workshops to engage children in finding their own solutions to waste management.

Passionate about economic empowerment driven by a disparity in the spread of wealth, the protection of the environment, and the potential of circular economies to reduce waste; the project initially sought to tackle unemployment, through the collection of recyclable materials including plastics, alongside providing education to change generational mindsets, with the aim of reducing waste in the environment. Prior to the trip, the team spoke with private sector companies and community centres to learn about waste management in Durban.

Upon arriving in South Africa, they quickly realised that the issue of waste management was far larger than they had previously thought. From speaking with various NGOs and businesses, they learnt that the local government were not providing sufficient infrastructure and resources to collect recycling in rural communities. Not wishing to rely on an under resourced local government to provide resources, they changed their focus onto how they could engage with young people to help them in owning their own solutions to waste management.

Discovering that the trip coincided with school holidays, the trio organised a winter holiday camp, where alongside the wider team they ran educational sessions to over 30 children. These workshops focused on changing attitudes towards waste and giving them a platform to discuss ideas for how they could implement solutions in their own community. Engaging teachers within the process is a key learning for iterations of the project in the future.