The Sustainable Community Project has been designed by the Green Africa Youth Organization following our discovery of inappropriate waste handling in both rural and urban areas across the country. We had identified this through our numerous environmental outreach and sanitation workshops organized across the country. Inappropriate organic waste disposal has led to the increase in sanitation-related diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea in impoverished communities, posing an environmental hazard to human health. Meanwhile, organic waste, if well managed can serve as compost to ensure food security in impoverished communities. Through household education on pit composting, the project seeks to eliminate inappropriate disposal of solid organic waste and to provide nutritious organic food to families through organic farming.
The project commenced in Cape Coast with a series of environmental sanitation workshop for students. Following the education, we partnered with Environment 360 in Accra, to hold a drawing contest for the students.
During the last quarter of 2016, we started the household stage of the project where we selected five households in the Cape Coast to initiate the waste segregation and composting. We provided dustbins to the houses, and they separate their organic waste for composting while we gather the plastic waste at a different location. Early 2017, we entered into an agreement with Cyclus Elmina Recycling Firm. Cyclus will now collect the plastic waste we gather from the households.
As the project is in its early stages, we are hoping to add more households to the project during its actual implementation stage while adding additional economic components through the waste management value chain. As a non-profit organization, this pilot was made possible entirely by donations from our volunteers and mentors. Regardless, in the long term, the project is designed to be very sustainable as compost is used in setting up gardens for the households and the produce is sold to generate income for continuation. Agricultural waste being burnt in communities will be utilized for ecological purposes, and plastic and electronic waste utilized for the making valuable household products and low-tech electronics.
Ultimately, GAYO seeks to create a zero waste model in Africa for rural-urban townships.