Algeco helps UNICEF with the construction of schools in Ivory Coast
By recycling plastic, which makes building blocks for classrooms, we support UNICEF's education projects.
Ivory Coast has a huge waste problem. The capital Abidjan produces 288,000 kilos of plastic every day and this often ends up in landfills in poorer communities. The plastic also pollutes the groundwater. Only 5% of the huge quantity of plastic waste in Côte d'Ivoire is recycled, mainly by women and young people from the poorest communities. They collect the waste and sell it on the black market. Women are underpaid and their own communities treat them as outsiders. In addition, they cannot afford to send their children to school. This is one of the reasons why two million children in Ivory Coast do not attend school.
What does the Plastic Bricks project do?
UNICEF trains (young) mothers and young people in collecting, safely storing and processing plastic waste. They also receive training in entrepreneurship, so that they can set up their own businesses. This teaches them to ask a fair price for recycling plastic and to do this with a direct buyer. Currently, they receive 20 percent of the market price through middlemen on the black market. In a fair situation, they would receive 80 to 90 percent of the market price from a direct buyer. In late 2019, UNICEF opened a recycling plant in Youpougon. Here they buy the plastic waste directly from the women for a fair price. The factory processes the plastic waste into building blocks, which are used to build new classrooms. By buying the waste directly, it no longer needs to be stored in communities. This way, we create a cleaner environment and prevent deadly diseases for children.
Why does Algeco support this project?
The cooperation with UNICEF is actually quite natural. We think it is important to make a contribution to society. By linking up with UNICEF, we belong to a large organisation which provides children with education on a global scale. As a modular constructor of educational buildings, among other things, we feel it is important to do our bit in underprivileged areas as well. And as an employer, we think the development of children is very important. Growing up in an environment where you are given opportunities will ultimately only make the world a better place.
By supporting the 'Plastic Bricks' project, we are not only stimulating education in Ivory Coast, but also working on a better environment. By recycling plastic bricks, schoolrooms are built. Currently, 1.6 million children in Ivory Coast do not attend school. With our contribution, many more children will be able to go to school. And that makes us proud.