Zero Waste Ambassadors in Africa – building connections over difficulties

This year we kicked off our training programs a bit different. Despite the physical distance, network and language barriers, the participants felt that the connections made between people were one of the greatest assets of the training.

In February and March we held a 4-week online training course “Zero Waste Ambassadors” for community leaders in Africa. Each week there was a 5 h online session focusing on one or two key topics, which was followed by thematic homework. This helped to compensate the real practical side that we miss in online interaction. Participants could still exchange ideas and experiences, share concerns and laughs. Using the help of different tools, e.g. WhatsApp group, online group discussions and interactive tasks.
 
Stable internet connection is still a huge issue and many of our participants had problems taking part of the online sessions. Practical homeworks and recordings of sessions helped to grasp the training material despite it all.
Our participants had to
– conduct a waste and brand audit at home;
– create a short video of a local zero waste solution; and
– analyse the roots of different waste management problems in a group.
 
One example of problem mapping exercise done during the training
 

Online training courses are not ideal. Especially when technology doesn’t support it well enough. But travelling across different African countries poses even more obstacles. So it is probably thanks to the online training format that we were able to bring together participants from 13 countries. Among them: Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Mosambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Participants had various backgrounds – from NGOs and educators to companies and government agencies.

While Zero Waste is a journey with so many things to learn, we were able to make these first steps together. The most common feedback word given by participants to our training course was “eye opening”. We hope this spark for zero waste keeps on growing! And we are helping to keep it going!
 
Like last year we are organising two follow-up webinars. The participats chose the topics, but anyone interested can attend. Registration is requiredCLICK HERE to attend.
 
April 20th, 10.00-12.00 Central African Timezone (GMT-2)
 “Zero Waste solutions for low income communities”, special focus on Africa
 Confirmed speaker: Ana Rocha, Nipe Fagio (Tanzania)
 
May 19th, 10.00-12.00 Central African Timezone (GMT-2)
 “Biowaste treatment for low income communities”
Confirmed speaker: Enzo Favoino, Scuola Agria del Parco di Monza and Zero Waste Europe
 
The training was part of non-formal educational programme funded by Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to introduce and implement the Keep It Clean Plan. 
 
– Written by Kadri Kalle, Let’s Do It Foundation Program Manager (Policy & Education)

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