By G9ija

Over 60 communities in Yobe, Kano, Kaduna, Kwara and Oyo states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are to benefit from an $85,000 grant that would enhance recycling and provide educational facilities in the communities.

The grant is from the Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF) to a non-governmental organisation, Aid for Rural Education Access initiative (AREAi), towards implementing a plastic recovery programme to promote community recycling efforts and boost the economic empowerment of women and environmental awareness across Nigeria.

The grant would be used to curb plastic pollution in the states through recovery and repurposing of 600 tons of PET bottles in 12 months. This is in line with the organisation’s pioneering initiative, EducationInBottles, which seeks to convert plastic waste into modular bricks for the provision of community learning centres for out-of-school children, particularly girls.

Periodic recycling activities will take place in the beneficiary communities where over 300 women would be recruited as waste pickers and sorters.

The women would be trained on financial literacy and environmental safety practices, equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and empowered through a trash-for-cash recovery scheme. Recycling stations would be instituted across the states – with public recycling bins distributed to strategic locations to drive effective recycling processes and activities in the various communities.

Thanking the Foundation for the grant, founder of AREAi Gideon Olanrewaju, said it would allow the NGO impact many lives.

“I would like to thank The Coca-Cola Foundation for providing us with this funding support at this crucial period.  Our organisation is passionate about how plastic waste can be recovered and diverted away from drainages, landfills and gutters. Through this support, we have been provided with the opportunity to promote recycling across communities which would no doubt allow us to advance our mission to repurpose plastic bottles to impact thousands of lives through our initiative projects,” he said.

Speaking on the grant, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Manager Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, said the initiative aligned with the company’s efforts to address plastic pollution while supporting women and girls in the communities to gain skills and education.

“Coca-Cola remains committed to addressing the issue of plastic pollution across the world. Our vision for a World Without Waste focuses on recycling and behavioural-change initiatives. We believe projects such as the Mission Zero Plastic by Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative are an effective means of working together to create shared value and deliver real change,” she said.