February 15, 2018 By Memunatu Bangura
In a bid to empower women and youth in the country, Women’s Network for Environmental Sustainability (WONES), with funds from United Nations Development Programme, has trained slum dwellers to craft local bags, weaving, jewelries and tiles, using plastic and rubber waste.
The project tilled: Training women and youth in plastic production,’ attracted fifty participants drawn from Congo Town, Oloshoro, Crab Town and Juba bridge communities respectively.
Program Manager for WONES, Nabeela Tunis, said the network was formed in 2013 by a group of young ladies with the aim to essentially involve women and communities in environmental management and protection in Sierra Leone.
She stated that the project was funded by UNDP and that it targeted women and youth from various communities to get involved in environmental management at community level, by giving them skills on how to manage and recycle plastic waste.
According to her, plastic waste has been a serious problem in the country, which, she said, prompted her network to approach such problem through community innovation.
“We want to get community members actively involved in managing waste, get them involve in livelihood activity by collecting plastic waste and transforming it into something they could generate income from,” she added.
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Mrs. Tunis said after a careful assessment, these four communities were identified as vulnerable communities that needed support that is why they have decided to help them through waste management.
The Program Manager said she was expecting participants to make money out of waste and keep their communities clean and healthy.
One of the participants, Senor Mansaray from Congo Town community said she was happy to be part of the training because it was a way of helping them keep their environment clean and healthy and at the same time generate income from the waste.
Mansaray explained that she was taught how to make tile out of plastic water and promised to train other women in her community.
According to her, plastic waste has effectively destroyed the community and that they training was timely because it help reduced the amount of plastic wastage and make money.
Senor pledged to spread the knowledge she acquired across the country to develop decency and cleanliness in communities, gutter, and money to sustain herself.
Thomas Kallon from juba community, said the training would ensure that the cleanness of the city and help idle youths to secure jobs.
Dora Kargbo from Oloshoro community said t5he training has enlightened them about how to control plastic waste in their community which they use to make bag, tile to earn their living.
Expert in plastic recycling-Francis Gbondo said he has been involved in plastic recycling for over ten years and has trained over sixty groups from different communities across the country.
He said as an expert, he produces outdoor and inside tile, bags and other items from plastic waste.
Gbondo said he has been working with youths, women and organizations to improve the lives of Sierra Leoneans in plastic recycling.