Africa 2018 Finalists

Mohamed Abdirahman

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Plant a Tree, Plant Hope

Geed Beer, Rejo Beer (“Plant a Tree, Plant Hope”) is a youth-led campaign to restore hope in Somaliland. My country is suffering from an extreme drought, exacerbated by climate change. Famine is now widespread. Severe deforestation, primarily for the production of charcoal, is rapidly diminishing the small patches of forest that still remain. The need for action is urgent and so I have decided to lead the change. My big idea is to plant trees in cities while educating youth in schools and universities about the importance of forests and mobilizing them to participate in a nationwide reforestation programme. This will build on work that I have already undertaken to promote tree-planting at weddings, graduation ceremonies, and schools. My goal is to bring back the forests of Somaliland and foster a national culture in which caring for the environment is recognized by everyone as their moral responsibility.

Laari Hyginus

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Total Cleanliness: A Prerequisite to Worship

In Ghana, the two major religious bodies are: Christianity, forming 71.2%; and Islam, with 17.6% of the population. Apparently, there is no community leader who comes anywhere close to being able to influence their members as the religious leaders do on a weekly basis. My project aims to build sustainable partnerships with these religious societies in Ghana through an action campaign dubbed, “Total Cleanliness: A Prerequisite to Worship”, which will constantly call on the attention of members of these religious groups to relevant everyday practices that can enhance and increase fullness of life. Regional meetings and workshops will be held with these religious leaders across all the 10 regions in Ghana, to officially launch the campaign and as well; train, engage and establish with them routine sessions of the campaign during worship hours and as well, persistently advocate for its adoption as a national policy in the country.

Shady Rabab

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Garbage Music

As a passionate musician, designer and environmental activist, my dream is to bring together children working as garbage collectors in Luxor and teach them how to make their own musical instruments from trash and play music as a band. The project will empower children through the innovative use of waste, whilst using art and music as a medium to nurture relationships between communities, families and children. Furthermore, the project will promote waste recycling in the design and implementation of development projects to effect positive change in communities. We will provide free weekly classes to a stigmatized group of 70 children in Luxor who currently work as waste collectors. On self-made instruments, they will play together as the “Garbage Conservatoire Band” at various events in Egypt and beyond. Music will transform their lives and allow them to express themselves while fostering a sense of solidarity and community.

Winnifred Selby

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The 3T initiative

The triple problems of open defecation, plastic waste littering and street youth menace beset many communities in Ghana. An estimated 6 million Ghanaians defecate outside everyday because they have no access to toilet facilities. This exposes the public to 1000 tons of untreated feces left out in the open. Each year this untreated excreta kills thousands of Ghanaians. 3T is a for impact social enterprise that trains street youth and people with disabilities to rescue and up-cycle plastic bottles creating serious environmental havoc to build affordable micro-flush toilet facilities and roadside waterless urinals to help address the lack of adequate and accessible toilet facilities which are the major causes of open defecation in Ghana. Every toilet facility and urinal built by 3T reduces land pollution, creates employment and serves as a very visible reminder that plastic waste can often be put to good use long after its initial purpose has expired.

Kiara Nirghin

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No More Thirsty Crops

I live in Johannesburg, South Africa, which like other nearby countries, is suffering from the worst drought the region has seen in over 45 years. When my family and I were driving to the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, I was shocked to pass empty reservoirs that had previously always been full of water. This was the first of many times I witnessed the impact of drought on my community, and after further research, I learned about the devastating effects drought had on food and water security. I have developed a unique super-absorbent polymer that holds hundreds of times its weight in water when stored in soil. It is biodegradable, inexpensive and free of harmful chemicals, unlike the manmade materials currently used. The polymer, made entirely from waste products, improves the environment, increases the chance for plants to sustain growth by 84% during a drought and can increase food security by 73% in disaster-struck areas.