Women in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Yola are making a living from recycling plastic bags and using them to make accessories and usable household products like baskets for sale. The project aims at empowering members while at the same time reducing the number of plastic bags dumped indiscriminately.
“This job has really helped me. Now I can pay my children’s school fees, I can buy food for my family and also help my relatives through this job,” said Aishatu.
Residents in the country’s north-east are rebuilding after a seven-year bid by Boko Harm militants to create an Islamic state which uprooted 1.8 million people.
There is need to provide those who have returned home with skills and jobs to help revamp the economy here.
Initiatives like these help women find ways to earn an income and provide for their families.
The programme has trained over 300 women so far.
“We are working towards doing the right thing, so whenever we see plastic bags we pick them up; it has become a valuable thing now. Because of us there are few plastic bags in the streets compared to how it was before. The programme has really helped,” said Aisha Muhammed, another member of the recycling group.
Like in much of the continent, Africa’s most populous nation is still struggling to find efficient ways of managing waste generated by its 188 million people.
Raymond Obindu, is the group’s co-ordinator.
“We’ve made 7 million from the sales of these products that goes back to the women. So we’ve seen a single woman alone, make over 1.5 to 2 million Naira (4,700-6,276 U.S. dollars) alone because she was extremely good; she has bought a land, she’s got a computer, she has trained her children in school, so we’ve seen the economic benefits the women are having so the money spreads that way,” he said.
The project is also working on launching new training programmes that will see women work with various mediums like fabric to create more products in future.