World Clean Up Day Celebration, Investing in Nigerian Youths

Nigerian Youth Corp Members in Ikeja Local Government Area, Onigbongbo, numbering more than 500 and representing different tertiary institutions converged at their place of primary assignment, to celebrate the World Clean Up Day on September 16th, 2023.

We admonished them on strategies for earning as new labour market entrants, as they explore their potentials to harness Africa’s vast resources in expediting the development of communities, state and national economic systems.

Participants were introduced to the business of recycling as a tool for environmental sanitation and protection, also as an avenue for livelihood creation, which is the reason why Empowering Collectors Initiative was borne. The 1-day event focused on enhancing the behavioral pattern of picking up plastics for a cleaner earth, igniting bolstering resilience against poverty, idleness and global employment challenges, while ensuring environmental and economic security.

Nigeria in particular, is confronted by a multitude of challenges, not limited to climate change, biodiversity depletion, pollution, conflict, migration, external crises and shocks. Furthermore, regulatory impediments, inadequate funding and infrastructure deficiencies compound these issues. A prevailing theme is the necessity for collaborative efforts, such as that of Growing Businesses Foundation and the Coca Cola Foundation to achieve the shared vision of equitable, prosperous, resilient youths and sustainable economic systems for them. In addition, it is clear that this initiative aimed at transforming youths aligns with the overarching vision of Empowering Collectors Initiative, which is to; 

  • Promote and project the transformational opportunities of Plastic Recycling – Recycling is not only a more sustainable option for waste management, but also an effective tool for job creation. The economic value of plastic waste is 0.9$/kg, an equivalent of $1.7Billion in economic activity if the plastic waste can be collected and recycled successfully.
  • Mainstream Women and Young People for prosperous outcomes – Recognizing the need for heightened efforts to improve work opportunities particularly for women and youths.
  • Prioritize Knowledge Sharing and Community– Emphasizing the significance of evidence-based strategies, collaborative partnerships, and knowledge exchange in the transformation of bottom of the pyramid entrepreneurial systems and the sustainability of livelihoods at community level.
  • Improve Disposal & Collection Behavior: Behavioral analysis reveals that Nigerians are generally not pro-environment, driven towards resource conservation, and regard waste collection jobs as less dignifying.
  • Expand Access to Finance – recognizing that government resources alone cannot suffice, collaboration and increased private sector investments in program like ECI were stressed to complement the efforts of governments, multilateral organizations, and development partners.

Additionally, the Growing Businesses Foundation capitalized on the event to donate PPE materials like waste bags, boots, hand gloves, nose mask to support cleanup activities as well as a mobile waste bin.

These insights represent only a fraction of the World Clean up celebration activities, it is eagerly anticipated that these Youth corp member will translate the sessions outcomes into tangible actions for the betterment of Nigeria’s recycling ecosystem and by extension, global environmental sustainability.

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