Wi Yone Plastik empowers Sierra Leonean women to transform their relationship with plastic by engaging them in programs to transform waste into valuable building materials. Plastic waste affects everyone around the world, but in rural and resource-scarce areas, plastic waste can pose an even worse risk to human health. In most parts of Sierra Leone, there is no existing waste management infrastructure. Waste is littered in ditches or burned in backyards. Trash buildup can attract insects and diseases, including malaria-carrying mosquitoes. But burning waste, especially plastic, can release toxic pollutants, and people breathing these in see higher rates of respiratory illness, immune issues, and cancers. In rural Sierra Leone, women are typically the ones burning this waste as a part of their household chores and experiencing these negative consequences.
Our team wants to provide a safer way for women to dispose of plastic waste without compromising their health. To do so, we introduce community-led plastic waste collection programs combined with a health education curriculum to rural villages. We then transform the plastic collected using a low-cost method and locally available equipment with proven success in Sierra Leone’s urban centers. This process yields bricks, pavers, tiles, and other pre-cast construction materials that can be sold for a profit.
During the first phase of our pilot program, we launched waste collection and sanitation health education programs in Sogbini, Kpanda Kemo, and Jong Chiefdoms in Bonthe District. During our upcoming second phase, we will begin processing the 3,500 lbs of waste collected so far at our rural upcycling center. Your gift can help us expand our reach to two additional Bonthe District chiefdoms, Imperi and Yawbeko, while continuing our recycling facility's operations through June 2024! Creating these safe waste disposal options in rural areas dramatically impacts the health and happiness of women living there. With your support, we can deliver this impact to the 23,000 women in Imperi and Yawbeko chiefdoms while continuing to provide upcycling services and health education programming to the 53,525 women in Sogbini, Kpanda Kemo, and Jong Chiefdoms.