Empowering waste collectors

Jemimah Ndebele
In a significant move towards sustainability and community empowerment, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Namibia (CCBA) has joined forces with the Recycle Namibia Forum and Development Workshop to launch a pioneering recycling project called the Recycling Heroes project. This programme, aimed at enhancing the lives of waste collectors in Windhoek, Swakopmund, and Otjiwarongo, was officially unveiled on Tuesday afternoon at Taste Modern Eatery in Windhoek. The Recycling Heroes project is designed to provide 250 waste collectors with essential training, networking opportunities, and access to the recycling sector. Its overarching goal is to empower these individuals with valuable skills for income generation through recycling while fostering connections with reputable recycling companies. This, in turn, promotes a well-rounded ecosystem for waste utilisation. Comprehensive assistance Safety remains a paramount consideration throughout the programme, with CCBA in Namibia providing vital gear, including gloves, reflector jackets and sanitisers. One of the cornerstones of this initiative is the comprehensive recycling guide jointly developed by the Development Workshop of Namibia (DWN) and the Recycle Namibia Forum (RNF). This guide serves as the blueprint for the project, ensuring that participants are equipped to negotiate equitable prices for their final recycled products. Furthermore, each participant will receive a comprehensive training module and a curated recycling starter pack, setting them on the path towards entrepreneurship and ownership. This not only benefits individuals but also local authorities, contributing to cleaner communities and towns across Namibia while creating a sustainable income stream for currently unemployed individuals. Shared opportunity Enid Johr, the public relations and sustainability director at CCBA in Namibia, emphasised the company's commitment to driving positive change. "We have the scale and reach to make a real difference, and we're using our leadership position to help put our planet on a more sustainable path. We want our business and the communities we serve to benefit from greater shared opportunity," she stated. This initiative is part of CCBA's broader strategy to meet the target of recycling over 70% of the waste they introduce into the Namibian market by December. "It is not a secret that plastic is a problem and we acknowledge that we are part of that problem," Johr said. This collaborative effort between CCBA, RNF and DWN not only reflects a commitment to sustainability but also highlights the positive impact that corporate partnerships can have on local communities.