AFRICA – UK-based Innovation foundation, Nesta Challenges, has announced the semi-finalists of Promoting Change, the final strand of the Afri-Plastics Challenge.

This marks the last leg of the Challenge after Strand 1: Accelerating Growth and Strand 2: Creating Solutions which were launched in July and October 2021 respectively.

The third and final strand of the Afri-Plastics Challenge, began accepting applications from 8 December 2021 and the parties have selected 30 semi-finalists from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

They are spread across Sub-Saharan Africa where the challenge aims to reduce marine plastics in Africa by developing and scaling innovative solutions to plastic mismanagement. For a full list of semi-finalists, visit HERE 

According to the organizers, the semi-finalists are developing campaigns, schemes, tools and other creative interventions that will change both the behaviour of individuals and communities around plastic waste in Sub-Saharan Africa.

They have used innovative engagement strategies such as gamification, incentives and storytelling, as well as provide insights into the roles that women and girls play across the value chain.

As part of the package, the contestants will receive capacity-building support to further develop their engagement strategies, alongside a grant of £5,000 each.

Meanwhile, fifteen finalists will then be selected in June 2022 to implement their ideas with support from additional capacity-building and a grant of £50 000. Finally, three winners in March 2023 will receive £250,000 each.

Adwoa Coleman, Afri-Plastics Challenge judge and Ghana Country Manager for Dow said, “Africa’s entrepreneurs and innovators are at the forefront of creating the solutions needed to scale plastics recycling and reduce the volumes of plastics entering the value chain.

“But their efforts will be for nothing without a groundswell of support from communities to make the circular economy for plastics a well-functioning reality. “

The challenge could not have come at a better time as the world’s ministers for the environment recently agreed to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee with the mandate to forge an international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution.

This legally binding global agreement on plastic pollution was the most significant environmental multilateral deal since the Paris Accord.

The resolution calls for a treaty which promotes sustainable alternatives to plastics and fosters international collaboration on access to technology, capacity building and scientific and technical cooperation.

Efforts made by a number of governments across Sub-Saharan Africa have given these countries a head start in combating plastic waste.

With the growing risks of inadequate plastic waste management, innovators, startups and established companies in Sub-Saharan Africa have an opportunity to showcase inclusive ideas to respond to plastic waste management issues through seeking gaps in the innovation landscape that can make a positive difference in both the environment and communities.

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