Innovation is taking place all around us every day as people keep figuring out smarter, safer and more convenient ways of achieving great objectives with fewer resources. RecyclesPay Educational Programme is one such idea which, if keyed into, could solve a lot of problems for society.
A brainchild of the African Cleanup Initiative (ACI), the programme enables indigent parents to pay for their children’s and wards’ school fees by gathering its equivalent in recyclables like plastic bottles, water sachets and cans.
A TechNext reporter reached out to ACI, a non-profit organisation, to get more insight about the RecyclesPay Educational Programme and they were only too happy to spread the word.
“RecyclesPay Educational Program is a project initiated by the African Clean Up Initiative due to the high-rise of children dropping out of school in Nigeria which is partly as a result of the inability of parents to pay the school fees of their children,” Blessing Martins, ACI Head of Communications says.
She noted that Nigeria is currently ranked as one of the countries with the highest number of Out of School children in the world and the RecyclesPay Programme simply aims to help send these children back to school.
Ms Martins revealed that about 70 pupils have benefitted from the programme. All 70 of them are from Morits International School in the heart of Ajegunle although the programme is set to kick off in several other schools from next term. The programme aims to keep at least 10,000 children in school by 2025.
It is imperative to note that the scheme is purely philanthropic, at least from ACI’s perspective.
“It’s just our own way of contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This project currently addresses at least 8 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”Blessing Martins, Head of Communications, African Cleanup Initiative.
African Cleanup Initiative isn’t alone in this project though as it has teamed up with several recycling companies like Ecoprune, Lasgidi Recyclers, Greenhill Recycling and WeCyclers, each handling different city zones targeted by the RecyclePay programme.
How it works
The programme works in a pretty straightforward manner. Parents deliver recyclables equivalent to their children’s fees to the school. The school, in conjunction with ACI representatives, will inspect and weigh the recyclables before handing over to the recycling firm assigned to the school who then pays the cash directly into the school’s account.
The Founder/Chief Environmental Officer of African Cleanup Initiative, Alex Akhigbe broke down the process thus:
“The cost of the school fees will determine the number of recyclables that is expected of a parent to bring to meet up with the fees of the child. The Recyclers we work with buy off the recyclables between 20 Naira per kg to 30 Naira per kg. For Example if a child’s school fee is NGN4,000, the parent of the child is expected to bring about 200kg of pet bottles at N20/KG or 160kg at N25/KG or 133kg at N30/KG.”
While it may seem like a lot of picking to be done, we all must agree that education cannot be too expensive and if picking up waste bottles and cans could pay for it, it really couldn’t get any cheaper.
Moreover, parents could decide to pay only part of their children’s school fees with recyclables if they so wish.
Furthermore, parents could decide to be proactive by picking more recyclables in payment for future school fees. This too is very welcomed as the ultimate target is to rid the environment of non-biodegradable materials and the faster plastic bottles and cans could be removed from roads and ditches, the closer to the target the project gets.
The programme kicked off earlier this year at Morits International School in Ajegunle. Mr Akhigbe explained that Ajegunle was selected for two main reasons. The first was purely educational while the other purely environmental.
“We noticed the high rate of children dropping out of school (in Ajegunle) due to their parents not being able to pay their school fees, leaving them at home doing nothing or street hawking while they should be in school.Alex Akhigbe, Founder/CEO African Cleanup Initiative.
“Then the (high) rate at which flooding occurs with water entering into homes because of blocked drainages filled with plastic bottles and improper waste disposal all around the community. Due to these (reasons), we decided to kick-start RecyclesPay Educational Project in Ajegunle first,” Mr Akhigbe explained.
A popular Igbo proverb says, if a road is very good, people would want to travel on it again. The RecyclesPay Educational Programme powered by the Africa Cleanup Initiative is one beautiful road everyone should take a lasting journey on.
The programme is showing us we could solve a number of severe problems in the simplest manners. It is certainly worthy of emulation.
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