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Rwandan women making a difference at water treatment plant

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About 30 minutes’ drive outside Kigali, the tidy capital of Rwanda, past lush forests, marshland and makeshift roadside stores advertising their offerings on hand-painted signs, a group of women are quietly making history.

On a construction site next to the Nyabarongo River, the women are hard at work on a water treatment plant that will change the destiny of the country, as well as their own.

Florence Ntibazakwirwa spends several hours a day bending steel to precise angles, after which the metal is used to reinforce the structure of the buildings.

“This comes along with passion. Success has a lot to do with the commitment/urgency and passion you devote to your profession,” said the 30-year-old mother of one.

“If I manage to acquire a long-term contract in this project, I think in two years’ time I will be able to manage my own project, and to build my own house. I am looking forward to building a strong house, using my own skills, and this house will be a great example to other women.”

Florence is part of a group of 80 women on the site, as well as 421 men. In many ways, this is a landmark project, not least because so many women are involved in the construction process.

The Rwanda water treatment plant began construction in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2020. It will service 500,000 homes, businesses and factories. It is the first public-private partnership of its kind in the country. The African Development Bank financed about $18.87 million of the estimated cost of $61.42 million.

In Rwanda, water is more than a source of life. It is also an economic enabler, especially for women. According to researchers, the less time women spend walking long distances to fetch water, the more it frees them up to be gainfully engaged in economic activities.

Also Read Black Women Are Leading the Charge for Equity and Inclusion 

For that reason, water will be a major theme at the Global Gender Summit to be hosted in Kigali in November by the African Development Bank and the government of Rwanda. The topics include:

  • Water, sanitation and hygiene services – enabler for women and youth empowerment in Africa; and
  • Mainstreaming gender in water management.

The women at the plant are already feeling the benefits of their involvement in the water project.

“I enjoy being around my colleagues, especially the most experienced ones, because they offer me guidance. As a woman, I feel valued and proud to be in this profession, unlike before when it was known to be a man’s job only. I am grateful,” said Charlotte Nyirangarukiyimana, a carpenter.

She said her earnings at the plant had put her in a position to support her family and invest in her future, which includes buying a plot of land.

“This job has enabled me to pay school fees for my siblings…My plan is to go back to school to upgrade my skills, along with an increased income, then I can manage a full project on my own.”

AfDB

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Beta Glass Partners Wecyclers to Launch Cullet Trucks, Enhancing Recycling and Sustainability Efforts

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Beta Glass PLC, a member of the Frigoglass Group and the leading manufacturer of glass packaging, crowns and crates in West and Central Africa, has partnered with Wecyclers, an innovative waste management company, to launch a fleet of cullet trucks. This strategic initiative aims to enhance recycling efforts, promote sustainability, and reinforce environmental responsibility across Nigeria.

The official launch event took place on Wednesday, 22nd May 2024, at the Beta Glass headquarters in Lagos, marking a significant milestone and commitment by both parties towards a more sustainable future for Nigerians.

The new trucks will be instrumental in collecting and transporting cullet, the term for bottles and jars for recycling, from various collection points to the local production facilities of Beta Glass. By integrating these specialised trucks into the supply chain, both companies aim to increase the volume of recycled glass used in manufacturing, thereby reducing the quantity of virgin raw materials and minimising the environmental footprint.

Key Benefits of the Partnership:

  • Enhanced Recycling Efficiency: The cullet trucks will streamline the collection process, making it easier to gather larger quantities of glass for recycling,
  • Environmental Impact: By using more recycled glass in production, Beta Glass will reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Economic Opportunities: This initiative will create new job opportunities in the recycling sector, supporting local communities.
  • Public Awareness: The partnership aims to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and environmental stewardship among the Nigerian populace.

Commenting on this new partnership, Darren Bennett-Voci, CEO of Beta Glass, stated: “Our partnership with Wecyclers represents a significant step forward in our commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. The launch of the cullet trucks will not only enhance our recycling capabilities but also set a benchmark for the industry. We are excited to see the positive impact this initiative will have on our environment and our community.”

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Olawale Adebiyi, CEO of Wecyclers, further added: “Wecyclers is dedicated to providing innovative recycling solutions that empower communities and protect our environment. Partnering with Beta Glass to launch the cullet trucks is a testament to our shared vision of a sustainable future. We look forward to working together to foster a recycling and environmental awareness culture across Nigeria.”

The launch event featured a demonstration of the cullet trucks in operation, along with presentations from key stakeholders about the anticipated benefits of the initiative.

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The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship

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The Gender Mainstreaming Programme 2024 organized by the Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre aimed to close the gender gap in climate entrepreneurship. NCIC achieves this objective by collaborating with industry players, and stakeholders to drive and gain support for women in the industry, across Nigeria and the world at large. WeClimeEquallyWorkshop and the G-FIVE Business Accelerator by NCIC are the two instruments the organization uses to foster gender equality and climate-focused entrepreneurship. 

The Gender and Climate Workshop Event 

This Year’s WeClimeEquallyWorkshop 2024 with the theme: Equity and Sustainability Towards a Prosperous Future was held on Thursday 21, March 2024 at Four Points by Sheraton. The welcome address was led by Mr. Adamu, the Chief Operating Officer who represented Bankole Oloruntoba, the Chief Executive Officer, of NCIC. He emphasized the work of NCIC in championing projects that drive gender equality and entrepreneurship.

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 Mrs. Titi Oshodi, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Climate Change and Circular Economy rendered the Goodwill Message and raised the need for effective communication to spur the needed change as there are many communication nuances in the Nigerian landscape. Rendering the speech of His Excellency Babajide Sanwolu, Governor of Lagos state, Mrs. Oshodi plauded that the WeClimEqualityWorkshop provides a pivotal platform to exchange knowledge and amplify women’s voices and ensure their meaningful participation in climate and circular economy because there is a link between gender, women, and marginalization is essential.

The workshop also featured 4 expert paper presentations delivered by industry experts from KPMG, FC4SLagos, Fate Foundation, and academia. In addition, attendees were treated to an intriguing panel session on applying a gender lens to the triple Es of Employment, Environment, and Entrepreneurship. Following hours of interactions, attendees were allowed an opportunity to co-create practical strategies to infuse gender lens in organizational programming, policies, and framework. 

Green Females in Venture Enterprise Business Accelerator 

Building on some key outcomes of the #WeClimeEqually Workshop, 50 climate-focused women entrepreneurs entered a 4-day hybrid business accelerator program delivered in partnership with the Lagos Business School Sustainability Center. Core modules of the accelerator centered around sustainability, innovation, legal regulatory frameworks, business management, and grant writing amongst others. 

Additional program support included a nursery for mothers, accommodation, a virtual learning platform for long-distance learners, and bonding activities. Participants were also certified at the end of the program. The Gender Mainstreaming for Climate Entrepreneurship is sponsored by Climate KIC; Europe’s leading Climate Innovation and Irish Aid. To learn more about the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center Visit the website here https://nigeriacic.org/about-us/

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PayRetailers announces its expansion to Africa strengthening its presence in emerging markets

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PayRetailers Co-Founders (Image: Supplied).

PayRetailers, the leading payment processor for Latin America is pleased to announce its new expansion to Africa. With coverage across four countries, the company offers a unified payment solution that will be a game changer for cross-border online merchants looking at Africa as their next move for strategic growth.

To strengthen its presence in the continent, PayRetailers is activating its payment processing functions in Rwanda, Zambia, Uganda, and Tanzania. This will offer a simple, user-friendly, and scalable experience to businesses looking to grow their regional operations and give them access to major local methods like SPENN, Airtel, and MTN.

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This market is increasingly connected and mobile and destined for strong growth, which is why PayRetailers, in its mission to increase financial inclusion and continue supporting business growth in emerging markets, has decided to activate its networks in the region and drive this exciting era of prosperity.

Lorenzo Pellegrino, Chief Operating & Digital Officer at the fintech, states: “As a part of our strategic expansion, we are extending our coverage to four markets in Africa, at least to start with. Over the coming months, we plan to steadily expand our operation in the continent, which is experiencing incredible growth in the payments industry and has massive potential for merchants looking to diversify and broaden their consumer base. Using the stellar and continuous growth we have experienced in LATAM as our guide, we are well-poised to help businesses thrive faster and more sustainably.”

“We recognize the immense potential and significance of venturing into these dynamic markets,” adds Juan Pablo Jutgla, CEO of PayRetailers. “Each new addition to our market coverage is a gateway into untapped opportunities and strengthened partnerships, ensuring our sustained growth and global relevance. Our imminent expansion into additional countries across West, North, and Southern Africa underscores our commitment to empowering our clients and connecting them with diverse consumer bases across the continent.”

From May onward, businesses will be able to operate in the region using PayRetailers for their online users, representing a major milestone for its client portfolio and its innovation strategy for 2024.

To secure its standing in the African market, the company reveals further expansion plans already in stow for the coming months.

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