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Sahara Group Boots Climate Protection With Project #Greenlife

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Lagos: June 21, 2019 – Are you living the #GreenLife? The answer to this question holds the key to the survival of almost 8 billion humans who reside on the planet that are faced with colossal environmental challenges. Regardless of the growing debates on how much danger climate change portends, or if it is merely some creation of doomsday prophets, Sahara Group believes a firm commitment to protecting our plant sustainably, should resonate with all who call Earth home.

Sahara Group’s commitment has inspired the adoption of the #GreenLife project which seeks to galvanise action towards tackling climate change through collaboration, recycling, capacity building, awareness raising as well as investment in clean, affordable and sustainable energy.

Climate change refers to any significant change in measures of climate, such as temperature, wind, and precipitation (rainfall and snow). These changes are caused by many factors including human activities like cutting down trees and burning fossil fuels that result in increased air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The effects of climate change can last for decades or longer.

“Climate Change is one of the most pivotal issues of our time and we are at a critical point. All across the world there are changes to our weather patterns that threaten food production, are leading to alarming rises in sea levels that pose the risk of life threatening and disastrous floods as well as soil erosion due to climate-induced flooding,” said Pearl Uzokwe, Sahara Group’s Director of Governance and Sustainability.

Also Read The Total Addressable Market for technology startups in Nigeria is 36,000,000 People – Tochukwu Egesi

According to her, the situation would require immediate attention and a multi-faceted approach that “gives every occupant of planet earth a good shot at healthy living and the opportunity to create a healthier planet to sustainably support all forms of life.”

Uzokwe said Sahara Group’s #GreenLife project would involve recycling to promote a circular economy, upcycling, sustainable training, recycling for mother and child care, and access to clean energy initiatives.

“At Sahara Group, we have commenced an extensive recycling programme at our various offices as well as certain communities we operate within to drive environmental protection.  We will be commencing with the recycling of paper, plastic and aluminum in our offices. Our aim is to promote a circular economy aimed at minimising waste and making the most of our resources. For environmental sustainability, the recycled waste collected will be converted into fibre, tissue paper and PET pellets for continued use.”

The Upcycling project will focus on the collection of discarded tyres creative remodelling into sustainable eco-friendly products such as ergonomically designed chairs for schools in the energy conglomerate’s host communities. The Joraf Gate school in Ijora, Lagos, Nigeria will be the first beneficiary of this upcycling project.

“In addition to spearheading the collection of materials for upcycling, Sahara Group, working in collaboration with several partners including Pearl Recycling will train indigenes of our host community in Ijora to upcycle waste products such as tyres and convert them into furniture, equip them with tools and set them on a path to sustainably train others in the community including students in a manner that helps tackle climate change whilst providing economic empowerment,” Uzokwe explained.

The Recycling for Mother and Child Care activity will focus on partnerships with healthcare providers and local community schools to offer maternal and child care in exchange for plastic collected by the beneficiaries. “Our primary focus will be on ensuring that the pupils at designated schools are given the option to offset the cost of all vaccinations up to the age of 5 and that mothers are offered credit to offset ante-natal care in exchange for plastic collected. We are hopeful that the pilot project in Nigeria will become a template for replicating other interventions across Africa.”

– Sahara Group

 

NGOs - SDGs

Mentoring The Girl Child: Interview With Ebella Whajah Ellis, A Girl Child Advocate

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Ebella Whajah Ellis is a Visionary and Founder of Girls With Purpose Foundation – a non-profit organisation focused on helping Ghanaian young girls discover their individual identity, and creative gifts by developing qualities that will help them become leaders and contributing members of society. She describes herself as a Financial Advisor, Girl Child Advocate for Mathematics and Science, Motivation and Mindset Mentor. In this interview with  Alaba Ayinuola, Ebella spoke about her strong passion for motivation and at her leisure time mentor and train the youth most especially the girl child on Financial Education and Mindset building. Excerpt.

 

Alaba: Tell us about your Foundtion, “Girls with Purpose” and the gap its feeling?

Ebella: We are dedicated to providing positive mentorship, community interaction and recreational activities that inspires self-confidence, build self-esteem, friendships, nutritional health and integrity in the hearts of our girls.

The purpose of our foundation is to help young girls discover their individual identity, and creative gifts by developing qualities that will help them become leaders and contributing members of society.

Gaps:  We believe lack of rule models and adult influences can negatively impact the self-esteem of young girls. As a result, to help curtail these issues, Girls With Purpose Foundation, was established as a solution to the need for Mentorship among girls in the community and to address the challenges most girls face.

 

Alaba: How are you funding this initiative?

Ebella: By myself only, from my monthly salary.

 

Alaba: How does your organisation measure the impact?

Ebella: A lot of mentorship and empowerment programmes are organized in the area of EDUCATION, PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENURSIP. We have mentored over thousand young women, who gives us positive feedbacks.

Our organization also tackles inequality by supporting women and young girls to go to school and succeed, and empowering them to step up as leaders of change. We have donated over 500 educational items (Pens, Pencils, Erasers, Sharpeners, Mathematical sets etc) to final year basic students sitting for their final examination in the Northern part of Ghana. This was greatly appreciated by the students since most of them couldn’t afford it.

 

Alaba: What are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?

Ebella: The biggest challenge is lack of funds, since the only resort is my salary. Getting sponsorship and support for our projects is very difficult. For instance, this year we were looking to reach as many girls as possible through operation “SAVE OUR GIRLS OUTREACH(SOGO)” Programme, but only about three hundred school girls (between ages 9 to 15years) have been reached. We want to be able to reach out to many girls as much as possible but not only those in the cities but rural and deprived areas as well. We really need help as much as possible so no girl is left out, whether far or near.

 

Alaba: What inspires you and keeps you going?

Ebella: The fact that I know that someone has learnt from me positivity, skill sets that will influence them in a good way, create strong self –esteem and build their future.

Also Read Lillian Barnard: Tech Enthusiast And First Female Managing Director, Microsoft South Africa

Alaba: What advice would you give to potential social entrepreneurs who intend to start an initiative or invest in Africa.

Ebella: Your limitation- Its only your imagination. Anyone can go as humanly far as they want in life.

Social Entrepreneurs play crucial roles in development projects, often mobilizing, organizing and building projects that otherwise would never have launched. I would encourage potentials to join the cause of motivating, inspiring, empowering, educating, training etc

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Alaba: What’s the Future for Girls With purpose and what steps are you taking in achieving them?

Ebella: Girls With Purpose(GWP) will be the most preferred go to hub for passionate devotion in mentoring the girl child/ young women to find purpose in life, standout and succeed.

We are keeping an active social media account, since due to the wide spread of technology and digitalization many more girls can be reached and will enable them reach us with very pressing needs and issues. We don’t want them to feel lonely but have someone to discuss and find solutions to their problems. This will intend require donations, volunteering and other forms of support from companies and individuals in positions to assist.

We will also be travelling to places especially rural areas who will need a lot of our support. We need to encourage girls in such remote areas to aim high and that they have potential and can make it.

  

Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?

Ebella: I relax by keeping my phones away from me and working out in the gym relaxes me. The last book I read is THE BOLD NEW NORMAL by Lucy Quist So I would say I read a lot more inspirational books.

 

Alaba: Teach us one of your home language. Whats your favorite local dish and holiday spot in Africa

Ebella: Akwaaba- meaning you are welcome! My favorite local dish is Fufu and Palmnut Soup. And Aqua- Safari in Ada is my favorite holiday spot in Africa.

 

Her short Bio:

Ramat Ebella Whajah Ellis is a Seasoned Banker with a considerable level of experience in Banking. She has such experience in Cash Management, Branch Operations, Sales and Marketing, Business Advisory, Relationship Management, Team lead, Customer Service, Credit and Risk Analysis etc. She is currently a Branch Manager in one of the Banks in Ghana

She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Finance as well as Charter/Professional Qualification in Financial Planning.

She is the Visionary and Founder of Girls With Purpose Foundation. She has a strong passion for motivation and at her leisure time, she like to mentor and train the youth on Financial Education and Mindset building.

In short, she describes herself as a Financial Advisor, Girl Child Advocate for Mathematics and Science, Motivation and Mindset Mentor. Research, reading, travelling with my family and offering support where she can be, are what she does in her spare time

She does live by the saying “YES YOU CAN!”

 

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A Pyramid Approach To Solving Lagos’ Waste Challenge

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Lagos, Nigeria

To solve Lagos’ waste challenge, Sahara Foundation has engaged key leaders, religious authorities and government representatives in each community, sensitising them on the urgent importance of proper waste disposal. They are in turn expected to spread the education to the rest of their communities, writes Solomon Elusoji

On a recent damp Thursday morning, elite residents of Ijora-Oloye, a slum community around west Africa’s busiest port in Lagos, converged on their town hall to talk about waste management. The community, with its network of weather-beaten roads and low, ramshackle houses was riddled with filth. Residents said the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and its retinue of trucks do not come into the community to collect waste, so they resorted to piling up rubbish in gutters, verandas and a nearby underbridge. This is a fairly common problem in Lagos; in 2017, a hiccup in the state’s waste management operations resulted into thousands of Lagosians dumping their waste on the streets, blocking major roads and polluting the air with repulsive smells.

The convener of the Ijora-Oloye meeting was Sahara Foundation, the CSR arm of Sahara Group, an energy conglomerate with business interest across 38 countries. The foundation said it is invested in, among other things, the environment and sustainable development, and wants to turn the community into a recycling hub. “We have an office here (Ijora-Oloye),” Director for Governance and Sustainability at Sahara Group, Pearl Uzokwe, said, “and we’ve looked around and realised there is a waste management problem”.

Sahara’s plan to clean up the community by engaging the key influencers – community leaders, religious authorities, government representatives – in the community, sensitising them on the urgent importance of proper waste disposal. Sahara Foundation’s Manager, Oluseyi Ojurongbe described it as “a mindset orientation”.

The influencers are then expected to spread the education to the rest of the community. “We have town criers who can go round and inform others”, a Baale of the community, Tajuden Igbalaye, who attended the Thursday meeting, said. What Sahara is doing “is a very good program, we want them to do more”.

Apart from sensitising, Sahara is also partnering two environment companies, EcoPrune and Pearl Recycling, to train the community on how to collect, sort and package waste products for delivery, which can then be exchanged for healthcare services. But they are starting with one person in the community, who is set to become a certified upcycler. “The person is supposed to cascade the training down to other members of the community”, Ojurongbe said. “It’s like a pyramid”.

Sahara Group in partnership with Ecoprune during the inaugural exercise in Ijora, Lagos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Changing World

Climate Change is transforming the world. The United Nations has described it as “the defining issue of our time”. The oceans are warming and ice packs in Antartica are melting, but the quantity of greenhouse gases in the environment, due to intensive industrialisation and deforestation, continues to rise. The future of planet earth is at stake.

The problem, however, is that the rise of greenhouse gases is inextricably tied to better lives for more people across the world. No government wants to stop building houses or making cars to save the earth. But by reducing and reusing components of production, experts believe the significant increase in global warming can be arrested.

Lagos, perhaps west Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, generates about 13,000 metric tonnes of waste daily. But most of it is not properly disposed, talk less of recycled. When it rains, people dump their refuse in flowing gutters, inadvertently blocking drainages, leading to massive flooding. Sometimes, most parts of the state resembles an abandoned landfill.

To tackle the problem, droves of environmental startups have been founded offering innovative approaches, but government intervention remains key. The city’s immediate past administration introduced the ambitious Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) to provide an all-encompassing solution, but the program failed to get traction.

Meanwhile, corporate organisations like Sahara are also weighing in. This June, the group launched its Green Life project, a social responsibility initiative that seeks to contribute to solving problems related to climate change, including Lagos’s perennial waste problem.

Also Read UN Economic Commission for Africa kicks off National Seminar in Lagos

Committed for the Long Run

At the Thursday meeting, Ecoprune’s Co-founder, Sandra Onwuekwe, delivered a presentation before the community representatives. She linked the locals’ arbitrary disposal of waste to flooding and ill-health. She also displayed a variety of recyclable waste products, such as plastics and cartons, then reminded them about the healthcare services they could receive. Later, founder of Pearl Recycling, Olamide Ayeni-Babajide, gave a similar speech, too.

It is not yet clear how successful the healthcare incentive will be but a similar scheme in Ajegunle by Africa Cleanup Initiative, which allowed people to exchange plastics for educational services, has been deemed successful.

Cleaning exercise in partnership with Ecoprune

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ojurongbe said one way the foundation will track progress is by measuring the number of trips being made to the community’s healthcare centre and determining how much flooding has been curbed in the area.

After the Thursday meeting ended, members of the Sahara Group and its environmental partners rolled up their sleeves and picked up rakes to clean up parts of the Ijora-Oloye community.

“This is not going to be a one-off, it is going to be continuous,” the Sahara sustainability chief, Uzokwe, said. “We look at it as something that can be built on. It is just the beginning. So we are looking for partners and collaborators. We believe we can’t do it alone, but we will not stand on the sidelines.”

Credit: THISDAY

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Dar stages charity walk for safe delivery

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THE Amref Health Africa partnered with the Azania Bank Limited (ABL) over the weekend in Dar es Salaam for a charity walk aimed at deployment of more midwives to assist for Safe Delivery.

Dubbed ‘Stand Up for African Mothers’, the event was graced by the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu, who represented Vice President Samia Hassan on the day.

Addressing participants at the event, Amref Health Africa Tanzania Country Director Florence Temu said this year’s campaign was specifically conducted to raise awareness to the members of the public about the importance of having skilled midwives to assist in the safe delivery of pregnant mothers.

“Our main goal is to raise 1bn/- for the period of three years beginning this year which will be used to make sure that enough midwives are deployed in various health centers countrywide who will be tasked to facilitate safe delivery of pregnant mothers before and after giving birth,” she said.

She added that midwives play a key role in providing quality health care services hence called upon stakeholders both public , private sectors and development partners to continue to contribute towards meeting this goal in order to save lives of mothers and children in different health facilities across the nation.

In his remarks, ABL Managing Director Charles Itembe said the bank will continue to support health sector as part and parcel of fulfilling its corporate social responsibilities.

“Women play a key part in social and economic development that is why we have stepped on board to help in reducing high maternal mortality rates among them,” he said.

He then lauded Amref for being on the front pedal to enhance improvement in critical areas such as health and education.

Also Read Women in Africa’s energy sector need to be intentional about their growth – Lucciano-Gabriel

Article first published on https://www.dailynews.co.tz/news/2019-07-015d19e9e30e269.aspx

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