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Social plastics for economic development in Somalia

Plastic waste© Somalia Response Innovation Lab
The project aims to leverage the innovative approaches of Response Innovation Lab to co-create a sustainable business model in the domain of plastic waste recycling. The focus is to create alternative livelihood opportunities for the most vulnerable groups in Hargeisa, the largest city in Northern Somalia.

What is the challenge?

Somalia is a country plagued by prolonged civil conflict and political instability. It is also one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of plastic pollution. It has a long coastline and a growing population further exacerbating the volume of plastic waste generated each year. There’s a lack of centralized waste management, and much of the waste generated in the country ends up in the environment, where it causes severe impact on wildlife, pollutes waterways, and contributes to climate change. The result is environmental degradation, compromised livelihoods, and heightened vulnerability.

What is innovative about the project?

The project aims to engage youths, local communities, and private sector stakeholders in behavior change and plastic waste management, thus addressing both humanitarian and environmental challenges. By leveraging the Response Innovation Lab approach to humanitarian innovation, the partners will convene, matchmake and engage users and private sector stakeholders to co-create a sustainable business model for green jobs in Somali communities. Areas that will be explored may include the local production of WASH products, construction, and insulation materials using recycled plastics. While piloting the solutions, the innovation process will be documented using the Response Innovation Lab Evidencing Toolkit.

What are the expected outcomes?

The expected outcome of this project is to co-create locally-led innovative solutions around plastic waste, and provide alternative livelihood opportunities to the vulnerable communities. The project aims to offer alternative choices to high-level plastic consumptions and increase awareness towards the negative impact of plastics through a social behavioral change communication approach, that will be embedded in the entire innovation journey.

Who are the project partners?

The project is led by Engineers Without Borders Norway and World Vision Somalia, the lead agency hosting the Somali Resilience Programme (including Somali Response Innovation Lab).

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