New fashion life for plastic bags

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New fashion life for plastic bags

Berkane, MoroccoBerkane, Morocco
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Scaling
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The plastic bags polluting Moroccan landscapes are collected by the population, cleaned and brought to craftswomen, who turned them into fashion, ethic and ecologic accessories, by using a traditional weaving method.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Moroccan environment is deeply polluted by plastic waste. Every year, each Moroccan people uses 9kg of plastic bag! There is no selective sorting and collection of plastic, and open burning at landfills releases high level of chemical gas in the air. People are not aware of the risks for their health caused by throwing plastic bags and waste into the nature, and there is a real lack of environmental education.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We set up environmental awareness-raising campaigns at schools and give the children several classes about environmental education. We launch outdoors activities involving adults and children, as cleaning campaigns, environmental sensitization or discovery of local biodiversity. Plastic bags collection boxes are put in schools, in the eco-families, in drugstore and in dry-cleaner's. These bags are collected, cleaned and brought to craftswomen, who turn them into fashion accessories by using a traditional weaving method. These women were originally very poor and jobless: they are given professional trainings and literacy classes to help them to become financially self-sufficient and to improve their self-esteem.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Halouma, craftswoman working with ADF since 2008: "At the beginning we were 9 women who wanted to have a professional activity. Thanks to ADF we created a cooperative, which I lead. Today 14 women work regularly. ADF gives us professional trainings and we master the weaving method. We can use a building to meet up, offered by the village and renovated by ADF, and we attend literacy and maybe soon French classes there. Thanks to this organization we work whenever we want, mostly at home on our pace. This work has considerably improved our lives. We can now buy new clothes and gifts to our children."
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Several NGO and local authorities work on environmental and women empowerment issues, but ADF is the only one who develops an integrated solution: the fight against plastic pollution leads to rural women empowerment. The collection of plastic bags which are brought to the craftswomen as raw material drives environmental awareness-raising campaign for the young generation. ADF’s project is also both ambitious for women and respectful from the classic functioning of the rural Moroccan family: the women can work at home or in a building dedicated to them, and at their pace.
About You
Organization:
Association du Docteur Fatiha
About You
First Name

Faiza

Last Name

Hajji

About Your Project
Organization Name

Association du Docteur Fatiha

Organization Country

, OUJ, Berkane

Country where this project is creating social impact

, OUJ, Berkane

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

I am from Berkane, north-east Morocco, and I was always affected by the deep plastic pollution, children playing in landfills, the lack of environmental awareness and the poor rural women situation. I have imagined a weaving method based on a traditional know-how, using plastic bags and a local plant called alfa. I created a NGO which leads environmental awareness campaigns and help women to get professional trainings, literacy classes and an income generating activity. We created a brand of fashion accessories made from plastic bags, IFASSEN. Today, we sell our products in Morocco and abroad, and we want people to understand how important sustainable development is, and how it can become a driver for local and durable economy.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Waste.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

Our two target groups are children and poor rural women.
The young generation will lead the change for a sustainable world. They need to get environmental education to understand the real issue of sustainable development. We involve them at school and by collecting the plastic bags.
Poor rural women need to redefine their role in the community. By offering them trainings and job opportunities, we help them to become more financially self-sufficient.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Since 2011, we have reused more than 25 000 plastic bags.
We intervene in 6 different schools. More than 400 children attended our environmental awareness campaigns in 2013.
More than 200 adults took part in our outdoors activities.
More than 100 women got professional trainings and free literacy classes. 58 from them work regularly with us. We helped them to organize themselves in cooperatives.

Our objective is to continue and improve our actions the on field. We will foster all our environmental education activities, involving more schools and children and spreading at a regional scale. We want to work with more women, improve our production and become a reference as fair trade brand.
Our NGO is building a green community center with a green and social business incubator to build young entrepreneurs' capacities and give them tools to launch their projects.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

We want to spread our projects at regional scale by involving new women cooperatives and increase our environmental awareness campaigns in more schools. In 2014, we will work with 1 or 2 new groups of women and 6 new schools.
We want to grow IFASSEN brand and make it a known ethical and ecological reference.

Building the green community center will allow us to reach new target groups from the poorest neighborhoods of Berkane and offer them a place to meet and work together. This business incubator will give young entrepreneurs tools and advices to help them to develop green and social ideas.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

For now, ADF depends mainly on international and local funders.
We want to be financially sustainable by selling our products. This is why we seek to increase partnerships with shops and that we develop our own e-shop. All the money from the sales is totally reinvested in ADF activities.
We communicate a lot about our products and we start to be known around the world as an ethical and ecological brand.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

ADF Global and IFASSEN were my first entrepreneurial initiative. I started this project when I was graduating university. Thanks to the program Start Up Chile I have launched a new project called Ebatuta in February 2013. This is an intuitive social network that connects local producers (crafts, cosmetics, etc.), buyers that are willing to help customers to access to their local markets and travelers looking for unique and locally-made souvenirs.