Verdant

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Verdant: Cleaning Cameroon, one city at a time

Buea, CameroonBuea, Cameroon
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Verdant will contribute positively towards climate change through proper waste collection and disposal. Aim is to have zero litter in our schools, colleges, universities, student residential areas, starting with Buea community and subsequently expanding to other regions of Cameroon.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could impact our environment positively by having zero litter in our schools, residences and cities through waste collection, proper disposal and recycling waste to power homes, and make manure for our farms?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Inappropriate waste disposal, pollution and recycling of waste. Insufficient waste disposal systems installed in the communities. The existing service offered by Hysacam in association with the Buea rural council mainly collects waste along main streets and does not reach areas like schools, colleges, and densely populated communities Waste collected is dumped off without treatment thereby increasing danger to communities around disposal areas

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

Collection points for waste will be set up in schools, colleges, universities, hospitals and densely populated areas of the community. Initially, volunteers will be used to go into communities and sensitise through word of mouth, banners, and flyers on how important waste disposal is to our hygiene, health and environment Waste collection points will be set up with different collection bins for different types of waste – plastic, paper/pulp and wood, household/food waste, non-biodegradable waste. Waste collected at these points will be transported on a daily basis to Hysacam waste collection points using wheelbarrows – so as to avoid overspill of waste and further pollution around the waste collection points.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Aaron is a nine year old boy who lives in the suburbs. Everyone in the suburb dumps waste by Aaron's house. He took ill and was taken to the hospital; the doctor said it's because of pollution in the environment he lived in. When Verdant learnt of this, they cleaned the surroundings of Aaron's house and set up waste collection points in the area and emptied the cans daily. Due to this, not only was Aaron healthier but his community was clean. So too will our neighbourhoods, schools, hospitals, city and country. Aaron and other children can play without any danger of contracting diseases, water bodies will not be polluted through inappropriate waste disposal, and environment will be cleaner and safer

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The project is still in the ideas phase. I have always wanted to make a visible impact on my society. There is a knowledge and information gap on environmental degradation and climate change awareness and how our everyday activities contribute to these. Making the community aware that little things such as appropriate waste disposal could contribute in saving the planet, alternative use of waste material could be beneficial to the local communities and lead to healthier environment as a whole. A clean city will certainly attract new residents and business thus improving livelihoods. In the long run, Verdant will seek to employ innovative solutions to convert/transform the waste into energy sources such as cooking gas and into fertilizer to reduce implant of chemical fertilizers being used

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Partnership with Buea Council and Hysacam At the start - Setup collection points in schools, colleges, hospitals, and residential areas - Waste collected will be transported on a daily basis to Hysacam collection points using wheel barrows Going forward; - Partnerships will be signed with recycling companies to sell solid waste that can be transformed such as paper, plastics and other petroleum based products - Expertise will be sort to transform other waste into: Energy sources – cooking gas which will be sold back to the citizens; Natural fertilisers, which can be used for horticulture
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Initially, seek partnership with donor companies and organisations mainly: Buea Council to seek funding and designate collection points and Hysacam to help transport waste to dumping/treatment areas In the long run, waste will be segregated and sold to recycling companies. We will develop competence to transform household waste into cooking gas and manure which will be sold at cost-plus margin and be ploughed back into the business.

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

Hysacam and local councils mainly are currently addressing the issue; few recycling too. These are insufficient based on the growing population and increasing urbanisation rates in Cameroon. Water bodies are getting smaller and are polluted with household wastes. There is need for more organisations to help sensitise and clean the waste currently being disposed of. Besides, there are enormous income generation capacities these can provide and these will be exploited as we gain grounds and popularity in the communities. We hope to target bigger companies like Averda as strategic partners
Team

Founding Story

I am passionate about keeping the environment clean and saving the planet. Trees are being cut at a faster rate than are planted. When I visited the US and saw how clean neighbourhoods are, I thought we could do same if we had the will and push to be clean. I believe our contribution to saving the planet is to keep the environment clean. Absence of plastics and other solid waste in our schools, residencies and city will reduce rate of soil pollution. Promoting a greener city will attract more residents to the city which will generate economic opportunities. Above all, transforming the organisation into a business venture will employee citizens and contribute to emergence

Team

Yong Nain Tina: Founder Final year student at Catholic University Institute of Buea, majoring in Accountancy; Social entrepreneur and passionate about saving the planet and keeping our cities clean Ganseh Sama Eric - Adviser, Funder Social entrepreneur, experienced Finance expert. CFO, West & Central Africa and Vodacom Business Africa Co-founder, AEG & Partners llc and Emerald Group Cameroon Ltd Trustee and Chair of the Board of Vision in Action Cameroon Trustee of Research Centre for Environmental and Sustainable Development Fonge Peter Temate: Adviser Founder of Vision in Action Cameroon (www.viafcam.org) His breath of experience has seen him travel across many countries in Africa and beyond. His diversity and dedication will be vital at the initial phases of the project. Buea City Council (potential funding partner and adviser) Hygene et Salubrite du Cameroun Sarl (HYSACAM) - a waste disposal company currently operating in Buea. They have a fleet of trucks and waste disposal bins. They will be a strategic partner to the project. More partners are still being identified as mentors, advisers and funding partners

Comments

Mentor Dida's picture

Great work my friend,

Our environment is precious and we have to take care of it, because if we don't who will? I like how you plan to mobilize young people to do this. I encourage you to find a strong team and to really think of more innovative approaches to solve the root cause of the problem. Keep up the good changemaking work.

Here is my feedback, it might sound harsh but it is with good intentions.

Pitch:
Think of if you work on a 20 story building and you are with you an investor in that elevator, how would you pitch your idea? You talk about the problem but no statistics about how serious this problem is and what the solution is! Why is this important? And then in the end hint at the solution. Sell the problem then sell the solution.
What if:
I like them, think of combining them into one meaningful sentence.
Problem:
How big of a problem this is and find some statistics that say that. Why is this happening? Why is this not solved yet? What is the root cause of this problem? Ask people. Talk to 30 people who are having this experience and see what they think. It is VERY VERY important to understand the root cause of this problem.
Solution:
What kind of incentives or you are thinking making this a part of a class? I think the solution sounds great but it needs to be more focused on fixing the root cause of the problem, otherwise there will always be pollution and hence a need for students to segregate waste. See a ted talk called the Ugly Indian Movement to clean India.
Example:
I like how you are explaining the solution. But I think that Verdant to do that daily seems a little bit unlikely. Think of if you have 100 people who are like Aaron, every day 100 places are quite a lot.
Impact:
Think of how are you going to define success? How does success look like to you? How are you going to know you reached success? How are you going to measure progress? Set some milestones and goals.
Full impact:
Look for a repeatable and scalable model that is simple and powerful. Once that model is developed the full impact could be reached. This is a very strategic part. Think of creating a repeatable and scalable model that is simple to replicate and there is a source of revenue to keep it sustainable. Think of a vision statement, what would it look like 10 years from now if everything goes to plan? What will the impact be? What would you impact be? Set a vision that you want to accomplish and then everything that you do should be to reach that point. A cool vision statement that I like is from Oxfam: A just world without poverty. Think of something simple but also that makes you strive to achieve.
Sustainability:
I like your thinking about selling waste because you could make compost, you could have recyclable materials and so on. Think of also introducing new revenue sources and new ways to collect waste.
Marketplace:
Analyze better what others are doing. Are they looking to fix the root cause of the problem?
Founding Story:
I would suggest to start with more powerful words because through this story you want to convey that you really care about this and it is not something that as soon as it becomes hard you will quit.
Team:
The team is the most important part of this so focus a lot on building a great team. Think of having an advisory board as well.

Hi Dida,

I very much appreciate your comments and have taken out time to think through the entire project and process.

Please review the revisions I have made to all the sections and your further feedback will be very much welcome

Regards
tina