Here is the inspiring story of some Nigerian women who are turning waste into wealth under a waste-to-wealth programme initiated by the American University of Nigeria in Yola, Adamawa state.
Where you see trash, Aishatu Muhammed sees treasure. She is part of a group in the northeastern Nigerian city of Yola that has trained more than 300 women to recycle plastic waste into mats, bags and other colourful accessories, Reuters reported.
The Waste to Wealth program was started in 2012 by the American University of Nigeria.
Also now called Waste-to-Wealth and Yola EcoSentials (YES), the programme produces beautiful handicraft.
A sales exhibition by the women held on November 4 last year at the university.
Items exhibited include laptop bags, jotters, table mats, handbags, key holders, decorative bowls, penholders, mats, baskets, and purses.
This job has really helped me. Now I can pay my children’s school fees, I can buy food for my family and also help my relatives through this job.”
“We are working towards doing the right thing, so whenever we see plastic bags we pick them up; it has become a valuable thing now. Because of us there are few plastic bags in the streets compared to how it was before. The program has really helped.”
The bags sell for between N1000 to and N12,000, depending on size and quality.
The programme coordinator, Raymond Obindu said: “We’ve seen a single woman alone, make over 1.5 to 2 million Naira alone because she was extremely good; she has bought a land, she’s got a computer, she has trained her children in school, so we’ve seen the economic benefits the women are having so the money spreads that way.”
Obindu also said that the essence of AUN’s Waste-to-Wealth initiative is to change lives and clean up the environment.
“Plastic and other waste litter the environment; they don’t degrade or decompose. This exhibition is to say that these things can also create income.”
Women in Yola have been trying to revamp their economy after the seven-year campaign by Boko Haram militants disrupted their lives.