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Combating Climate Change Through Recycling

Women in Gambia’s largest metropolis are refurbishing non-organic waste into useful items to sell, reducing pollution and providing economic opportunities. Conscience International recently started the project to combat climate change through recycling, training women on how to transform trash into cash.

Fast facts:

  • 10 women directly benefitted, with 15 indirect beneficiaries
  • Recycled waste transformed into useful items
  • Plans to scale up fivefold

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The problem

Serekunda is Gambia’s largest city, lying west of the nation’s capital Banjul. Since Banjul is on an island, growth is being channeled to Serekunda. Small and disadvantaged Gambia, meanwhile, lacks the resources and capacity to institute proper waste management systems, which is contributing to pollution and sanitation problems.

The solution

This project is recycling durable waste items in Serekunda, such as plastics, shoes, bags, and empty containers. Women are trained to use readily available tools such as hammers, awls, and sewing machines to produce and refurbish items that they then sell. The recycling program began in June, 2013, and about 25 community members are currently involved.

Helping the planet

Recycling saves energy and prevents extraction of raw materials, helping to combat climate change. It also helps reduce waste, and therefore pollution. Recycling reduces environmental impact as a whole, contributing to a “green” mentality and more sustainable lifestyles overall.

Helping people

The project economically empowers local women – many of whom are single mothers – allowing them access to better healthcare and education. Recycling of solid waste also addresses the problem of litter, improving the quality of life where the trash collected.

Spillover effect


Conscience International is working with several non-governmental partners to increase the scale of the project – the current goal is fivefold. Gambia’s national development agency has also signed an agreement that would implement similar projects across Gambia.





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