Daphine Kiconco, a teacher and environmental activist in Uganda, holds workshops for students on recycling and sustainability. “We sensitize these young children [to] the dangers of plastic pollution,” she says, “and also [think through] ways [to] recycle and upcycle plastics.”
Daphine’s workshops are sponsored by TRYBE Global, a community-based organization that she co-founded in Jinja, Uganda in 2019. Through TRYBE, Daphine hopes to mitigate the damaging effects plastic accumulation is having on Uganda. “Ours is an agricultural country,” she says, “and our produce has been decreasing in the past few years because of soil infertility, which is attributed to the poor disposal of plastics.”
Plastic pollution in Uganda
Uganda’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) reports that more than 39,000 tons of polythene bags and other plastic materials are improperly disposed of annually. This not only pollutes the ecosystem, but also directly affects topsoil, threatening Uganda’s agricultural industry which employs 75% of the population.
NEMA estimates that 4,700 acres of land is rendered infertile each year as a result of plastic pollution. While the numbers are alarming, Daphine hopes to push back with the help of the young people she speaks to.
TRYBE Clubs in school
The TRYBE workshops, currently held at St. Bernadette Primary School in Uganda’s Buikwe district, include lectures and conversations on important statistics, as well as hands-on activities.
“We hold events where students come up with their own ways of upcycling plastics,” Daphine says. “We also try to be responsible for our planet by forming sustainability groups, called TRYBE Clubs, in schools,” she says. The TRYBE Clubs focus on local-level, student-run methods for upcycling and recycling, with students devising projects and proposals for minimizing plastic waste in their school and community.
“They are very positive,” Daphine says of the children she works with. “It’s very important to sensitize the young generation. Our plan is to visit as many schools as possible. We aren’t giving up.”
Inspired? Read more Ideas for Action Stories.
Connect with Daphine and like-hearted others in the Idealists of the World Facebook Group.