Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Tree-planting and re-using waste that otherwise would be burnt, causing it to emit carbon dioxide and other gases, are G-lish’s contribution to reducing green-house gas emissions.

In August alone basket production consumed 8000+ plastic bags.

Here is an extraordinary statistic: If G-lish produces 1000 baskets a month (a five year target), they will support between 150-350 craftspeople and consume over 2 million (yes, million!) plastic bags per year in basket production. They will also plant 12,000 trees a year, minimum.

Since the Ghanaian government does not look like banning plastic rubbish anytime soon (although we certainly hope they do this in the fullness of time) we feel this is a good way to use the waste. Each basket uses over 220 pure water bags!

Our vision is that we create our own “green belt” across Ghana as we grow and others join our mission and support hundreds of families to improve their quality of life, while improving the quality of life on our planet too. If you’re interested in knowing more, you can contact godwin@g-lish.org

If you are in Ghana but somehow missed the baskets at Trashy’s Accra shop (because they sell quickly), email Godwin and he may be able to help you out if he has some in stock.

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G-lish Foundation Wins Seed Initiative Award

SEED 2010 Winners Logo
SEED 2010 Winners Logo

G-lish Foundation is delighted to announce that, from among 1000 submissions to a short-list of 80, G-lish Foundation was selected as one of the 30 international winners of the 2010 SEED Initiative Award.

G-lish thanks the SEED Initiative and all its partners, as well as Trashy Bags in Accra, Ghana for the early and ongoing support.

Direct from the UNEP Press Release:

The SEED Awards recognise inspiring social and environmental entrepreneurs whose businesses can help meet sustainable development challenges. By helping entrep

reneurs to scale-up their activities, the SEED Initiative, which is hosted by UNEP, aims to boost local economies and tackle poverty, while promoting the sustainable use of resources and ecosystems.

This year, in addition to seeking innovative start-ups throughout the developing world, the SEED Awards had a special focus on Africa, placing particular emphasis on initiatives from South Africa, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal. This focus was part of a larger project linked with UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative and was funded largely by the European Union.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said:” The SEED Award winners exemplify the strong spirit of entrepreneurship in t

he developing world and its significance in creating a Green Economy. While the Awards recognize individual outstanding projects, governments must also show leadership in supporting grassroots efforts through diverse and dynamic standards, forward-looking policies and incentives to further catalyze corporate and community-led change.”

All the SEED winners will be honoured at award ceremonies in their home countries. The prize they will receive from SEED is a package of individually-tailored support for their business. This includes access to relevant expertise and technical assistance, meeting new partners and building networks, developing

business plans and identifying sources of finance. SEED will furthermore contribute towards meeting each winner’s most immediate needs by contributing to a jointly developed support plan.

The 2010 call for proposals saw applications from just under 60 countries, representing the collaborative efforts of non-governmental organizations, women’s and youth groups, labour organisations, public authorities, international agencies and academia. While most of the applications were in the agriculture and rural development sector, many entries addressed issues around climate change and energy, the conservation of biodiversity, and waste management. The selection of the winners was by an independent International Jury of experts.

The winners from Ghana are truly inspiring. The other winners are:

1. Income Generation Programme

Goal:

  • Enable individuals to earn sustainable incomes through the production of art and craft using environmentally friendly materials.
  • Enable individuals to save for important expenses
  • Give individuals opportunities to explore their creative potential and develop new viable products
  • Pay prices that are considered fair under WFTO fair trade principles
  • Implement WFTO fair trade principles
  • Find new markets for the sales
recycled Bolga basket

recycled Bolga basket

How:

  • Training in money management practices and formalizing “susu” saving groups
  • Providing materials and remuneration for creative exploration
  • Providing samples of alternative work that can be developed using existing techniques thus expanding range of skills and creative ability
  • Assess fair trade standards and prices and pay accordingly
  • Tap into our existing network of contacts to develop new markets

We are happy to report that, before we began training, some individuals took it upon themselves to begin their own “susu” savings (micro savings) in their respective homes. We’ll explain this further in a separate document.

We have designed this programme along WFTO fair trade principles so that, in future, when we have the money and a documented track record, we can apply for fair trade certification to formalize the organization as a fair trade organisation. Meanwhile, we are implementing the principles one by one and shall outline this in more detail in future reports.

 

2. Environmental Regeneration and Conservation

Ghana’s current population is estimated to be about 23 million people. Half of this number (11.5 million) consumes at least one sachet of pure water per day. The average weight of one empty sachet is 3.5 grams. That equals 38,500 kilos of plastic waste a day, or 38.5 tonnes.

90% of Ghana’s forest cover has been lost to logging since 1957.

Goal:

  • Ensure environmental conservation
  • Ensure environmental regeneration
  • Increase knowledge of the benefits of raising trees
  • Increase knowledge of the detrimental effects of polluting the environment including the impact of rubbish and also “galamsey” (illegal gold mining—which happens in this area) on health of humans and ecosystems.
  • Educate on the basics of climate change awareness and its impact on rural, agricultural communities
  • Implement the “One basket – one tree” programme
Carrying seedlings

Carrying mango seedlings for planting

How:

  • Using plastic bags that are littered everywhere in communities in the production of craft and art. This helps reduce the harmful effects of plastic waste and pollution on local eco-systems.
  • Using scrap cloth to create craft and art together with the plastic rubbish
  • Planting trees as a multi-pronged approach to environmental regeneration and community engagement.
  • Workshops to explain the effects of pollution and potential effects of climate change in future
  • Community will plant one tree for every craft item they produce
Basketmaker and dry-season environment

Basketmaker and dry-season environment

This will have environmental, social and economic benefits to the community:

  • Improve the vegetative cover of the savannah zone and stem desertification
  • Reduce the threat of climate change by reducing green house gases
  • Create sources of food, nutrition, shade and shelter (community rest and meeting places) for years to come

Statistics for recycled basket production: One basket consumes a minimum of 230 sachet bags and half a kilo of scrap cloth. One basket leads to the reduction of plastic waste in Ghana by 595 grams, or just over half a kilo and half a kilo of cloth.

In addition, to make the tree planting a success we involve local community groups as well as the crafts people in the planting and upkeep of the trees. To date, the groups have been extremely helpful and supportive.

350 "pure water" plastic bags cut and ready to twist

350 "pure water" plastic bags cut and ready to twist

3. Basic Health Awareness and Info Access

Goal:

  • Raise awareness of common health-related problems that afflict rural, poor communities in Ghana and give the communities the means to find solutions to the problems.

Major challenges:

  • Lack of knowledge about basic diseases and prevention
  • Lack of access to medical help
  • Lack of ability to pay for health care.
Basket makers with their children

Basket makers with their children

Areas requiring awareness raising include

  • Organizing immunization against preventable diseases
  • Classes on preventative health practices such as sleeping under mosquito nets and preventing bites, washing hands with soap, keeping children and babies as clean as possible.
  • Gynecological health, common diseases, and healthy practices
  • Sexually transmitted diseases and prevention
  • Common digestive ailments and solutions
  • Common urinary ailments and solutions
  • Common muscular ailments and solutions
  • Common skeletal ailments and solutions
  • Common viruses and solutions
  • Common infections and solutions

“The Tree Bank”

Not all members of the community are involved in craft production but they still require access to funds for health care. To cater to everyone in the community, we are designing a programme that may be able to accommodate everyone where we operate.

The concept is that individuals have the option to access financing for basic medical assistance up to a capped amount (yet to be finalized). If the amount exceeds this we will consult with all involved to find a solution.

The underlying philosophy is to support traditional community networks and encourage community involvement by empowering the community in the aid of its members across the spectrum of problems they encounter in their daily lives.

The person in need will be able to access the funds needed for their health care, but only in exchange for an undertaking to plant a number of trees to the value of the amount of money requested—an undertaking which must be guaranteed by one other person in their family or the community.

This is the basic concept of a “tree bank”: in exchange for money for health needs you plant trees or have someone in your family or community agree to plant them for you.

We aim to raise funds through grants and donations to fund this aspect of our program. The “bank of trees” will be available for community members to access when they need health care assistance.

For example, someone needing to cover costs of up to 20 Cedis may plant and maintain 10 trees. We are justifying the figures and details as we write. Obviously if the person is gravely ill they will not be able to plant themselves but will need the support of their family and community, which is why community participation is necessary to make this successful—and also the reason why it will be successful.

The individual receives the amount needed as well as the number of trees allocated for that amount. We sign a simple contract and monitor both the patient and the trees’ progress.

We will pilot this with five families to test whether it will work in practice. However, even with no financial incentives, to date all trees that we have planted with the youth groups have been well looked after by the community, even without our asking, so we believe there is a high likelihood of success with this program particularly when everyone can see that they may benefit from the assurance of being able to access funds for their own health when needed in future.

We envisage possibly implementing a similar program for other needs such as school fees in future: “Trees for School Fees”