Embassy Recycling Efforts Support a Dozen Children to Attend School for the First Time

On September 23, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon, accompanied by members of the Mission’s volunteer-led Green Stripe Initiative, visited the LEA Primary School in Gwarimpa, and two local recycling facilities.

U.S. Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon, and members of the Mission’s volunteer-led Green Stripe Initiative on a visit to LEA Primary School in Gwarimpa, Abuja. Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy Abuja/Olaoluwa AworindeUpon arriving at LEA Primary, around 450 primary school children gathered to sing a welcome song to the visitors. Large boxes of school supplies collected by members of the U.S. Embassy community were presented to the headmistress of the school.

“Why is it important to take care of the environment?” Chargé FitzGibbon said into the large crowd. To protect the earth and to stay healthy were some responses from the children.

Since Green Stripe Initiative volunteers teamed with local social good organization Chanja Datti Ltd in January 2019, nearly 3,000 kilograms of Embassy waste has been diverted from Nigerian landfills. Instead, proceeds from the waste value were donated via the “Bottles for Books” program to help over two dozen children go to school this year at LEA Primary School—many for the first time ever! These “Eco-Scholars” are identified and selected by FlexiSAF Foundation, an Abuja-based non-profit because they are among the poorest in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.

The team from the Embassy also stopped by a Recycling Hub in Gwarimpa, a central location where the local Nigerian community collects and hands over their trash for cash. The team then went on to visit the Recycling Factory in Durumi, where they observed the labor-intensive sorting, cleaning, and waste reduction process.

“Recycling in Nigeria is not yet as refined as recycling in the United States,” said Olufunto Boroffice, Chanja Datti Founder. “But as you can see, we are working to create opportunities for women and children, toward a zero-waste future.”

Nigerians produce over 32 million tons of waste annually. The Embassy’s Green Stripe Initiative is committed to the cross-cutting benefits of recycling—for education, empowerment, and a cleaner earth.

Green Stripe Initiative is a U.S. Embassy Abuja-wide volunteer committee open to all who are interested in identifying ways our community can better care for the natural environment and reduce our impact on Nigeria and the world. In April 2019, Green Stripe hosted a launch event to kick off their first focus as an initiative—embassy-wide recycling.