Spotlight on Sustainability: African Impact’s award-winning volunteer project
When African Impact set out to find solutions for the extreme poverty and inadequate infrastructure in Livingston, Zambia, they created a unique model for a simple and sustainable volunteer project. The Build-It volunteer project launched in March 2016, after 10 years of working and connecting with communities in Zambia. In less than two years, African Impact has made an enormous difference in the daily lives of residents. They’ve also been awarded for the Outstanding Volunteer Project in the 2017 Global Youth Travel Awards by WYSE Travel Confederation.
“This is the second award we have won for ‘Build-It’ this year, so it is a huge testament to the commitment and passion of our team of staff and volunteers on the ground. We are proud to be responsible leaders in the volunteer travel industry, and awards like this really do highlight what good volunteer organizations are capable of achieving,” said Andrew Procter, MD, Managing Director for African Impact.
The Build-It volunteer project stands out in its simplicity. Livingston doesn’t have any waste management system, so African Impact
decided to utilise the unrecyclable plastic lying on the ground to construct approved, structurally-sound buildings with eco-bricking. An eco-brick is a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottle filled with soft plastics. This includes cellophane, chip packets, sweet wrappers, plastic bags and anything else that can’t easily be recycled. Volunteers help pick up litter, collect plastic bottles and trash from local hotels, and create the eco-bricks.
“Not only does our project provide safe and affordable infrastructure for the local community using eco-bricks, it helps preserve Livingstone’s ecology, by reducing litter and waste,” Procter said.