With Baobab, the economy takes root in Durban

Posted on 29 October 2020.

In cooperation with The MakerSpace Foundation, Veolia is opening a third place dedicated to the circular economy in Durban. Its tagline "Upcycling the future" invites to form a community, develop solutions to reduce waste and create green jobs.

In 2018, Veolia, through its Foundation, and Empow’Her opened L’Oasis in the heart of Niamey, the capital of Niger. This space is dedicated to women’s entrepreneurship and raising awareness on sustainable development issues. To extend this promising experience, Veolia is partnering with The MakerSpace Foundation to launch a “Baobab” which will be devoted to promoting the circular economy and the economic empowerment of disadvantaged communities in Durban, South Africa.

This new third place’s objective is to promote a sustainable lifestyle and practices, through awareness and education programmes, and to support local economic development by promoting the emergence of low environmental impact solutions and the creation of green jobs. To develop this economic, environmental, social, and solidarity-based model, based on the observation that reusing and recycling waste create jobs, Baobab is working to develop skills in these areas.

Online programmes

Pending the premises’ opening to the public, scheduled for December 2020, Internet users can already participate in one of the training programmes offered on Baobab’s website, entitled ‘Upcycling the future’.

The Plasticpreneur recycling studio offers training in designing new products from plastic waste. This programme includes learning about recycling processes and using machines for the small-scale production of upcycled items and supports product development and business creation.

The Plasticpreneur studio is a good illustration of Baobab’s ambitions, the idea being to give learners the tools to allow them to start their own plastic waste recovery business.

The My Lil'Pumpkin programme aims to teach school children the principles of sustainability while developing their problem-solving skills and initiative through hands-on workshops, events, and DIY activities included in the school curriculum.

Finally, the Zero Waste awareness programme brings together the population, businesses, communities, etc. around the 5R (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair) principles in order to minimise waste production. Baobab will shortly be organising a number of events (conferences, debates, workshops, etc.) with a view to sharing knowledge and good practices.