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Glass bottle decoration for social impact

Mobilizing street youth to collect glass bottles decorate them and sell them as decorative art.

Photo of abubakar Mbarak

Written by

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Basically the idea entails jobless youth going around bars and restaurants collecting used glass bottles of wine and soda and decorating them. The process involves cleaning the bottles, sorting them into different types, then deciding on how to decorate them. It can be spray painting, adding glitters, gluing shells on the bottles etc Then selling the bottles as decorative art that can be displayed in homes or offices.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

The beneficiaries are the youth who are jobless, instead of them resorting to violence and robbery or drug abuse, this initiative will enable them to employ their creativity and resourcefulness to enable them to earn money for themselves and improve the quality and standard of their lives. The general population also benefit since they will be having beautiful decorative art to display in their houses and offices at a very fair and reasonable price.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

This idea is unique in that it creates a useful product from waste that would somewhat be taken to the dumpsite. it is different from other initiatives since most recycle by taking them to the factories for them to be processed all over again. ours recycle by turning it into a different product to be used in a different way all together. i believe this approach will be more successful since it brings both social and economical impact to the youth. there is ready market for the decorative arts and Mombasa being a tourist attraction centre, we would have a diverse market.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

our organization deals with youth empowerment, creating opportunities and platforms to get them exposed and enable them to fulfill their potential.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

with the increasing number of bars and restaurants resulting to a large number of wine bottles used and the rate of unemployment among the youth we thought of an economical way to control the pollution and earn from it.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

peace and prosperity is compromised when youth are idle and do not have any money to sustain their needs, they would resort to stealing to have money for food and even drug abuse due to idleness. by them being engaged and earning it helps promote peace and prosperity since they would be working together.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

we will work along side the bars and restaurants so that they can allow us to get the bottles from then. we will work the local authorities to allow us to operate our sales and marketing of our products in the city.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

our community has a surplus of young people who can take up this initiative and make it a success. we have artists who have not fully exploited their talents and this will be an opportunity for them to do so.

Geographic Focus

Kenya, Mombasa

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

24 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No

21 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Asel Zoe
Team

Hi Abubakar,
Here is your future partner - your guys should work together))

https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/ideas/upcycle-africa

Photo of abubakar Mbarak
Team

hello Asel Zoe 
we will surely link up, thank you for sharing the link
regards abubakar Mbarak 

Photo of Ozuluonye Shedrack
Team

Hello Abubakar,

It is really nice having you share an innovative idea: Still trying to see the possibility of how many unemployed youth will be interested in picking bottles: Have you chosen a particular population with a view of confirming their willingness to do the needful? What were there responses? From your idea I was able to deduce that: your targeted population will come from the backdrop of unemployed work forces of a country and I am curious to learn which category of a countries idle work force will prosper in such a short time (24 months)  with your model, Maybe you could share how profitable it will be. Although the idea I fantastically innovative I Just wanted to see their responses and how would it would bridge prosperity.

Best Regards.

Photo of abubakar Mbarak
Team

hello Shadrack,
I know this is a challenge since alot of youth prefer white collar jobs, although where i am from, Mombasa, a big number of youth are jobless and i believe would follow through with any solution that will bring money as long as it is viable. i started small with a group of 4 people. we then grew to 10 and now we are a team of around 20 youth. We share the work load. we dont go around streets collecting these bottles, we already established agreement with local bars and restaurants where they keep aside the bottles for us. we have a group that goes around collecting the bottles, another does the decorations and the last group deals with selling and marketing. We give some shop keepers to display in their shops and we leave posters where we have actually gotten calls for more of the products.
we also do sales to tourists at the beaches and at tourist attraction centres.
so basically by distribution of the work we actualy get things done faster and it becomes a part time job since it is enough when a group play their part they are free the rest of the day to deal with other ventures.
considering in a short span we managed to increase in number and actually build a presence i think in 24 months we will be somewhere stable and operating well.

Photo of Ozuluonye Shedrack
Team

Hello thanks,

Hope to learn more please

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Hi abubakar Mbarak very nice idea. I like how you mix upcycling and job opportunities. Ozuluonye Shedrack had a good point regarding how to attract young people but you seem to have been successful in providing enough financial resources to these young people. I think that it's great to see that you're trying to build an ecosystem working with bars and restaurants as well as local authorities and tourist centers. I also like the fact that you're working with local artists. I wonder if there's not a way also to extend this project so that you also have impact in your local communities. There's an organization in NY, Green City Force (http://www.greencityforce.org/) which aims to tackle youth unemployment in low income neighborhood by training them to get jobs in the green economy. I wonder if that could not be a model to explore for you. I'm not sure if there are job opportunities in the green economy in your city. However, I'm sure that you could frame your program so that participants not only earn some money but also learn skills that they can reuse later on to find more sustainable jobs.

Photo of abubakar Mbarak
Team

Thank you so much for your contribution Anne-Laure Fayard .
We are in contact with some youth empowerment groups and organizations in our district and are discussing plans on how they can be training us on various business models by training us on how to run businesses and how to access funds. i love your idea and we are working on that. we are expecting our numbers to grow so that the groups can have a wider audience.
regards abubakar Mbarak 

Photo of Ibrahim Abougendy
Team

Hey there Algramo 

I love your idea and the idea of upcycling wastes with intelligent cuts into something else.

Yet, I want to ask what would make your product special and make your product unique, thus, you have an ecosystem of employing craftsmen and marketing your product.

best,
Ibrahim Abougendy 

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hi Ibrahim Abougendy , For Algramo what makes our product special is the social licence we have built from a very human-centred relationship with our primary customer-the storekeepers of the family owned stores that we work with and strive to benefit. I think for your product it could be the same, develop a strong social licence with key stakeholders and have a moving story that shows a positive issue your product is addressing.

I wish you the best of luck with the idea and the challenge. Cheers, Brian

Photo of abubakar Mbarak
Team

hy Ibrahim Abougendy 
our product is special and unique since it incorporates creativity waste and produces a beautiful product for decoration. Most decorations available are from imported sources, so this makes use of readily available raw materials to create them.
the responses from the youth have been satisfactory recently and we expect more to join us.
another challenge is how to sell, most of the youth do not have selling skills and dont know how to negotiate. we have started taking up online courses on how to be effective sales people so as to boost our overall sales.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

Dude! theres so so so so much that can be done with waste!!!! This is a great start, but glass is actually really not the easiest material to work with. We are all about sharing so let's stay in touch and maybe we can connect you with other ideas too - using plastic and juice/milk boxes is great as well!

Photo of abubakar Mbarak
Team

Yes, that is a great, we would like to hear about your ideas on how we can diversify our work.
we can stay in touch via email. (abubakarmbarak99@gmail.com)
we are considering plastics too, mostly in the path of recycling and reusing.

Photo of Our Workshop
Team

We’ll have you started your project yet? Do you have any artists or makers you work with? That’s the first step. You can email us at ourworkshopct@gmail.com

Photo of abubakar Mbarak
Team

hy Our Workshop 
i started small with a group of 4 people. we then grew to 10 and now we are a team of around 20 youth. We share the work load. we dont go around streets collecting these bottles, we already established agreement with local bars and restaurants where they keep aside the bottles for us. we have a group that goes around collecting the bottles, another does the decorations and the last group deals with selling and marketing. We give some shop keepers to display in their shops and we leave posters where we have actually gotten calls for more of the products.
we also do sales to tourists at the beaches and at tourist attraction centres.
so basically by distribution of the work we actualy get things done faster and it becomes a part time job since it is enough when a group play their part they are free the rest of the day to deal with other ventures.
considering in a short span we managed to increase in number and actually build a presence i think in 24 months we will be somewhere stable and operating well.
among the challenges we faced is purchasing the decorating materials including paint, glitters and others.
the responses from the youth have been satisfactory recently and we expect more to join us.
another challenge is how to sell, most of the youth do not have selling skills and dont know how to negotiate. we have started taking up online courses on how to be effective sales people so as to boost our overall sales.

Photo of bikash gurung
Team

Hi Algramo , thanks for such an amazing idea. We are glad that you have already piloted this initiative. Would love to learn about the challenges you faced while implementing this idea. Also We’d love to learn a bit more about which aspect of this proposal is new versus which aspects have already been piloted by your organization. In this Bridge Builders challenge, we’re particularly interested in uncovering innovative approaches to bridging peace, prosperity and planet.
We welcome all ideas in different stages of development. Specifying which aspect of your idea you haven’t tested would enable us to better support you on the Open IDEO platform. Would love to learn lil bit about what has been the response of Jobless Youth for this particular idea of collecting bottles. Looking forward to learn more.

Photo of abubakar Mbarak
Team

hello bikash gurung 
i started small with a group of 4 people. we then grew to 10 and now we are a team of around 20 youth. We share the work load. we dont go around streets collecting these bottles, we already established agreement with local bars and restaurants where they keep aside the bottles for us. we have a group that goes around collecting the bottles, another does the decorations and the last group deals with selling and marketing. We give some shop keepers to display in their shops and we leave posters where we have actually gotten calls for more of the products.
we also do sales to tourists at the beaches and at tourist attraction centres.
so basically by distribution of the work we actualy get things done faster and it becomes a part time job since it is enough when a group play their part they are free the rest of the day to deal with other ventures.
considering in a short span we managed to increase in number and actually build a presence i think in 24 months we will be somewhere stable and operating well.
among the challenges we faced is purchasing the decorating materials including paint, glitters and others.
the responses from the youth have been satisfactory recently and we expect more to join us.
another challenge is how to sell, most of the youth do not have selling skills and dont know how to negotiate. we have started taking up online courses on how to be effective sales people so as to boost our overall sales.

Photo of Brian Bauer of Algramo
Team

bikash gurung Thanks a lot for the kind words and appreciation for Algramo! I will do my best to address your questions...
"Would love to learn about the challenges you faced while implementing this idea"...Key challenges were slowly building up our social licence and brand awareness which were essentially to allowing us to grow-we have gone from 1 store to now over 1,700 stores in ~ 5 years. Economies of scale were/are challenging, especially during early stages, but we are getting better economies of scale now. Winning awards and recognition (Ashoka & TED Fellow, WEF Global Shaper, etc) have helped build awareness of the Algramo brand-both in Chile and internationally-so gaining support from media was a challenge, but we now have good traction in media that helps us scale out our brand and business model...
Next you ask..."Also We’d love to learn a bit more about which aspect of this proposal is new versus which aspects have already been piloted by your organization."....Algramo has been using vending machine technology since we started, but we are on the cusp of having 2 new & greatly improved vending machines (low cost food and liquid cleaning products-both Internet of Things connected) ready for the market ~Q3 2018. At the same time, we have a regional LATAM FMCG who is currently piloting products with us, soon to be publicly disclosed. We are keen to leverage this relationship to help us expand to coastal cities of Chile-~ 1 to 3 cities depending on financial resources...we plan to work with TriCiclos who are global experts in waste management and engineering circular economy solutions, they will be helping us in our relationship with the LATAM FMCG. We will also use TriCiclos to design our mobile vending distribution system for local farmers markets (ferias)...this is just an idea stage now, we have no formal development of this technology, but both Algramo and TriCiclos are keen to develop the technology as we see it being an excellent tool to help us spread awareness about environmental issues (ocean plastic pollution, reusable packaging & recycling) and promote the Algramo brand in the new markets that we enter...Medium term in 12–24 months we will take lessons learned from working with regional FMCG and partner with values aligned global FMCG to expand Algramo, likely beyond Latin America-we have had early discussions with several global FMCGs who are keen to work with Algramo. In essence, Algramo has a highly refined business model reaching 1,700 convenience stores, benefiting >270k BoP end consumers. Deloitte is currently giving us US $600k in pro-bono consulting services to help us scale up, expand and optimize our supply chain...we want to leverage all this progress and start a national expansion, extensively test and evolve our vending machines (in stores early Q3 2018), create the mobile distribution system for ferias...then, our big-picture plan is to then partner with a global FMCG brand so we can rapidly 10x+ our scale, social impact & enviro benefits.
Algramo was formed to help reduce a market failure we call the 'poverty tax' which is the world's most marginalized families paying about 30% more for their food and life's essentials due to the quantity of food they buy (usually small amounts daily) and where they buy it (locally in family owned stores)...Algramo's business model is based on addressing this market failure...the reason we do this is in Latin America, the average BoP family spends almost 30% of income just on food (much higher in SE Asia). This locks families in poverty. Reducing the cost of food is a systematic way to solve poverty, by increasing disposable incomes so families can spend money on things to improve their lives and escape poverty, doing this is a critical step towards eroding social inequality-which is primary driver of creating a prosperous and peaceful society. Via partnering with FMCG we hope to have our reusable packaging distribution system utilized on a larger scale so it can have massive environmental benefits and social benefits...right now, Algramo, just in Santiago has the potential to avert about 136 Metric tons of packaging waste (mostly plastic). Studies show the vast majority of ocean plastic comes from the BoP of emerging economies...we are proud to have a proven market based solution that can help reduce the flow of plastics entering our oceans-by increasing the disposable incomes of BoP families by selling products for lower prices.

For your question about the decorated bottles, this is not Algramo's idea...I believe the idea belongs to abubakar Mbarak-he is interested in Algramo and we have been sharing ideas, perhaps this is where the mix up came from...but contact abubakar (see his questions below).
Sorry for the verbose response, but it is complex to explain what Algramo is aiming to do and the potential that we have. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Best, Brian

Photo of Asel Zoe
Team

Hi Abubakar, I love the idea - you should also look to the other ideas how to reuse the bottle for instance you could use it as a brick in the wall with the great worm isolation> Good luck and check my proposal you should love it too)

Photo of abubakar Mbarak
Team

Thank you Asel Zoe,
we will venture into other ideas as well, this is just the beginning.

Photo of Genevieve
Team

Hi - I'm not sure if you are still working on your application (since there is only one answer posted so far) - but I would encourage you to consider expanding this idea to include construction projects. About 10 years ago I collected glass bottles from bars in the community where I was living in Mexico, we easily collected around 10-20 per day, and then we built property walls with them to help keep pets in... but construction in general is really easy and really beautiful (plus strong and inexpensive). I'd be happy to share my experiences if you decide to go in that direction at any point in the future.
Best of luck!
Genevieve

Photo of abubakar Mbarak
Team

hello Genevieve,
Thank you for your contribution. Yes i am still working on my application, i had an emergency and had to stop for a while, but it is done now and you can have a look at it.
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/ideas/glass-bottle-decoration-for-social-impact
i admire what you used to do , maybe in future we will consider using the bottles for building property walls.
i would be happy to hear your experiences about construction using the bottles.
you can reach me via my email. (abubakarmbarak99@gmail.com)