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Upcycle Africa

We provide artistic and affordable houses to marginalized groups of people while training youth the skills of construction using bottles

Photo of Kavuma Johnmary

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Up-cycle Africa Limited seeks to protect the environment and promote innovative mind-set while empowering youth. Through up-cycling plastic bottles we train our local communities in Uganda especially the disadvantaged youth to protect the environment. Bottles replaces environmentally unfriendly bricks, which are burnt for days promoting deforestation. Uganda’s population is growing fast. Bottles are collected and compacted with soil, making the houses very cost effective and affordable. Furthermore, the buildings are strong, buffer heat and are earthquake resistant. We instil innovative mind-set to the youth and so far empowered 1000+ with the critical thinking that has enhanced innovativeness beyond constructing using bottles rather seeing plastic waste as a resource. Unlike their peers who are unemployed are seen as cursed or bewitched by Ugandan society and often isolated due to shame of being poor. This is why our sanitization programs in schools and advocacy to communities to change their perception of waste, as well as building inclusive societies in fight of waste. It is Up-cycle’s greatest resource inspiring others to start small and grow big through up-cycling initiatives.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

We are targeting to construct houses for Organization, institutions, health centers, and other governmental agencies. In addition we have another customer segment which are law income earners for example refugees and those who can afford 1 dollar per day with a desire to own a house

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

Up-cycle Africa provide affordable artistic and durable houses to law income earners while training marginalized youth the skills of constructing using bottles as a way of eliminating and reducing plastic waste accumulation in both rural and urban areas. And saying good bye to poverty amongst fellow youths in Uganda, I have been able to raise awareness and I have managed to change people’s mindset about plastic, we have constructed a number of plastic bottle houses in different parts of Uganda.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Majority Adoption: I have expanded the pilot significantly and the program product or service has been adopted by the majority of our intended user base.

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

Upcycle Africa is a social business which was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. Upcycle Africa is committed to a generation where waste is transformed and recycled as their behaviour. We provide artistic and affordable houses to marginalized groups of people while training youth the skills of construction using bottles. Facebook page ) instagrame

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.

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

I am Kavuma Johnmary an orphan aged 23, from Uganda. 2003 was such a time to remember when severe hunger struck due to a prolonged drought which was believed to have been caused by environmental degradation like over cutting of trees. I witnessed people dying of hunger for the first time sufferings where most families could sleep on empty stomachs or a glass of water to those who could access, People abandoned their families that later caused death. Plastic waste disposal is a monger the causes

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

Prosperity and planet. We build inclusive communities. Through the senstization programs we senstize the communities by changing their behaviour and mindset. Secondly we employ local people in our communities as waste collector, sorters and constructors so that they can fend for their families as well as uplifting their standards of living. We upcycle plastic waste while constructing affordable houses that are environmentally friendly and affordable even to the low income eaners.

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

We are a team with specific specialized skills in the areas required for the successful implementation of our concept. Twinamasitko Phillip is engineer business developer and has worked with different organizations in the country the empowerment of youths for example the Social Innovation academy, and YEK. Nakintu Judith is a certified Accountant who majorly deals with accounting and research for the matters regarding fashion and design. David Monday and Kavuma Johnmary have been trained and empowered in business developing and mentoring skills at the social innovation academy.

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

A bigger number of youth ready to work with the highest population unemployed my community is in postion to support this venture to reach its goals by employing the youths as well as collecting the plastic waste that is all around Mpigi District and its outskrts which Kampala. In addition the transportation of building materials for example sand, platic and cement are easy due to the availability of Kampala-Masaka road.

Geographic Focus

Uganda and Africa at large.

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

The idea is requires only 2-3 months

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

  • No


Join the conversation:

Photo of David / Thomas Svarrer / Høyer

Dear Kavuma,

Thanks for your response about 200,000 bottles for my example of a house. I think the figure may be wrong. If you assume that each bottle is 1/2 litre (500 ml), and thereby weighs something around 1.05 kilogram (2.1 kilo per half liter of soil), then the house would weight something about 200 tons. If I make the house with bricks, the walls would comprise of 3 meter tall walls (including foundation) times 3 layers in one direction of 8 meter length and 4 layers in the other direction of 9 meter length, meaning something like 27 x 0.5 cubic meter in one directoin and 24 x 0.33 cubic meter in another direction, plus 0.20 x 56 cubic meter of concrete slab, or, 13.5 + 8 + 11.2 = 35.7 cubic meter x 2.3 = 81.9 tons ???

David / Thomas
Nexus 7 Solar Concentrator 

Photo of Kavuma Johnmary

Hello David
thank you for that. However according to the houses we have constructed Im2= 250 plastic bottles(One square meter equals 250 plastic bottles)

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