Reducing the financial burden by letting Nigerian parents pay school fees with plastic bottles
A great initiative has been launched in Nigeria to curb plastic waste and widen access to education. Source: Shutterstock

Thanks to the NGO Africa Cleanup Initiative (ACI)’s partnership with Morit International School, a mother in Lagos, Nigeria named Oriola Oluwaseyi is able to pay the down payment for her daughter’s school fees.

She does so with plastic bottles rater than money, collected from retail stores, as the NGO focuses on sustainability practices in an effort to reduce plastic waste.

According to CNN, “Through a [programme] called RecyclesPay, ACI collaborates with schools in low-income communities to allow parents who are unable to afford fees for their children to pay using plastic bottles they collect.

“Twice a month Oluwaseyi visits her daughter’s school with bags full of sorted The cost of tuition is determined by how many PET bottles she has collected; for every 200 kilograms of recyclable bottles, Oluwaseyi can earn up to ₦4,000 (about $11) off the term’s tuition of ₦7500 (about $24).”

ACI also collaborated with Wecyclers, the recycling company attached to the project, who collects the plastic bottles from the school.

Akhigbe said, “Wecyclers buys each kilogram of this waste from us. The cash reward is not based on the quantity or size of bags brought by every parent, but by the weight after measuring.”

Oluwaseyi said the programme gave her leverage to channel her limited funds to other necessities for her daughter such as a school bag, books and new sandals.

“My daughter’s proprietor introduced me to this [programme] last year, and I subscribed to the initiative because I knew it was something…to relieve myself of the burden of spending money on the fees.”

Nigera generates a large amount of plastic waste and is ranked No 11 in the world for plastic pollution, so the NGO was formed to provide solutions to Nigeria’s environmental and climate issues.

The ACI has run this project in five schools around Lagos and has so far reached more than 1,000 school children.

Alexander Akhigbe, founder of ACI, told CNN, “We are working on the deplorable state of the Nigerian environment and on the other hand improve education by using plastic bottles to substitute tuition fees so as to encourage parents to send their children to school and then save more money to fix other challenges at home.”

According to SaharaReporters, “Over 25 parents of the low-income school have reportedly embraced the initiative whereby parents bring plastic wastes on designated days.”

Partrick Mbamara, Proprietor of the school, said, “It is helping to cushion the financial burden of parents in the school. We have a history of parents finding it difficult to pay each term school fees of N7,500.

“The money from the PET bottles is not much but it balances for what the parents can pay. My staff and I are happy with this initiative. It has improved parents’ payment of school fees and it teaches the children how to manage their waste and promote a cleaner environment.”

He also told BBC, “It has really reduced the burden on parents. We now collect fees faster-the school wins, the children win, the parents win, everybody wins.”

This great initiative could be a prime example to schools in impoverished communities worldwide. Not only does it teach kids and their parents the importance of sustainability, it also provides them with access to education and reduces the financial burden surrounding education.

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