Global Youth Travel Awards 2017
Outstanding Volunteer Project 2017
African Impact’s Build-It volunteer program is based in the town of Livingstone, Zambia, and was launched in March 2016, addressing the extreme levels of poverty within the local communities. The programme provides safe structures built with ecological, affordable and self-sustaining materials and aims to educate communities in waste management and help to reduce waste and litter in an environmentally-friendly way. This is achieved through the use of eco-bricks; PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles filled with soft plastics, which can include cellophane, chip packets, sweet wrappers, plastic bags and anything else that can’t easily be recycled. Once all the soft plastic is stuffed and packed into the bottle, the bottle is screwed closed and then used as a building brick.
Volunteers on this program work closely with two local communities: Linda Farm, a community set up to empower and rehabilitate those living with disabilities, and the Dambwa community, each of whom are in desperate need of affordable, sustainable infrastructure. Achievements in the first community include the building a compost bin, chicken coop and piggery and an ablution block for the disabled community, giving them a more hygienic and private place to go to the bathroom, while a kitchen bench and seats for pupils to sit are amongst the achievements at the Dambwa Trust School.
Through this program, the students exchange the bricks which they have made out of litter, for prizes ranging from pencils (1 Brick) to items of clothing (50 Bricks)! It has seen us receive over 3000 eco-bricks!
Build-It ensures that volunteers work alongside local people each and every single day, including community liaisons as well as local tradespeople. Build-It also has another unique offering, in that our volunteers are often involved in the planning process of a build, as well as assisting with purchases of materials and discussions with community members. They are able to gain skills for project management, as well as construction. Further to that, they also gain a lot of experience in farming and harvesting crops, as they work closely with the local community to find solutions for income generation.