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Nesta Challenges Announces Semi-finalists of Strand Three of the Afri-Plastics Challenge.

  • The third and final strand, “Promoting Change” of the Afri-Plastics Challenge seeks to inspire behaviour change  around plastic waste
  • Semi-finalists are using  innovative engagement strategies such as gamification, nudges, incentives, and storytelling
  • Fifteen finalists will be selected in June 2022 to implement their ideas and each will win £50 000

Nesta Challenges has announced the semi-finalists of Promoting Change, the final strand of the Afri-Plastics Challenge. The Challenge aims to reduce marine plastics in Sub-Saharan African countries by developing and scaling innovative solutions to plastic mismanagement.

The third and final strand of the Afri-Plastics Challenge, called Promoting Change and delivered by London-based Nesta Challenges, began accepting applications from 8 December 2021. This marks the last leg of the Challenge after Strand 1: Accelerating Growth and Strand 2: Creating Solutions were launched in July and October 2021, respectively.

The semi-finalists are developing campaigns, schemes, tools and other creative interventions that will change both the behaviour of individuals and communities around plastic waste in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as contribute to the empowerment of women and girls.

Among the semi-finalists is Senegal’s Haskè Conseil, whose project will organise awareness workshops in working-class districts, schools, secondary schools, colleges, and universities. This will include the parents of the pupils and the mentors of the ‘badienou gokh’ district. Entertaining and creative activities (storytelling, games, stories and theatre-forum) will be facilitated by cultural, social, and environmental associations (including the neighbourhood mentors).

Also making it to the semi-finalists’ list is an organisation from South Africa known as Soapbox South Africa, whose project Captain Fanplastic, uses storytelling as the core of the education about plastic. The programme is designed for scalability in that the organisation is able to offer an opportunity to use girls and women as leaders, facilitators and trainers of the much needed education in the communities. The programme curriculum also aligns and contributes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Such as SDGs 4- Quality Education or 12- Responsible Production & Consumption through self-published books, modules and songs.

Thirty semi-finalists for Strand 3 of the Afri-Plastics Challenge will receive capacity-building support to further develop their engagement strategies, alongside a grant of £5,000 each. Fifteen finalists will then be selected in June 2022 to implement their ideas with support from additional capacity-building support and a grant of £50 000. Finally, three winners in March 2023 will receive £250,000 each.

Adwoa Coleman, Afri-Plastics Challenge judge and Ghana Country Manager for Dow said: “Africa’s entrepreneurs and innovators are at the forefront of creating the solutions needed to scale plastics recycling and reduce the volumes of plastics entering the value chain – but their efforts will be for nothing without a groundswell of support from communities to make the circular economy for plastics a well-functioning reality. The semi-finalists announced today are using diverse approaches to engage communities – and particularly women and girls who are so integral to the plastic ecosystem in Africa – to drive the change needed to overcome the unfolding tragedy of unbridled plastic pollution on the continent.”

The challenge could not have come at a better time. At the recently concluded United Nations Environment Programme 5.2, the world’s ministers for the environment agreed to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee with the mandate to forge an international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution. This legally binding global agreement on plastic pollution was the most significant environmental multilateral deal since the Paris Accord. The resolution calls for a treaty which promotes sustainable alternatives to plastics and fosters international collaboration on access to technology, capacity building and scientific and technical cooperation. Efforts made by a number of  governments across Sub-Saharan Africa have given these countries a headstart in combating plastic waste.

The projects presented by the semi-finalists have provided an opportunity to promote behavior change and save oceans from pollution, as researchers of a study published in the Journal Science in 2020 estimated that plastics entering the ocean could triple to nearly 29 million metric tonnes by 2040 if current production and consumption remains unchecked.

To find out more about the 30 Promoting Change semi-finalists and to follow their progress, visit


Notes to the editors

About Nesta Challenges

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society. We have spent over 20 years working out the best ways to make change happen through research and experimenting, and we have applied that to our work in innovation policy, health, education, government innovation and the creative economy and arts.

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Within Nesta, Nesta Challenges, based in London in the United Kingdom, exists to design and run challenge prizes that help solve pressing problems that lack solutions. We shine a spotlight where it matters and incentivise people to solve these issues. We are independent supporters of change to help communities thrive and inspire the best placed, most diverse groups of people around the world to take action.

We support the boldest and bravest ideas to become real, and seed long-term change to advance society and build a better future for everyone. We are part of the innovation foundation, Nesta. We are challengers. We are innovators. We are game changers.

About the Government of Canada

As part of the commitment to reduce marine plastics globally, the Government of Canada has launched a project aimed at improved plastic management in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Afri-Plastics Challenge aims to reduce marine plastics in Sub-Saharan African countries by developing and scaling innovative solutions to plastic mismanagement. The Afri-Plastics Challenge places particular emphasis on promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. While not limited by gender, the challenge encourages women and girls to participate by submitting their solutions.

About Strand 3 semi-finalists

The semi-finalists are from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana,  Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. For a full list of semi-finalists, please visit

Change at the till

Meeticks Africa (Botswana)

Change at the Till runs a 30-day challenge that aims to get users to gain knowledge on how their use of single-use plastics, especially when shopping, negatively affects the environment and contributes heavily to marine-plastic waste, and to practice what they learn. The solution is a multi-day gamified experience conducted over an intelligent WhatsApp chatbot and backend app.

Ensemble artistique et culturel WAKAT

Les ambassadrices de l’environnement (Burkina Faso)

The project aims to train women about the damage and harmful effects of plastic waste through storytelling and theatre. The women will also be trained in methods for communication, awareness-raising and advocacy as well as marketing alternatives to plastic bags such as traditional baskets, fabric and string bags and paper bags. The project offers commission on the sale of these alternative products, made locally by partner associations.

Addressing Plastics in Fashion Design: A Training-Empowerment-Promotion(TEP) Model

Catharina Natang (Cameroon)

Catharina Natang’s Training-Empowerment-Promotion (TEP) model aims to provide training to fashion designers on sustainable fashion and resource mobilisation and equip local designers to understand the subtle but massive presence of plastic-based fabrics in the fashion industry, and how this contributes to the global plastic waste problem. Students will learn about  innovative non-plastic alternatives that are in existence and how to access them , and also how to recycle, properly dispose and select non-plastic alternatives. The project will also organise annual sustainable fashion events to widen public awareness on sustainable fashion to reduce plastic wastes that end up in oceans.

Programme Peniang (Reconnaitre et récompenser les bonnes attitudes de gestion de déchets a l’aide de l’intelligence artificielle)

Kenfack Anafack Alex Bruno (Cameroon)

Programme Peniang is an artificial intelligence-based reward system, which uses a smartphone camera to detect good waste management habits, such as sorting, and rewards users with points they can then exchange on the platform for purchases, grants, internet connection and other things. The user can earn points, either on the mobile app, by meeting daily challenges (missions), or by using our smart waste bins which automatically give points each time someone uses them, or else by taking part in challenges in schools, organisations, campuses or towns.



TED GOES GREEN is an awareness and edutainment project providing information on issues related to climate change and environmental protection while encouraging a more ecological way of life without toxic waste, through various television programmes, documentaries, online content with 3D avatars, children’s programmes and books, film, music, studies and workshops that highlight innovations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ye Zembil Melse

Lem Ketema (organisation) / Seble Samuel (applicant) (Ethiopia)

The Ye Zembil Melse campaign uses creative storytelling, digital campaigning with Ethiopian artists and public figures, and public engagements, and are developing a plastic-free guide to Addis Abeba, to communicate the detrimental impact of plastic waste in Ethiopia, revive traditional alternatives to plastic, and advocate for policy to ban single-use plastic bags.

Community for Plastic Reduction and Recycling

Let’s Do It (Ghana)

The Community for Plastic Reduction and Recycling Project is a two-part project comprising community awareness through the use of activity-based education and recycling of plastic wastes. It is designed to spur community actions that bring changes in individual attitudes and purchasing habits leading to an increased awareness of plastic waste.

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Sustainable Waste Management through Partnerships

The Rockstar Waste Services Limited (Ghana)

The present idea is an extension of a pilot project by The Rockstar Waste Services in Takoradi, Ghana, that focuses on educating schools on solid waste segregation and the provision of 5 coloured waste bins to make the habit of waste segregation more engaging. Using this as the basis, the company seeks to combat marine pollution and change the behaviour of individuals, communities and companies in coastal areas by organising awareness campaigns and introducing deposit schemes along the Atlantic Ocean.

The WAZILI Campaign (This acronym is from Walezi wa Asili in Kiswahili, meaning “Nature’s Guardians”)

Watamu Marine Association (Kenya)

The WAZILI Campaign aims to engage and educate its audiences on the long-lasting widespread negative impact of plastic waste while emphasising the socio-economic value and environmental benefits of proper plastic waste management.

Ukwenza VR

Ukwenza VR (Kenya)

Ukwenza VR uses a VR storytelling format to showcase the journey a piece of plastic takes after disposal. Through this, Ukwenza VR hopes that by showing the different ways plastic waste can end up damaging the environment, they encourage people to take better care when disposing of plastic waste.

#StopPlasticPollution Campaign

Baus Taka Enterprise (Kenya)

The #StopPlasticPollution Campaign leverages a mobile App to promote segregation of plastic waste from source while raising awareness of responsible waste management practices. Competitions on plastic segregation with cash incentives and points that can be redeemed for medical services in partnership health clinics will be hosted on the app.


Homeless of Kisumu (Kenya)

M-taka aims to train and empower women economically to become recycling agents who build communities of recyclers by leveraging technology and inducing behavioural change through social connections and incentives. Through an app, the masses will be targeted, to increase recycling culture and link them with agents in their areas to collect the plastic and transport it to recyclers.


Grassroots Peoples Empowerment Foundation (Nigeria)

Waste4Tech Clubs aim to empower members with training and capacity building on the need for a cleaner environment. Members are given waste collection bags to sort and collect plastics wastes into nylons, PET bottles, rubbers etc. and then sell these to recycling companies. Members are awarded tech points that they can exchange for techskills acquisition and laptops through Waste4Tech’s partnerships with tech hubs.

The PLASTIC WIZE Campaign by U-recycle Initiative Africa

U-recycle Initiative Africa (Nigeria)

The PLASTIC WIZE Campaign by U-recycle Initiative Africa plans to coach 50 women across 10 universities in Nigeria to implement creative strategies to influence behaviour change towards reducing plastic waste on their campuses.

The Green Club (TGC)

Georell Environmental Services (Nigeria)

The Green Club is a school-based platform that seeks to stimulate change towards reduction of plastic pollution, and encouraging transition from single-use plastics. TGC promotes principles and practices of circular economy through collaboration with relevant MDAs and school management. Students will be educated, sensitised and stimulated to develop innovative solutions to plastic waste that can be used within their schools and homes, thereby reducing the amount of plastic that enters the ecosystem.

Religious Community Recycling Advocacy

Mechris-Planet Environmental (Nigeria)

Religious Community Recycling Advocacy uses religious houses within their community to create awareness of plastic recycling and install community recycling receptacles on the premises to increase participation of worshipers and other residents.

Polymer Warriors

Ennovate Lab (Nigeria)

Polymer Warriors seek to harness the latent power of young, educated Nigerians to drive behavioural change about plastic waste across the larger populace by leveraging Quick Response (QR) technology by strategically building creative campaigns that use QR codes printed on posters, stickers, banners and T-shirts widely distributed around campuses in Nigeria.

Let’s recycle!

Recycle Port Harcourt Limited (Nigeria)

The Let’s recycle! campaign will feature both online and offline awareness through creative skits, challenges, clean games events, tree planting activities, etc. in a bid to educate the people about the dangers of plastic pollution while encouraging them to stop littering and start properly sorting/segregating their plastic waste.

Garura (Take-Back)

Wastezon (Rwanda)

Wastezon has built a blockchain-backed app that traces reusable plastics in circulation, increasing the customer-centric decision making towards buying the reused plastic or packaging product and providing real-time data for reverse logistics. By incorporating a take-back rewarding scheme, they incentivise consumers while also developing environmental consciousness.

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Mbalit Plastik, Nafi Yem! les Déchets Plastiques, ça suffit! (en langue wolof)

Haskè Conseil (Senegal)

Mbalit Plastik, Nafi Yem! les Déchets Plastiques, ça suffit! aims to organise awareness workshops for community members. They want to launch an Art competition showcasing sorting bins produced from plastic waste in partnership with schools and universities together with an awareness campaign on social media. The winning bin will be selected to be reproduced by women entrepreneurs in the plastic value chain.


Association TERANGAGÉE (Senegal)

SOLUTIONS ECOLO-CULTUR’ELLES has created a programme that starts with sensitisation and environmental education of children and inhabitants of a village through the involvement of local stakeholders (mainly women, “tatas” and young peer educators including girls). They use innovative, cultural tools such as educational song, choreography, short stories in animated videos, games, and artistic workshops.

Remali 2.0

Regenize (South Africa)

Remali 2.0 is a virtual currency and behaviour-changing mobile app focused on simplifying, encouraging and teaching citizens how to live a zero-waste lifestyle (ZWL). Remali is earned by performing ZWL activities, attending events or learning about them. Each week residents need to perform these actions to meet their target to earn Remali.

Captain Fanplastic

Soapbox South Africa (South Africa)

Captain Fanplastic’s use of storytelling as the core of the education about plastic enables us to contribute to the challenge directly. The programme is designed for scalability in that we are able to offer an opportunity to use girls and women as leaders, facilitators and trainers in much needed education in the communities.


Moonshot Dynamics (South Africa)

Paycycle uses a Point-of-Sale (POS) based digital reward system targeted at eliminating single-use plastic bags and promoting non-plastic reusable shopping bags (RUSBs) that are also recyclable and eco-friendly. Using a fleet of mobile applications customised to shoppers of various economic classes, Paycycle tracks consumer’s shopping bag usage over partnering shops and rewards consumers with loyalty points for purchasing and reusing RUSBs.

Turning your trash to treasure      

Vhembe Biosphere Reserve (South Africa)

Turning your Trash to Treasure is based in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve and aims to work with schools, tribal communities and women waste pickers to create awareness among selected schools by encouraging waste recycling at schools. All the collected waste material will be taken to a local company called Dziphathutshedzo Green Surface that is using plastics to make paving bricks, plastic tiles and other plastic products such as rulers and pencil cases.

Marine Litter Innovation hub (MLiH): toward reducing marine litter and empowering coastal women and girls

Cretus Joseph Mtonga (Tanzania)

Marine Litter Innovation hub (MLiH) aims to become the centre for designing and implementing behavioural change ideas (gaming, nudges) that transform the community towards a circular way of life. The hub will train girls and women on making powerful messages, paintings, art and nudges and apply these to plastic separation infrastructure in an effort to reduce littering, empower women and close the existing gender gap. It will also create a platform for women to discuss their needs and the best ways toward zero littering.

The Uganda Recycling Association

Eco Brixs (Uganda)

The Plastic Manufactures and Recycling Union aims to create The Ugandan Recycling Association with membership from across the plastic recycling value chain. They want to create an interactive map where rich media and data will showcase everyone in the country engaged in recycling.

Waste Games


Waste Games is a project that is designed to raise people’s awareness of environmental pollution using a digitally-led gamification process for recycling to do enhanced waste sorting specifically aimed at encouraging behavioural change towards plastics reuse.

Organizing Plastics Engaging Neighborhoods Initiative (OPEN)

Ceswa Mpandamabula (Zambia)

The OPEN Initiative is a women-led initiative that leverages public participation and collaboration in the sorting, collection and recycling of plastic waste in the Kabwata Constituency of Lusaka. The initiative works with young, unemployed community members to serve as plastic awareness foot soldiers, collectors and recyclers in the initiative’s entire value chain. As part of the initiative’s Say No to Plastic campaign, they want to engage informal businesses and households in the community and convince them to adopt available alternatives.

Community Action on Plastic Pollution

Bambelela Arts Ensemble (Zimbabwe)

Community Action on Plastic Pollution is a behavioural change project that primarily seeks to work with women and girls on the effects of plastic pollution on our environment. It will encourage them to take a leading role in keeping our environment clean while making an extra income from selling picked up plastic waste to recycling projects.

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