It can be difficult to take a social enterprise or innovation idea beyond small-scale, local implementation, into something bigger.
RISE (Real Impact on Society and Environment) is an international competition that showcases student led projects and achievements in sustainability and social innovation and accelerate the scale and impact of student-led projects by connecting participating students with a network of experts in academia and industry. McMaster University as a U21 member institution invited students to participate and submit video entries of a student-led project based on one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
MSc Global Health student, Marwah Sadat submitted The Banana Fiber Bag Project by the Yayra-Si Youth Foundation (YSYF) and has been nominated by McMaster to participate in the final global competition. As a finalist, Marwah has access to U21’s global network, the opportunity to generate pledges of support from partners, and has a chance at winning one of three prizes in the categories of Most Innovative, Most Impact, Most Potential and Most Collaboration.
YSYF is an international NGO committed to improving the economic and health outcomes for women and youth in Ghana. They connect women and youth to vocational training opportunities that improve their knowledge and skills, allowing them to gain financial independence.
The Banana Fibre Bag project aims to address plastic pollution as well as job insecurity among women and youth in a rural, underserved community in Ghana called Doryumu. The bags will be locally sourced and produced using banana and plantain plant fibres in order to replace current plastic and paper bags. This product will support women and youth residing near the manufacturing site in rural Ghana by providing capacity building, employment, and banana/plantain foodstuffs. The bag will be similarly priced to plastic and paper alternatives, yet more durable, reusable, locally sourced, and environmentally friendly.
The impact on the environment is significant in terms of waste and air pollution reduction, as the product is made from waste products, and can be eliminated without burning. Furthermore, there is great potential replicate this project in similar contexts.
We are inspired by these innovative thinkers and change-makers working towards solutions to complex global health issues – creating a brighter world day by day.
All nominees are featured on the U21 Showcase and Awards page: https://universitas21.com/Rise-202021-showcase