Following a brief pause in 2020, WasteAid’s work in Douala, Cameroon, is back in full swing. WasteAid’s partners in Douala have been recruiting people to join the plastic recycling training programme and contribute towards a cleaner and healthier city.

Leaving no-one behind

WasteAid’s training programme is designed to attract those people who would benefit most from the opportunity. The opportunities are suitable for people with low literacy, disabilities, and for refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people, and will provide dignified and respected roles within the community.

Every person participating in the plastic recycling programme chose their preferred area of specialism, with the courses on offer covering safe plastic collection, product manufacture, sales and marketing, and sensitisation (awareness raising and behaviour change).

By collaborating as a team, the 112 recruits will be able to maximise the amount of plastic waste they divert from waterways, protecting the fragile Cameroon Estuary and Atlantic Ocean.

By January 2022, the team will have safely collected and recycled more than 16 tonnes of plastic waste from the streets and riverbanks of the city.

WasteAid plastic recycling trainees in Douala, Cameroon
WasteAid trainees learn about plastics in Douala, Cameroon

Tailored training modules

The recruitment process sought to understand people’s perceptions of the impacts of uncollected waste on the city, their motivation for applying for the training course, and what difference it would be expected to make to their income levels and wellbeing. Other local organisations including town halls and local organisations were engaged in the process to ensure the programme is fully inclusive of individuals with a variety of skills, abilities and backgrounds.

“This training will allow me to know and see the different uses of recycled waste.”

“It will help me earn money and be able to work.”

“The training will make me teach and train others.”

“To ensure that environment has sustainable protection.”

With the recruitment complete, training began in December 2020. The students are all participating in collective classroom sessions before undertaking practical training in their chosen specialisms.

The training courses have been tailored to the needs of the participants and include:

General theory modules: Problems caused by poorly-managed plastic waste in the environment; health and safety; identifying different types of plastic; recycling options for different types of plastic.

Safe plastic collection: How to identify plastic that is suitable for collection; how to collect and sort waste in market areas.

Product manufacture: How to sort plastic waste and prepare it for recycling processes; how to make paving tiles from plastic waste under the supervision of trainers.

Sales and marketing: How to gain cooperation from businesses (waste producers) for the collection of plastic waste; how to negotiate with businesses.

Sensitisation: How to talk to different stakeholders about plastic waste problems, collections, and recycling opportunities; how to work with market vendors to collect source-separated plastic waste.

WasteAid supporters making a difference

This training programme was funded through donations from individuals in the UK in 2019, matched by the government through UK Aid Match.

Learn about the wildlife in the fragile Cameroon Estuary

Rivers of rubbish: see the WasteAid photo gallery from Douala, Cameroon

No Time To Waste: read our report launched by Sir David Attenborough



Staff and pupils at Harrogate Grammar School took part in a range of fundraising activities in 2020, and the money raised has been put towards Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the recycling trainees.

Safety is a high priority when working with waste and wearing adequately sourced PPE will ensure those working with waste not only can do their job to the best of their ability but be able to do their jobs safely.

Harrogate Grammar School
WasteAid trainees in full PPE, ready to recycle

Much of WasteAid’s vital work would not be possible without the support of generous fundraisers. To find out how your school, company or organisation could help our recycling initiatives around the world, please get in touch and Megan Senior, our Partnerships & Engagement Manager, will respond to you directly.

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