Unesco Green Citizens
Project begin: 01/01/2019

It all started in 2017 with a challenge to pick up trash for only 10 minutes! Since then, the River Warriors have created a model that combines people and technology. Their Ripple Model is an approach that can be easily duplicated and used in different countries or regions.

Leading organisation: River Cleanup
The country where the team is based: Belgium
Covered Countries: Belgium, Albania, Indonesia, Cameroon, Ghana
Theme: Biodiversity, Education for Sustainable Development
Sub-themes: Climate change, Environment, Knowledge sharing, Resources management, Sustainable lifestyles, Waste management
Tag: #Africa #Women #Youth
Selection: 2022
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They call themselves the River Warriors! These citizens have decided to combine people and technology in the fight against plastic pollution, while creating full-time jobs for local waste pickers and project managers. With their NGO River Cleanup, they have developed the Ripple Model. It is based on three pillars: clean, educate and transform. This model addresses different aspects of the pollution problem by focusing on awareness, education, local empowerment and transformation.

Involving local actors

Because each location is unique – types of waste vary, river conditions are diverse, cultures are different – River Cleanup’s approach always includes local communities, organizations and people. Projects create full-time jobs and use local materials whenever possible. This model can be easily duplicated by involving local stakeholders. “Plastic pollution is a very complex issue that involves many stakeholders. We can not solve this problem without having all parties united for the common mission”, according to the NGO team.

By the first quarter of 2022, the NGO had collected a total of 1.8 million kilograms of trash, mobilized about 150,000 people and organized over 2,500 events. Its network has grown to 57 countries and is active along 161 rivers.

There is still a lot of work to do. By 2024, River Cleanup wants to grown its focus countries to 15 (5 in 2022).

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