Home Education PHOTOS: From Dirts To Beauty: How Jumoke Built Playground For 40 Oyo...

PHOTOS: From Dirts To Beauty: How Jumoke Built Playground For 40 Oyo Public Schools

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By Zainab Sanni
39-year old Jumoke sat in her room, broke and expectant. Waiting on the Lord for a miracle alert -as she puts it-, and as she kept checking her phone for the miracle message; thinking about her life, it dawned on her. She was going to be 40 soon. The realization led to questions about what she had done for humanity and that was how Public Playground for 40 schools (Pp40)was birthed.
Pp40 would gift 40 Public Schools in Oyo State a playground made from waste and training for its students on how to turn waste into art. The project would extend even further to more than 25 more schools, getting the attention of big organizations and private individuals. 
Pp40 would become about more than merely managing wasteand giving public school students a feel of the arts to creating a generation of individuals who would see saving the planet as a must for everybody.
Waste Management In Oyo
A pungent smell there and heaps of dirt here, added to the speed with which waste fills the road as soon as it is cleared is a pointer to the culture of Waste management by residents of Ibadan, Oyo state.

 

An article published on a World Bank blog in 2017 notes that “Solid waste management has been a compounding issue for several decades in Ibadan, leading to communities being unwilling to pay for waste collection. This is impeding the private operators’ potential viability to provide services, as well as polluting the cities’ rivers and roadways thereby significantly increasing health risks.”
Another study published in the Research Journal of Applied Sciencesreveals that few household patronize the waste contractors. Mere collection and disposal of solid waste constituted the activities of the contractor. None of them engaged in reuse or recycling of the waste.Although, a chat with residents usually ends with fingers pointed at Waste Management contractors and the Oyo State waste Management Board.
The back and forth between government and residents,clearlyindicates bad wastemanagement practices and policies with practically no attempt to recycle and upcycle. 

 

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Pp40 in engaging public school students –who make up the bulk of those living in communities unable to pay for waste- was able to simultaneously engage residents in dutiful collection of waste and recycle such that waste collected did not end up in Landfills
How It All Started
Prior to starting the Pp40 project, Jumoke Olowookere has been into waste recycling and upcycling for 10 years, initially focusing on creating arts for her personal use and teaching young ones how to do it. From the first summer class for students which held in her Bodija home to teaching in elitist schools around Ibadan, she realized that students in public schools were at a disadvantage especially as it relates to arts (and creativity).  This realization coupled with her need to create a learning friendly environment for kids and give back to humanity fueled the Pp40 project. After working with 21 school using personal funds, she got help from Guaranty Trust Bank- who sponsored 4 schools – and then other organizations.
“The Pp40 idea was just for me to bridge a gap between private and public schools, even if all the students would have is that 1 day art experience. Although I stopped using my personal funds after 40 schools, we still train students and create playground for schools when people or organisations commission us to do so. We have also invented the #Mycreativebirthdaycelebration that allows an individual to mark their birthday by commissioning us to work with their alma mater.” She noted
Jumoke says that her passion for carrying out waste management projects in Ibadan stems from having lived all her life in the town. In carrying out the Pp40 project, she identified several issues with Waste Management in Oyo state then went on to launch “Africa Creative Hub”
African Creative Hub is a social enterprise. What we do at African Creative Hub is focus on Children and young adults because we believe that if we can focus on these group of people, we won’t have many problem tomorrow. This is because we have been able re-orientate and reeducate them to show them what the adults have done wrong and why they don’t have to do the same thing. We believe that once we can catch them young, we won’t have to be fighting this warfare against waste in the future”
Looking Into The Future
In her ever bubbly voice, she shared her excitement about the latest project undertaken by ACH. “We just finished the maiden edition of the Eco Hand day competition and which we also plan to take everywhere in Africa. The idea behind it is to bring together Primary and Secondary schools, both Public and Private to have a platform where they can look forward to working with waste in 3 categories; science fashion and art. Imagine if all the schools in Ibadan are practicing Waste Upcycling, it means we would have waste conscious children and teachers.” 
This summer, Africa creative Hub would be holding waste management training for young ones but as opposed to the usual cash payment, the enrollment fee would be 200 plastic bottles. This would not only reduce waste littering the 3rd largest city in Africa but also enable children who would otherwise be unable to afford the opportunity to participate.
For Jumoke Olowookere and the African creative Hub- on a mission to create a world without waste, the next stage is Community involvement especially with Collection of waste. She explains that that there are plans in place to create Waste Collection points across communities and create incentives for participating individuals, an obvious departure from the government approach of cajoling people to not dump waste on the road –which has never worked-
As exemplified by African Creative Hub and Jumoke Olowookere, the answer to waste management in Ibadan and Oyo state, seems to lie beyond simply educating and begging the populace to pay for waste pick up. It is no longer enough to threaten defaulters with fine or jail term for dumping waste on major roads. A model that takes into consideration engagement alongside;Recycling, Reusing, Refusing, Repairing, Reducing and Upcycling would most likely be more effective.

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