Since 2012, our association has diversified its activities, as it only focused on vocational training for disadvantaged young people, the recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) activity was added.
Over time, an evolution in activity has therefore occured. On the one hand, the commercial activity of Solidarité Technologique has developed: strengthening the commercial team and increasing turnover by collecting professional WEEE, selling reconditioned equipment and selling fractions resulting from the dismantling of WEEE. On the other hand, the communication and scope of the project has evolved: increased communication on social networks and participation in events to make Solidarité Technologique better known.
The team of Solidarité Technologique in Cameroon operates autonomously, in conjunction with an Office in Paris. The French NGO La Guilde, with whom Solidarité Technologique has been working since 2011, is continuing its cooperation for the development of new projects, in particular the WEEECAM project.
In parallel with the evolution of Solidarité Technologique, the WEEECAM project mentioned above started in November 2017. Year 2 of the project therefore started on the 1st November 2018. Ultimately, the WEEECAM project will enable the implementation in Cameroon of a sustainable and reproducible activity for the collection and treatment of WEEE in large urban areas, and the increase the selling of reconditioned equipment, functional components and fractions.
A major success marked the year 2018, which is the awarding of the Convergences Prize to the WEEECAM project.
THE VOCATIONAL TRAINING CENTER
The Training Centre of Solidarité Technologique continued its advanced technical training approach with an emphasis on upgrading and recycling activities. It provides two one-year training courses in office secretarial and computer maintenance.
During the year 2017-2018, 26 learners from disadvantaged backgrounds were trained. At the end of the year, 17 candidates passed the national exam organised by the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training, with a success rate of more than 70%.
For the 2018-2019 school year, 44 learners were recruited following a communication campaign between July and September 2018, representing an increase in enrolment of almost 70%.
The accreditation of the training centre with the Ministry of Employment and Vocational Training was renewed in 2019 for a period 3 years. After 3 years, the centre will become eligible for public support grants for its learners.
THE CENTER FOR THE RECOVERY AND RECYCLING OF WEEE
In order to support the development of the activity, the working team of Solidarité Technologique has been increased to 20 permanent employees in Cameroon, including 2 sales representatives based in the economic capital: Douala.
The results are promising. Indeed, the recycling centre processed in 2018 14.2 tonnes of waste. Large companies remain the core customer base: 11.2 tonnes were collected from 23 companies and processed. The WEEE collected from companies represents mainly Information and Communication Technologies equipment. With the testing of the first collection point for household WEEEs in Ewonkan, 2.9 tonnes of household WEEE were collected. This marks the beginning for the diversification of the type of WEEE collected by Solidarité Technologique. Large and small household appliances, as well as lighting consumer equipments were collected. This is proof of the growing success of the activity.
This Award is sponsored by IPPAG (International Partnership for Premium and Gifts), and rewards projects with a high social and/or environmental impact, whose beneficiaries are based outside of France. The WEEECAM project was the winner of this price in 2018, thanks to its impact on the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: 4. Quality Education, 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth, 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Worth €15,000, this prize sows the success of the recycling initiative put in place by Solidarité Technologique in Cameroon and developed through the WEEECAM project. It also shows the harmonious synergy with the vocational training centre and has helped fund the activities of the project.
THE WEEECAM PROJET ( WASTE OF ELECTRICAL & ELECTRONIC EQUIPEMENT IN CAMEROON)
The WEEECAM project is a project supported by the NGO La Guilde and implemented by Solidarité Technologique. The experience gained by both organizations through the recycling project has enabled them to come to an important conclusion: it is possible to implement viable and sustainable WEEE collection and processing activities in the context of developing countries, assuming that sufficient volumes, political will and prior funding are available.
The WEEECAM project was designed with the objective of demonstrating this observation by example. The goal is to set up a large-scale collection and processing activity (5,000 t/year) in Cameroon’s two metropolitan areas: Yaoundé and Douala. It will generate significant economic, environmental and social impacts. Innovations will also be introduced in this sector, such as a carbon credit production component or the search for recycling processes adapted to the local context.
To meet the challenges associated with this change of scale, La Guilde and Solidarité Technologique joined forces with other partners: the NGOs Gevalor and ERA Cameroon as well as the French Geological Survey (BRGM). It is this consortium that is leading the 5-year project with a budget of €6 million. To date, 2/3 of the funds have been raised and other financing applications are being processed.
The 1st November 2018 marked the beginning of the second year of the WEEECAM project, which is planned for a period of 5 years until 2022. In 2018, the Yaoundé treatment centre has been extended and developed, a collection centre has entered into testing phase in Ewonkan (Yaoundé), and partnerships with the Urban Communities of Douala and Yaoundé concerning the provision of plots have been signed.
CONCLUSION AND PERSPECTIVES POUR 2019
The launch and progress of the WEEECAM project since November 2017 has led to an intensification and increase in the collection, recycling and reconditioning of WEEE. The objective of empowering and financially supporting the Technological Solidarity activity is maintained for year 5 of the WEEECAM project in view of the current progress.
The year 2019 comes with different perspectives and objectives. First of all, the collection points for household WEEE must be installed and functional: five in Douala and seven in Yaoundé. This will make it possible to diversify the types of waste collected. As part of the ongoing development of the Yaoundé sorting centre, work will begin on a new semi-industrial-scale WEEE recycling centre in Douala, increasing the amount of waste treated to 5,000 tonnes per year.
Naturally, the WEEECAM project is a major challenge for Solidarité Technologique and is in the process of revolutionizing the activity for the coming years. La Guilde, as the consortium leader, is responsible for most of the remaining fundraising effort for this project.
Thus, Solidarité Technologique will continue its action both economically through job creation, ecologically through waste recycling, and socially through the professional integration of disadvantaged young people and the reduction of the digital divide, relying on these three pillars to promote sustainable and inclusive technological development in Africa.
THE WEEECAM PROJET, A LARGE-SCALE TREATMENT SYSTEM FOR THE WASTE OF ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT
Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is a category of waste that raises a double issue: rapid growth, as well as significant management constraints due to certain toxic components it contains. Important ecological and health issues are indeed associated with it: harmful substances for the ozone layer, heavy metals (lead, mercury), persistent organic pollutants, greenhouse gases.
Developing countries are particularly exposed to the problem of WEEE: their rapid economic and demographic growth, as well as the social and cultural changes caused by development, lead to a steep increase in the waste-flow. At the same time, these countries do not yet have the infrastructure, technologies and collection systems to capture this flow and process it properly.
In Cameroon, however, the government – through the Ministry of Environment, Nature Protection and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED) – has been proactive, with specific regulations in place since 2012. 2012 was also the year during which the associations Solidarité Technologique and La Guilde launched a pilot initiative in the treatment of computer-related WEEE in Yaoundé. The present project constitutes both continuity and substantial development of this initial association. The success of it could serve as an example to follow in Africa and in most developing countries.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJET
The objective of the WEEECAM project is to implement in Cameroon a sustainable and reproductible activity for the collection and treatment of WEEE in large urban areas through 4 components:
- The installation of a large-scale WEEE collection system in the cities of Douala and Yaoundé;
- The implementation of a large-scale WEEE treatment system, optimising its environmental impact, economically and socially sustainable;
- Strengthening the existing institutional framework, while contributing to the structuring of this sector of activity;
- Valuing and capitalizing on the project’s experience to facilitate its replication and improve the chances of success of other initiatives in developing countries.
The WEEECAM project has an ambitious programme that fits into a broader strategy for sustainable development: economic and financial, social and cultural aspects, and environmental preservation are considered at the same time.
The project, at its full maturity at the end of year 5, will provide 157 full-time jobs for 157 people. Partnerships will have been established with various local actors who will ensure the collection of WEEE, in a thoughtful and constructive collaboration with the informal sector. The success of the project will mean the validation of a model that can be transposed to other countries, particularly in Africa where such an activity doesn’t currently exist.
The creation of the activity in the form of a company, which will generate profits towards the end of the project, is the best guarantee of its sustainability. During its implementation, La Guilde and Solidarité Technologique will consider two scenarios for retrocession: transformation into a local structure of the SSE type (Social and Solidarity Economy) or the creation of a conventional company with shared equity investments between private investors and local public institutions.
Finally, the WEEECAM project will have a major impact on the local and global environment. It will enable the collection and treatment of potentially hazardous waste streams, thus avoiding the dispersion of pollutants: toxic compounds dangerous for the ozone layer and global warming. It will also have an innovative dimension and experiment the creation and resale of carbon credits linked to a WEEE management activity.
COST AND DURATION
The WEEECAM project will last five (05) years in two distinct phases :
- Phase 1 has started and runs from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2020.
- Phase 2 will last from April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2022. Its total budget is EUR 6 000 000, of which EUR 3,6 million (60%) has been raised to date.