A health planet with prosperous people.

We restore biodiversity and enhance social welfare by promoting innovative and sustainable waste management.

Photo of Kavuma Johnmary
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.

Initiative's representative name

Kavuma Johnmary

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative's representative gender

  • Choose not to respond

Headquarters location: country

  • Uganda

Headquarters location: city

Mpigi Uganda

Where are you making a difference?

Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa.

Website or social media url(s)

Facebook page https://web.facebook.com/upcycleafricalimited/ Website www.upcycleafrica.org Twitter https://twitter.com/Upcycle_Africa Instagram

Date Started


Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €50k - €100k

Organization Type

  • Hybrid

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

I am Kavuma John Mary from Uganda, when I was 19 years old the poor drainage system next to our house flooded due to huge accumulation of plastic waste dumped in the trench next to it. It led to the collapse of our house. According to the police report. My only grandmother died from the injuries she suffered and I only survived with huge wounds on my head and a broken right arm. The pain of my loss became my inspiration to start a new form of housing construction hence founding Upcycle Africa. I thus founding Upcycle Africa a social business standing for environmental conservation and the uplifting of marginalized people’s lives we train marginalized groups of people on the way they can be able to turn plastic waste into products of inheren

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Upcycle Africa address the high cost of construction materials and environmental pollution caused by plastic waste in Uganda and world at large. Over 9 billion tones of plastic waste have been generated in the last five decades, with only about 9% recycled globally. The rest pollutes the environment, adversely affecting millions of urban dwellers. Simultaneously, Uganda suffers from an acute housing deficit of 200,000 units annually. This has inflated the cost of construction materials, with ke

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Eco-homes recycle locally available plastic waste into sturdy, eco-friendly construction materials for local marginalized groups of people. Our main product is affordable building bricks. The bricks are manufactured to the highest quality from plastic waste and sand, producing a cheaper alternative to expensive and unfriendly burnt bricks. On the other side increases the livelihood of marginalized groups of people through waste collection, sorting, compaction and construction.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Upcycle Africa is a social enterprise which focuses on environmental restoration, protection and improvement in the lives of marginalized groups of people. We are doing waste education and collected/Zero waste campaigns in communities in order to change people's mindset on the way they think and dispose of plastic waste. On the other side we also connect recycling companies to waste collectors hence improving on their employability. With our team we train communities on the way they can turn plastic waste into products of inherent value. We also construct homes out of plastic waste and support environmentally friendly startups.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

We have been able to partner with different organisations in different part of Africa to bring about waste reduction in those communities and uplifting the lives of marginalised gorups of people. Together with Eco Worriors in Ghana we have been able to inspire and empower younger from across the African continet. In addition we have made a partnership with Kyempapu where we have been able to train hundreds of people on waste reduction. On the other side we are working Social innovation academy to bring about climate activitsm and empower youths to start their own jobs.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

We have collected 3000,000 plastic bottles and recycled 10 tons of other plastic waste which we have sold to different recycling companies. Contributed towards a plastic waste free planet by cleaning beaches, streets and bus stations. We have so far constructed 117 houses in different parts of Africa. Provided shelter to over 11 marginalized families. Upcycle Africa has created direct jobs to 278 women and youth in our twelve communities of operation who serve on contract as waste pickers. Our school recycling project recovers plastic waste from over 52 schools monthly while educating students on good waste management practices. We would like to change the mind-set on the way people think and dispose of plastic waste. . With our slogan waste is not waste until you waste it we have reached over 2245,000 people in sensitization programs in communities while changing their mindset on the way they think and dispose of plastic waste.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

By 2024 we will have trained over 10000 marginalized groups of people as waste collectors, sorters compactors and constructors and we are able to provide employment for 500 of them due to a high demand of our services. We hope to head over 20 Zero waste campaigns in different part of Africa, disrupt new markets, for example Nigeria, DRC, and Namibia. We hope to increase our team to more people in different countries and also trained as ambassadors. We will have built a social business standing for environmental and social impact, whereby our work contribute to a mindset shift in regards to waste and inclusion. We are expecting to support over 100 Upcycling initiatives/start-ups in different parts of Africa. In order to practice a circular.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

We are enganging different community people in all steps of our work as waste collector, sorter, compactors and constructors. This creates alternative source of livelihood to these people and prmotes economic independency.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Our revenue is generated through the construction of plastic bottles house, also generated from the materials we create and sale for example compaction of bottles and other roofing materials upcycled car tires, jerry-cans for roofing. The revenue is generated through the construction of plastic construction including use of plastic bottles, Rubber, and many other kinds of plastics each constructed house will be put on a negotiable price. Revenue will also be generated from the training of masonry especially those who would like to take plastic construction as their carrier. It will also be generated from subscribers like donors. As well advocacy for example from organizations and schools by teaching them how they can properly do waste

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

We are a team with specific specialized skills in the areas required for the successful implementation of our concept. Monday David is an engineer by profession and has worked with different organizations in the country in line with construction for example the Justev Building systems and another member Kavuma Johnmary is a certified business developer who majorly deals with research and development for the matters regarding innovations and team recruitment. Nampeera Sophia hold a bachelor’s

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

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