2022 End-of-Year Review: AppCyclers

For us at AppCyclers, 2022 was a step forward in achieving most of the targets and impacts we set out to work on. A lot of enthusiasm went into our activities last year, which focused on championing the impact and growth of our startup. During the year, we achieved new prospects in project collaboration with institutions and organizations in the e-waste ecosystem that enabled us to strengthen our partnerships. As well, a major turning point was acquiring office space and designing it into various segments. We have a branded showcase room for our upcycled products on sale, a refurbished lab for e-waste processing and repairs, and a co-working space for the team. This enabled us to handle business effectively when we received a number of stakeholders to discuss business and beneficial collaborations. The team also gained exposure through participation in startup challenges and their complementing projects.

Our Impact Projects

We began the year by executing the E-waste Recycling Workshop for senior high schools, which was a drive toward nurturing the interest of students in opportunities with electronic waste. This was also to offer skills in e-waste recycling, which has the same effect on safeguarding the environment. We used story-telling and drama as a methodology to educate the students on the dangers of the indiscriminate dumping of e-waste. The three-week-long recycling workshop had three senior high schools engaged on different days, accruing over 1500 student beneficiaries.

Also, our key highlight in projects this year was the Arts with E-Waste program implemented in collaboration with the Green African Youth Organization (GAYO) as winners of the Advocacy Seed Initiative Fund (ASIF) challenge. We made it distinct using an innovative approach to use electronic waste to create artifacts over the course of two months. In this project, 61 young people were trained in building 4 different products from e-waste to empower them with skills in upcycling. Our participants exhibited great zeal in learning about the reuse of e-waste and showed motivation to develop the knowledge acquired to minimize the impact of e-waste dumps on the environment.

In October, we observed International E-waste Day by engaging with the Northern Regional Repairers Association to share a few tips on sustainable practices in their line of work. We had conversations about their operations, which also featured interactions about future collaborations in e-waste management in the Northern Region.

This same month, October, we featured a documentary on our annual Edu-Waste Campaign. We invited our community and partners to stream “E-LIFE,”  a film on e-waste that unveils investigations of the social and environmental consequences of e-waste in the US, UK, and Accra, Ghana. We recorded 40 attendees for the documentary show, who at the end of the streaming shared commendations for our work.

We climaxed the year with an E-Waste Collection and Donation Drive in December. We called on households and offices to donate their e-waste equipment to our collection points. As a way of giving back to our community, we repaired and donated some equipment to foster care homes. We intend to repair and donate more e-waste in 2023, as we have done in the past.

Our Portfolio 

The year 2022 had us engaged in various engagements that kept us on the spectrum. We accepted challenges to participate in competitions to gain mentorship support for growth and funds for projects. The team was fortunate to make it to the end. In June, AppCyclers was among the 12 startups selected to pitch at the Kigali Start-up Festival 2022 of the Commonwealth Youth Forum in Rwanda, where we excelled as the first runner-up in the Green Innovation Guru Category.

Likewise, in July, we were nominated as part of the seven finalists for the ICS3 and Otto Krahn Corporate Challenge on Sustainable Chemistry and New Recycling in Africa and emerged as winners.

We were also nominated among the finalists’ startups, which were selected from five African markets for the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge, to pitch our business and compete for a $50,000 equity funding prize.

The team gained significant experience to help the growth of the startup, for which we extend our gratitude to the organizers and implementing groups for the opportunity.

We also welcomed the DW correspondent to our office to cover a story about our work. The team took him through our e-waste services and the impact of our projects working towards our goal of ethical waste recovery. We created an opportunity for him to engage some clients in our service delivery in e-waste management.

Towards the last quarter, we equally welcomed a visitation of the vice chancellor of Tamale Technical University (TATU), Prof. Abass Braimah, and his entourage to the office space. We were grateful for his visitation and discussed potential collaborations towards strengthening e-waste management and the input of the university towards that.

Our Partnerships 

Indeed, we took deliberate steps towards our vision and experienced growth with our new and existing partners. Through our coordinating partner, the WEEE Center, we secured a partnership project from NOREC, an initiative under the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to execute an exchange program. On this, we hosted our project partners, the WEEE Center and Vohitra Environment, in November for a feasibility partner meeting. We are working together for mutual benefit to exchange personnel to drive impact.

We also engaged with CREATE SEED this year in the Summer School 2022 on Sustainable Electronics and Eco-Design. Through case study ideas shared by PhD students at the Polytechnique University of Montreal, this program introduced us to a new dimension in electronic waste and mining. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership for better engagements.

We also signed an MOU with Quadloob Creations, a social enterprise company that aims to develop affordable solar lanterns and home systems produced with a lower environmental impact. The aim is to strengthen partnerships among stakeholders in the e-waste value chain by leveraging our e-commerce platform to promote upcycled products and artwork that are sustainable, eco-friendly and made from e-waste.

We came this far by executing our impact initiatives with our partners. We are grateful to the following organizations for supporting us to drive impact: CREATE SEED, UNICEF Ghana, MEST AFRICA, Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO), Electro Recycling Ghana, Otto KRAHN GROUP, NOREC, WEE CENTRE, Vohitra Environment, Tamale Technical University (TATU), #CYF2022: Kigali Start-up Festival -Ministry of Youth and Culture | Rwanda.

Moving Forward

Our focus will be on raising awareness about the e-waste problem and advocating for safer methods of e-waste collection. We will place a strong emphasis on our e-commerce platform in order to digitize collections and promote the sale of upcycled goods.  We are open to building more strategic partnerships with NGOs, governments, and corporate organizations to build a collection centre in Tamale and other mini buy-back centres around the three northern regions to facilitate the collection and processing of e-waste. The lack of available infrastructure and systems makes it difficult to operate in this industry. We call on all who share our vision and objectives in order to create impact and solidify our growth.

Last year, with the help of partners and the community, we embarked on a daring and exciting journey. To all of our ecosystem partners, we appreciate your efforts and support, and we hope to see a trend toward more impactful projects that contribute to the realization of our vision. For our community, what could we have achieved without their enormous support? We acknowledge your efforts and support and look forward to a greater future. We pledge to continue on this path to completion with the team, partners, and community in 2023 and beyond.

Please reach out to us via the contact details below: Email: hello@appcyclers.com! We appreciate your assistance in helping us do more. Donate to CalBank, Account No. 1400005316539, Tamale Branch, Sort Code: 140801, Swift Code: ACCCCGHAC.

2022 End-of-Year Review: AppCyclers

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