Mennesker som jobber med waste for value

Tomorrow's Aid - New Solutions to Global Challenges 

Future aid must be innovative to address global challenges.  Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) is an important actor and a driver for change and development. Here are some examples how big and small changes and innovation can change lives.


Text: Kristine Eid, Sara Victoria Røyland, Eli van der Eynden and Anette Torjusen.

Photos: Norwegian Church Aid.

Honey provides a secure income  

In Malawi, farmers receive training in beekeeping and produce honey that is sold in stores across the country.

Her ser vi Collins Kasimba som viser frem honningen sin

"Engaging in beekeeping doesn't require much labour, and it is easy to scale up so that we can have a better income," says Collins Kasimba. 

Her røyker han inn i bikubene

He is one of 14 farmers who have received beekeeping training in Malawi. Collectively, these farmers have 140 beehives and supply honey to the stores and supermarkets nationwide.

"The unique aspect of this project is that beekeepers are connected to a private actor that has honey processing equipment and a ready distribution system. This provides farmers with a secure and stable income," says Håvard Hovdhaugen, the Country Director for NCA in Malawi.

Charcoal briquettes prevent deforestation  

In northeastern Nigeria, charcoal briquettes are being made from sludge and feces. The project is part of the fight against environmental pollution while also creating a safer environment for girls and women.

These briquettes replace wood burning in several refugee camps in the area, ensuring that sludge from latrines is safely handled and does not pollute water sources or spread diseases.

"This project also makes everyday life safer for girls and women who often gather firewood for cooking in the forest, making them more vulnerable to harassment and rape. In addition, the charcoal briquettes can be sold and generate an income for vulnerable individuals," says Marianne Sampo, the Head of Department for Southern and Western Africa.

The project is now being tested, and both local authorities in Nigeria and UNICEF are very positive about it. "This means that we can continue to scale up production, which will help more people in the communities gaining access to charcoal," says Sampo.

It takes about three weeks to make a charcoal briquette:

Waste for Value  

This truly “trashy project” is tackling several challenges at once. Waste for value is creating jobs while also contributing to a cleaner environment.  

Waste for Value started as a pilot project in 2019 with refugees from South Sudan and locals in Gambella province in Ethiopia facing the border to South Sudan. 

Littering is a major and growing problem in Ethiopia. At the same time, poverty is widespread, and many women are particularly vulnerable. In the Waste for value project, waste is collected and recycled, while also providing jobs with a steady income.

The project consists of seven small-scale enterprises with a total of 186 members. So far, the project has collected and recycled 259,060 kilos of plastic, metal, and paper waste. 

Solar panels provide safe drinking water   

Twelve years of war and conflict in Syria have resulted in considerable damage to the country's water systems. Before the war, 98 % of the urban population had access to clean water. Today, barely half of the country's water and sanitation systems are functional.

In the village of Korb'Ali in Syria, we use electricity from solar panels to pump water from a depth of 300 meters underground. The water pumped up is sufficient to supply the city's population of 4,400 people with an adequate amount of drinking water.

In addition to clean and safe drinking water, they now also have water for livestock, agricultural fields, and olive trees, which many rely on for their livelihoods in this harsh climate district.

Preserving forests to mitigate climate change 

Scientists estimate that 10-15 % of all greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation, and that forest planting is one of the tools in the fight against global warming. 

In Guatemala, NCA is involved in supporting projects that enable different local communities to preserve the forests in which they reside. One of these forests is in Chajil Siwan Park.

For NCA, it is important to contribute to preserving this forest and its water sources for the local community, while also creating job opportunities.

In Ethiopia, we have joined forces with religious leaders for a project aimed at conserving forests and planting trees around several Orthodox churches in the country.

New cultivation methods for farmers

In several of the countries we work in, we have introduced drip irrigation, a more efficient irrigation system for farmers. This is a system that provides better watering for crops and yields higher harvests.

The goal is to lift small-scale farmers out of poverty and hunger while developing them as farmers. Takondwa Phanga is one of the farmers leading the drip irrigation project in Malawi, where he trains other farmers on how to cultivate more effectively.

“My job is perfect for me. My passion is to help farmers develop, so they can get better results. Through my job, I can help make a difference”.

In Somalia, we are supporting projects that make it easier for farmers to cultivate vegetables by setting up greenhouses in the desert. This enables local communities to grow their own food for consumption and sale.

In the future, NCA will continue to be innovative to meet the challenges of the future. We must be open-minded and seek innovative solutions to old problems.

We will continue to challenge ourselves and constantly strive to improve our work to be more innovative.