Welcome to part two of my experience working for SAP in my home country of Ghana, helping to support a sustainable future and ensure equitable wages for the country’s vulnerable groups. In Part 1, I introduced you to SAP Rural Source Management (RSM) and its focus in Ghana. In Part 2, I will share with you my first impressions working on the ground with SAP supporting Ghana’s initiative to reduce plastic waste in the nation.
As an SAP employee born in Ghana and having worked on sustainability projects, this is an excellent opportunity to combine my SAP background with cross cultural business practices to support the pilot’s success. My first month in Ghana has been a busy one getting to know the participants involved in the pilot at all levels. This included business partners in Accra, Ghana’s capital, and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), the project sponsor, who is leveraging RSM to connect plastic connectors to recyclers, track plastics and measure the social impact in the cities of Accra, Kumasi, and Bolgatanga. As you can see by the map, this covers a large geographic portion of Ghana.
First, I met with members of the local IT partners in Ghana and in Accra (Ghana’s capital) through Ghana's Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), which connects plastic collectors to recyclers, tracks plastic and measures social impact in the cities of Accra, Kumasi and Bolgatanga—effectively covering a large geographic portion of Ghana (map below).
The experience meeting local members, who are passionate about this project and committed to its mission, was invaluable and gave me deeper insight into the project overall, including the recycling process and feedback on how RSM can be used. I know these personal connections will serve me well in the future.
I have been impressed to see, industry and government sectors working together to align with rural communities to deliver new sources of income through a common waste management strategy. One great example is the Dow Project, which is focused on making Sekondi-Takoradi, near Ghana’s southern tip, a zero plastic waste community by bringing together community members and waste pickers to collaborate on a solution that meets local requirements. The overarching goal of the pilot is to work with the private and public sectors to scale the system into a national one: the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI) Project.
I am saddened to witness the impact plastics are having on my home country, impacting our oceans, sewage systems, and the health and safety of our citizens. At the same time, I am impressed with the innovation being demonstrated by the Ghanaian people to recycle plastics through its use as a material for building homes, baskets and even clothing.
As my first month ends, I am reminded of a Ghanaian proverb: You must act as if it is impossible to fail. The people I have met live and breath this proverb and demonstrate their commitment to the success of this project and their passion for sustainability. I am full of pride in the impact Ghana and SAP is having on our planet and thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of this pilot. To those of you following my journey, I say Medase (Thank You).
Don’t stop here… you can learn more about SAP Rural Sourcing Management on SAP.com
If you’re interested in learning more about the circular economy, there’s a free class available from OpenSAP.