Abidjan – On 24 November 2022, IOM Côte d’Ivoire organized in Abidjan the Green Job and Waste Valorization Fair under the theme “Waste Valorization: An Employment Opportunity for Returnees and Their Communities”. This meeting between the various key actors of circular economy promoted access to training and to the green job market for returnees and community members. Throughout the event, emphasis was placed on the great economic potential of the waste recovery sector, which is “under structuring and organization”, according to Mr. Adolphe GUEIGO, Head of Department at the National Waste Management Agency, and which offers concrete job opportunities thanks to the high market demand for products resulting from waste recovery (e.g., bio-fertilizer and bio-charcoal briquettes).

A total of 116 people took part in the event, including representatives from the Ministry of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and the Diaspora, Ministry of Hydraulics, Sanitation and Hygiene, as well as members of civil society and the private sector. This fair was an opportunity for the twenty-nine (29) returnees and seven (7) community members to share with the participants their experience of training in waste management and recovery techniques provided by experts in the sector and facilitated by IOM.

During the first panel, they informed the public about particularities of the three specialties they were trained in, namely: (i) transformation of bags and plastic components into building bricks and paving stones, (ii) transformation of food waste into compost, liquid fertilizer, biochar and (iii) transformation of coconut residues into biochar briquettes. “Through this fair, I realized that I was not left to my own devices and that the opportunities in this field are there indeed. Before the training, I found this profession devaluing and I could not see myself doing it. Today, I have a different perception of this field of activity. I didn’t know that it was possible to make fertilizer from waste,” said Espérance Yoli, a returnee trained to make organic fertilizer.

Two further panels were then held by eco-entrepreneurs and experts on employment and training opportunities in the waste recovery sector. Natasha DOUHO, promoter of “Reine de Cocos” and trainer of beneficiaries in the manufacture of bio-charcoal briquettes, shared her desire to “recruit staff among the trained beneficiaries”. In addition, addressing the returnees and young community members, Mr. Doudjo SORO, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the African Centre of excellence for waste to value (in French, CEA VALOPRO), said that “CEA VALOPRO provides short training courses, without any educational prerequisites, for everyone and that they can be free of charge for groups of at least 30 people”.

He also encouraged them to start the process of registering and benefiting from the courses. The end of the event was marked by the handing over of training certificates to trained beneficiaries and by the visit of stands, held by the eco-entrepreneurs who came to exhibit their work. The fair on economic opportunities in the waste recovery sector was made possible thanks to funding from the European Union under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

For more information, please contact Lucia CAPALOZZA, Reintegration Officer, IOM Côte d’Ivoire, lcapalozza@iom.int.