UNICEF USA and National Honor Society

In celebration of the National Honor Society’s (NHS) centennial in 2021, NHS and UNICEF USA have partnered to empower chapters to raise money to build 10 sustainable classrooms in Côte d’Ivoire using recycled plastic bricks—one classroom to honor every decade of NHS.

© UNICEF/UNI364657/Dejongh
National Honor Society and UNICEF USA work together to build sustainable classrooms using 100 percent recycled plastic bricks.

This project will not only fund the actual construction of the buildings, but will also provide desks, chairs, school supplies, teacher trainings, latrines, solar panels, water points, community engagement opportunities, and implementation of the Green School Project. It will also create a women-led recycling market that will convert Côte d’Ivoire’s plastic waste into safe and durable low-cost building materials, empowering women and lifting families out of poverty. This partnership will provide NHS students with insight into UNICEF’s global work around education, climate change, and gender equity while challenging them to connect these themes to issues impacting their local communities.

NHS and UNICEF USA are working towards four key outcomes in Côte d’Ivoire: environmental safety and sustainability; economic empowerment and poverty alleviation; improving education outcomes; and long-term systems and behavior change.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the capital city of Abidjan produces 288 tons of plastic waste each day, 90 percent of which is found to pollute low-income communities. Together with Conceptos Plasticos, UNICEF will use plastic bricks initially to build new classrooms and schools. UNICEF has also helped build the first-of-its-kind plastic brick factory in Africa. The factory will help spur a new recycling economy as well as jobs at multiple levels of the project, from plastic supply to construction to teaching.

Through our collective impact, UNICEF USA and NHS can reach the most vulnerable children and families and ensure they are able to survive and thrive.

Fast Facts

  • The capital city of Abidjan produces 288 tons of plastic waste each day.
  • A staggering 60 percent of malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia cases in children are attributed to improper waste management.
  • Bricks made from plastic waste are 40 percent cheaper, 20 percent lighter, and 50 years more durable than conventional bricks.
  • In Côte d’Ivoire, 1.6 million children are out of school and most of them are girls.

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