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.
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.
- 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.
- UNICEF Overview
- Top 10 Things To Know About UNICEF
- UNICEF vs. UNICEF USA
- UNICEF and the Plastic Bricks Program in Côte d’Ivoire: Explorative Discussion Guide #1
- Gender Equality and Girls’ Empowerment
- Climate, Energy and Environment
- Student Leaders Changing the World with UNICEF USA
Stories From the Field
- For Every Child, A Construction Champion
- The Most Beautiful School in the World
- Ivorian Students Can’t Wait to Go to School Again in Their New Plastic Bricks School
- The Hands That Build the Recycled Plastic Bricks Classrooms
- Building Schools From Recycled Plastic Waste in Côte d’Ivoire
- Less Trash, More Schools—One Plastic Brick at a Time