Motherwell Community and Enviro Hub
Gqeberha, South Africa
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Location:
Gqeberha, South Africa
Category:
education
Phase:
construction preparation
Updated:
1 October 2021
Motherwell is a high density settlement, bordering the Swartkops Estuary, a biodiversity priority area under significant threat from pollution. Facing issues of poverty and poor environmental health, a clear need exists for sustainable livelihoods that link with waste minimisation. As such, the project expands on existing community-run waste recycling and environmental education initiatives in the area; through an integrated sustainability hub.
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Introduction
Run by 4 local women since 1998, the Motherwell Buy-Back Centre is a waste collecting and sorting facility servicing the local community both financially and environmentally. Presently, waste is brought in by pickers and sorted and sold to waste recycling companies, with non-recyclables used for the making of crafts. However, the centre faces significant obstacles - vandalism, deteriorating facilities and no access to basic services are but just a few. Also within the area, an Enviro-Education Club holds childrens' environmental workshops, often in partnership with the Buy-Back Centre in the making of sustainable crafts. The Hlumani Nande Environmental Ambassadors Group is a dynamic group tackling climate justice and food security within Motherwell. Therefore, building on the community's shared vision of a resilient and healthy Motherwell, all 3 groups have come together, seeking a safe space and a formal structure to continue their important work, under an upgraded and combined facility. With ample space for development on the Buy-Back Centre's site, the Motherwell Community and Enviro Hub will be an integrated facility, with space for enviro-education, workshops, waste sorting, craft-making, food gardens, composting and more, using waste as the core building material.

Currently, the project is in its final stages of design development, with proposals submitted for funding to upgrade the existing centre and expand it into the sustainability and community hub it aims to be.
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Impact
Through collaborative community and project team engagement, awareness programmes, and training in all phases of the project; the community will develop skills and knowledge on the impact of waste, waste sorting and recycling, and self-sufficient gardening and farming practices. The desired outcome is a shift in the perception of waste to be an item of potential value. Additionally, the Motherwell Community and Enviro Hub will be built mostly with waste, using locally sourced materials in a simple and cost-effective method, training community operators on how to do this so they can teach others in the future. The benefit is a cost-effective building process, waste reduction and re-use, and skills development. Operators will also receive training in business planning and implementation, and compliance with waste management legislation. Once completed, project beneficiaries will have a formal facility that is attractive to customers, conducive to more efficient waste operations and can serve the community at large more effectively than before. This will enhance their current businesses, and allow them to expand and grow, increasing livelihood opportunities for themselves and their families. A clean and healthy environment is important to developing a resilient and healthy community. The facility will be a pilot plant that can be replicated elsewhere, extending its impact on a broader scale.
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Core team
The Hub is an integration of 3 community organisations – the Buy Back Centre, Enviro-Educators Group, and Hlumani Nande Environmental Ambassadors Group; comprising 25 Motherwell locals who share a Vision of a clean environment and resilient community. Jenny Rump and Dale Clayton, environmental activists of the Zwartkops Conservancy have supported the entities since inception, and introduced the project team in 2000. Belinda Clark and Mike Cohen, environmental specialists of CEN IEM Unit, are spearheading the project; with RBL Architects, and a social facilitator, Therese Boulle. CEN is an environmental consultancy, focused on sustainable development where communities are an integral part of the environment. Architects Johan Lochner, Shane Kemp and Daniella Patsolos are leading the facility design, waste building methods, and construction management. Therese has extensive experience working with communities, and her role is to facilitate discussions for an integrated facility, where the 3 entities work together for a greater impact. The Sustainable Seas Trust, an NPO in Gqeberha, is focused on zero plastic waste at sea, and has joined as a partner in impact measurement research, media support and business planning. Emphasis is given to planning and developing the upgraded Hub together. The project is therefore a partnership of community groups, specialists, and support organisations; with a common purpose of community upliftment through environmental management.
 https://environmentcen.co.za  
http://www.rbl.co.za/   
https://sst.org.za 
https://www.zwartkopsconservancy.org/
Partner logos

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Image gallery
Buy-Back Centre crafters with their handmade items

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Motherwell Water Channels Overrun with Waste

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Motherwell Buy-Back Centre Entrance

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Current Buy-Back Centre Storage Facility

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Preparation of a New Craft Using Plastic Bag Thread

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Baseline Waste Survey Training Workshop

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Local Urban Food Garden

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Fresh Harvest

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Local Produce Market

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Making and Testing Waste Building Block Prototypes

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Waste Building Block Prototypes

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Reduce - Reuse - Recycle: Buy-Back Centre Art

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Existing Buy-Back Centre and Erf for Expansion

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Buy-Back Centre Crafters Hard at Work

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Technical drawings
Site Plan

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Ground Floor Plan

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Section A-A

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Courtyard View

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Interior Classroom View

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Night View

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Help bring our project to life!
1 October 2021
New partner: Sustainable Seas Trust
1 October 2021
New partner: Zwartkops Conservancy
28 September 2021
Presentation
Presentation update of proposed edu-centre.
Help bring our project to life!
Where are we now
We have achieved the following: stakeholder engagement to build awareness and project support; development of a site development plan and waste management plan; lease renewal application; 'building with waste' guideline and training workshop; baseline community waste surveys;  awareness in the broader community through radio presentations, social media posts, presentations, participation in schools’ training programmes; and ongoing collection of waste materials for building through community networks. We have a good professional team for project planning and implementation. We have partial funding (122262 US Dollars), but need additional support for construction labour and materials.
An indication of our team’s capacity:
50% funding already raised
90% expertise already found
10% materials / equipment already found
20% builders already found
Finance: € 9,300
The project expands existing community-run waste recycling and environmental awareness initiatives; by developing an integrated sustainability hub. Direct outcomes will be less waste in Motherwell and the Swartkops Estuary, sustainable livelihood opportunities, and improved living conditions. Other impacts include changed perceptions of waste to an item of value, reducing solid waste pollution in the process. Parts of the facility will be built with waste, using low cost and simple, replicable methods, involving the community directly in the operation. The hub will be a pilot facility that can be replicated elsewhere, extending its positive impact and showcasing what can be done with waste.
  • Construction equipment (cement mixers, compressors
  • 500
  • Engineering costs
  • 500
  • Services installation - water and sewer
  • 500
  • Security - boundary fencing
  • 500
  • Solar energy
  • 5,800
  • Construction labour costs (skilled)
  • 500
  • Construction labour costs (unskilled)
  • 500
  • Construction materials (concrete, crusher, cement)
  • 500
    Skills: PR & Marketing
    The project needs ongoing support from the broader community throughout its lifetime. In the current development phase, marketing to attract further funding would add to the full project vision being attained. The professional team facilitating the development of the hub does not have marketing expertise. The operators would benefit from improved marketing of their services, especially through web-based marketing of crafts and waste-built building materials.
    Stuff: Equipment & tools
    Cement mixers and compressors are needed to make waste building blocks. A waste bailer is needed for operations to compress recyclable waste for more efficient recycling. Tables and chairs and general office furniture is needed for the enviro-education facility, the waste recycling office, and the craft sales area. Gardening tools (wheelbarrows, spades, buckets, forks etc.) are needed for the food gardens. Kitchen equipment and utensils are needed for workshops and events at the facility, and for food sales to visitors.
    Hands
    We need lots of hands to help make enough waste building blocks in preparation for the construction phase; as well as erecting the framework structure and building infill panels. During construction, the aim is to involve local community members as much as possible in the building process, but we need skilled builders and/or site managers to help oversee the building method and process.  We also need engineers to assist with ensuring structural integrity and to help in the management of stormwater and other services.
    Waste Building Block Method

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    Help bring our project to life!
    Partners
    Location
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