PROMISE Project launching activities were held from 25-28 January 2021 in Male’, Maldives.
On 25th January, the PROMISE project launching activities kicked-off with a beach clean-up event at Hulhumale’. The event was inaugurated by the First Lady, Ms. Fazna Ahmed.
Speaking at the event, the First Lady noted that clean-ups are a huge part of the fight against plastics as it opens opportunities for the volunteers to see the impact and level of plastic pollution first hand.
However, she added that clean-ups and recycling are not enough – and that lifestyle changes are required. A total of over 450kg of trash was collected, out of which 135kg was recyclable plastics.The clean-up event lasted for an hour. The Minister of Environment, Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan, Chancellor of MNU and other senior officials of MNU also joined the clean-up event.
Later in the day, project members visited the Parley baling station and the WAMCO waste transfer area located in the industrial area of Male’. The Parley team provided an overview of the facility and demonstrated the plastic baling process. At the WAMCO site, senior officials of WAMCO, including the MD presented members with a summary of WAMCO’s waste management practices, future plans and the challenges faced by the company, followed by a small tour of the waste transfer area.
Project members also visited the nearby waste management island of Thilafushi and had a look at some of the waste management facilities there as well. The day concluded with a trip to a liveaboard, where Parley Maldives gave a presentation on ocean plastic and the challenges for sustainable waste management in the Maldives.
The official launching ceremony of the PROMISE Project was held on the morning of 26th January at MNU Central Auditorium. The ceremony was officiated by the Minister of Environment of Maldives, Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan. Senior officials of the government, including Minister of Tourism, Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, Minister of Education, Minister of Higher Education, Special Adviser on Social Policy to the President also attended the ceremony, along with senior officials of MNU, TERI, STENUM Asia, Parlay Maldives and adelphi.
The launching ceremony was followed by a full day of working sessions by the project members. Details of the working sessions are as follows:
Working Session 1: Revisiting the project: The overall objectives of the project were revisited, where discussions were held in four breakaway groups, each with a theme related to the goal of the project: External communication, stakeholders, internal collaboration and outcomes required. The discussions highlighted the importance of engaging the right stakeholders, and the need for communication at various levels. Furthermore, collaboration among partners was highlighted as being essential to pool in the strengths of all partner organizations and to ensure smooth implementation of the project.
Working Session 2: Discussion on PROMISE Methodology: STENUM Asia presented an amalgamated version of their RECP Methodology and Parley’s A.I.R methodology to project members, wherein members gave feedback and worked on how the amalgamated PROMISE methodology could be further improved. The aim of amalgamating the two methodologies was to come up with a common approach and identify tools that could be used at all the project locations. However, country-specific considerations such as terminologies were taken into account and discussions were held on the required trainings for implementing the PROMISE methodology in all three target countries.
Working Session 3: Locations for Project Actions: Partners from all three target countries presented their case for the locations of project activities in their respective countries. The locations presented were based on desk research that had been conducted in the weeks leading up to the launching activities. Considerations in selecting the target locations included the numbers and types of MSMEs responsible for marine litter, as well as the quantities and types of waste most generated in each country.
Working Session 4: Next steps for coordinated actions: On 27th January, actions for the next 6 months under each work package for each country were proposed and discussed. As a result, an activity list has been prepared for work packages with actions in year 1 of the project. This includes actions under work package 1 (Material flow analysis and cost accounting), work package 2 (Waste minimization actions
based on PROMISE methodology), work package 5 (Policy advocacy for source to sea approaches) and work package 6 (Knowledge dissemination and consumer outreach). For work package 3 (Conceptualization and initiation of Zero Waste Alliance), discussions were held on the objectives, the scope of work and sustainability of such an alliance. Members also further discussed the features of hosting the Zero Waste Alliance in each of the three countries and how best to work towards increased sustainability in the region.
Actions under work package 4 (Access to finance for waste prevention) were briefly discussed as well. The need to recognise the existing financial services available in each of the three countries was highlighted and persons responsible for conducting this research from organizations from all three countries was identified.
On 28th January, final discussions were held on the draft action plans that were prepared under each work package. It was decided to monitor the proposed actions in each of the regular meetings that are to be held among all partners and to amend them as needed.