By Gloria Ikegbule
Oluwatobi Williams-Ade is a pharmacist by training but took to environmental activism as a major interest. She is the founder of Recycle Articreate Initiative, a social enterprise that inspires children to work with recyclable materials with the aim of promoting the green idea through creativity, education, arts and child development projects.
Aiming for more impact in the environmental space, Oluwatobi is the organiser of Females in Waste Management (FEMINWASTE). The event, which marked her fourth edition this year, holds every March 8, the same day women around the world are celebrated. In her words, “Women deserve all the accolades.”
She told Daily Sun why she made that statement, her vision for the women in the environmental space and what she is doing to make her vision a reality.
How did you come about your signature, ‘Ecopharmacist,’ and what should be expected of you as an Eco-pharmacist?
I didn’t coin the name, Ecopharmacist. It was one of my colleagues, Wole Adegbule, an environmentalist, that was always calling me the name. So, I embraced the name. Ecopharmacist simply means an environmental pharmacist. In times to come, I am working on how to integrate the two professions in achieving good health for all and a better environment.
How did a pharmacist end up an environmentalist?
I am a trained pharmacist. But after school I engaged in a series of programmes that built my love for the environment and I decided to do more.
What is your impression of females in waste management business?
A female in waste management is not just a professional outlook. It starts with the girl cleaning the house, to street sweepers, to waste collectors, to lots of women helping to sort waste, to the artist that sees waste as masterpieces in her artwork, to women in government making policies for the good of waste management. Also, when you see a woman, she is an inbuilt waste manager.
My advice to women in waste management simply is not to give up. At the end of the day, waste management requires a lot of energy, time and resources but it is worth the experience for a better future.
What is the idea behind FEMINWASTE?
FEMINWASTE represents Females in Waste Management. It’s an International Women’s Day event designed to celebrate women in every aspects of waste management activities, business, government, operations, services, research and development. The project was birthed on March 8, 2018, and this happens to be the fourth edition.
What is your vision for FEMINWASTE?
Aside from encouraging women to do more, my vision is to showcase, sensitize, educate, celebrate and bring to limelight the impact of females in waste management. The waste management industry has not yet been recognized by the world. I look forward to a time when awards and Nobel prizes will be worthy of women in this sector.
What personal experience led you to start FEMINWASTE?
I have had the opportunity of meeting a couple of women working in the waste management sector, particularly Mrs Cynthia Saka and Mrs. Lolade Oresanwo, who are passionate about what they do. So, when I learnt that there was a day dedicated to celebrate women in business, science, technology, art, education, et cetera, I knew it was an important work to celebrate women in waste management.
What do you do at Recycle Articreate?
Recycle Articreate is a place where we learn, create, innovate and promote recycling and a green environment.
What has been the response of your target audience, children?
I have always believed, if you want the world to know about something, let the children, young ones know about it. As they will start by telling their parents and their friends and anyone who cares to listen, before you know it, the idea has spread. This has really helped us grow as it is also easy to get the attention of children to recycle because recyclables are found all around us.
Which is more tasking between getting the attention of children to recycle and growing their interest for recycling into habit?
These two are interwoven, getting the attention of children to recycle and growing their interest for recycling into a habit. An easy way to achieve this is through an educational institution such as school. Like this year’s FEMINWASTE is set to hold in a school. There we are able to get about 100 female students to attend, courtesy of their teacher/principal. From there, we can work on growing their interest for recycling and then cultivating a habit in them (recycle clubs).
What can be done to help more youths embrace recycling?
More sensitization is needed in terms of education via one-on-one activities, conferences and seminars on recycling and waste management. More so, attractive projects and media programmes that focus on recycling will help more youths embrace recycling.