The Recycle Namibia Forum (RNF), a non-profit and membership-driven organisation, recently launched its new education campaign with the introduction of a mascot named Rubbish Ronnie.
The launch on 28 October 2022 introduced Rubbish Ronnie, designed to teach children about the 7 R’s and to Rethink Tomorrow by way of song and dance. This project takes the place of the long-running Schools Recycling Competition, in which close to 50 schools participated annually.
During the launch, guest speaker, Dr. Selma Lendelvo, highlighted the importance of creating environmental awareness amongst the youth today, given that they are to be the leaders tomorrow.
Gloudi de Beer, former Chairperson of the RNF, stated: “We have to move with the times and look at a project that can reach more children nationally, and start bringing the message home that we need to rethink the future by reconsidering how we approach waste. Our dream is that today will be the catalyst for the nation to start thinking about waste as a commodity and not a burden. This will enable us to find ways slowly but surely, through focused waste management initiatives, that will be able to assist in social development and economic upliftment now and in the future.”
The Rubbish Ronnie project has been made possible by Pick n Pay Namibia which donated a portion of each shopping bag sold country-wide to the RNF (before the introduction of the levy) for the purpose of launching a new youth education programme.
The project was conceptualised by BrandX, a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group, in Windhoek, and from the outset it was clear that as far as possible, it was to be Proudly Namibian. The mascot was thus designed and constructed in Windhoek and well-known local musician, DJ Castro, came on board by composing the catchy Rubbish Ronnie song. The production of the soundtrack was also done locally, with learners of Cimbebasia Primary School joining the initiative to film the dance routine together with Rubbish Ronnie and DJ Castro.
DJ Castro highlighted his commitment towards youth education via his charity campaign, Let’s Unite, which has been running for almost six years. “We have been helping children from different schools with stationery, uniforms etc., and along the way my connection with children grew. I am always happy to help because I believe in the youth of tomorrow.”
According to Anita Witt, Coordinator of the RNF, “The idea is to share information on the 7 R’s – Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Regift and Recycle – by singing and dancing to the Rubbish Ronnie song and encouraging schools to submit their videos to the RNF. Rubbish Ronnie’s dialogue will be adapted to suit the circumstances of the respective communities. Schools will be invited to create their own board games, incorporating the challenges they face within their own communities, together with their proposed solutions. These activities will leave a lasting, fun legacy with the schools.”
Whilst the project is still in its infancy, the Rubbish Ronnie team are exploring effective ways of promoting and sharing Rubbish Ronnie’s message across Namibia in 2023.