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When Peacebuilding meets Recycling - The Story of Abdullah

“In August, 2019  I started my own recycling initiative, here in Amman. Last summer, I took part in a UNESCO social innovation training, where I learned how to recycle glass, plastic and clothing. I was so inspired by this that I decided to focus on raising awareness, teaching people in Jordan how they can reuse their old clothes creatively by making art pieces and functional items, like pencil cases made out of discarded jeans.”
“Word started to spread through the community as I collected old clothes from relatives, friends and neighbours, and more people wanted to join. In Jordan, recycling is in its infancy and trash is not systematically separated. Instead, it all gets buried and plastic is a way of life here. Things are evolving though and I feel strongly that garbage must be used as an asset; something we can derive value from.”
© Abdullah Yousef
“If we don’t start recycling, we will continue to pollute our waterways, disrupting the balance of life and worsening climate change. Youth are starting to wake up to this and I feel encouraged by the enthusiasm people show about new green initiatives here. Recycling promotes peacebuilding by giving youth a way to spend their free time productively and by initiating civic engagement projects that strengthen community ties. I tell young people that they can make a difference by starting to recycle at home and not waiting for the government to initiate a national program. We must constantly ask ourselves how we can re-use each item we consume. Slowly, slowly, there is a green revolution starting here.”
 
- Abdullah Yousef, participant of the UNESCO-UNOCT Project "Youth Peacebuilding", co-funded by Canada.