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African Youth Waste Network

The youth of Africa represent more than 60% of the population on the continent. According to a UN and World Bank report last year, it’s predicted that by the end of the century, more than half the youth of the planet will be in Africa. When you consider marine-waste expert Dr Jenna Jambeck’s study that showed the total annual waste generation is mostly a function of population size, there is a direct link between the increase of population to the increase in plastic pollution and waste.

This then poses the question: Is Africa ready to meet the social, economic, political and educational challenges that will arise with youth population increase? This includes the increase in waste-management issues.  

The probability of success in meeting the challenges is far greater if we harness the energy, young ideas, power, emotions and convictions of the youth. The youth have the power of influence, and when united have the power to be heard by decision makers in business, government, civil society and even at home by their parents and grandparents. What’s clear is that, currently, there’s no cohesive youth-driven dialogue about plastic pollution across Africa. The African Youth Waste Network (AYWN) is an effort to address this lack, and begin a movement. 

The AYWN is an active platform for collaboration, resource and knowledge sharing within countries and across borders for the youth of Africa. It aims  to find relevant solutions to Africa’s plastic-pollution problems. This is the youth-driven, African contribution to a sustainable future, and our ultimate goal is working towards zero plastics to the seas of Africa by 2035.

Watch our Youth Waste Network Launch on SABC TV

Young people are upping the ante in the fight against plastic pollution in our oceans.


Steering Committee



Advisory panel, including SST, its trustees.

Advisory panel, including SST, its trustees and an advisory panel.


It will encourage Africa’s youth to find solutions to plastic pollution and it will do this by educating, involving and inspiring them.

We will create Green Schools starting in Nelson Mandela Bay, under the guidance of SST’s education programmes.

We will link schools across the country and continent by sharing information through the Are You on the Map programme? 


We will create an incentive for youth to participate in the network through activities, such as festivals, school and university competitions.


‘Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great.
[This generation] can be that great generation.’