My experience at the WEEE Centre
My experience at the WEEE Centre
(An experience of a partner in WEEE Centre on e-waste management hands on skills training)
I am Hoby Rakotondranaly, manager of the e- waste department at Vohitra Environnement in Madagascar, and participating to the Norec-exchange program by working at the WEEE Centre in Kenya for six months. Managing e-waste involves collection, inventory, testing, refurbishment (if applicable), dismantling and recycling of the fractions. People tend to store e-waste or to sell it, since it has sentimental value or economic value to them. It is our duty to inform the society that these practices are threatening our health and environment. In fact, despite of its value, e-waste contain hazardous substances and processing it requires protective gears and appropriate technology.
Empowering the community through awareness campaigns promotes a free-pollution planet and save our life. It is the hardest part of my work, but also the best when I succeed to make someone change his mind and dispose his e-waste with a licensed facility. Loading, carrying, off-loading and dismantling e-waste are more physical activities and I’m pretty proud of myself for achieving that. It allowed me to familiarize myself with the use of tools and to understand the conception of electronic devices.
Vohitra Environnement specializes in waste treatment and our activities involve composting, incineration, chemicals’ treatment, etc. apart from e-waste management. We celebrated the International Compost Awareness Week for the first time in May in Kenya. It was a beautiful moment of sharing with our Kenyan colleagues about how we can also cool the climate by composting!
Stepping out from my comfort zone by leaving family and friends for six months to come and work in a foreign country may be the craziest thing I’ve ever done. It renewed my life perspective. The smallest fact like switching from Malagasy and French to Swahili and English languages affect your mindset in an indescribable way. Being exposed to a new culture and different lifestyles have brought up a lot of questions on my own origin. I realized the importance of sharing the story of our nation; Madagascar is not just a movie and the world needs to know it. The only fact of telling my name gives rises to a lot of comments; it’s funny, I am not used to that.
Kenya is a beautiful country with interesting sites. I wish I could visit them all. The greatest experience I had here was going for camping and hiking in Embu. I met people I will never forget. We were a family during three days. I was also glad to visit the Nairobi Animal Orphanage; I’ve heard a lion’s roar for the first time! I hope to see animals in their natural habitat before leaving. The city center of Nairobi remains faithful to its reputation, it is impressive to see so many skyscrapers accommodating different businesses.
I’m grateful of the support from all the organizations that made this adventure possible: Norec, The WEEE Centre and Vohitra Environnement. It enriched me in so many ways: professionally, personally and culturally. The next step will be to come back in Madagascar. I’ll miss this great team in Utawala for sure, but I’m also excited by the idea of being reunited with my people in the island. I’ll use all the assets earned within this experience to improve my home organization, the local community and our partnership to be efficient at all levels.