Ambassador: Ismael Essome Ebone , Cameroon
Ismael founded Madiba & Nature in 2016 to help preserve the livelihoods of fishermen whilst also addressing the issue of plastic pollution. Madiba & Nature collects waste plastic bottles and uses them to create eco-boats. Plastic waste is collected through using eco-bins. In total, 37 boats have been made so far, with each boat needing 1,000 plastic bottles for construction.
Ismael grew up in a fishing town in Cameroon, where he saw that fishing was becoming less profitable due to pollution driving down the numbers of fish. As a result, young people were forced to move to cities to find alternative work. Trained as an engineer, Ismael was shocked to see that the only organisations working to protect the environment in Cameroon were international and foreign organisations. He founded Madiba & Nature to address the issue of pollution, using his professional skills to design a plastic boat that promotes the circular economy and reduces pollution through utilising recycled plastic bottles. These plastic eco-boats are cheap to build and repair, while costing less than half the price of traditional wooden boats. Fishermen can also use these eco-boats to access hard to reach fishing waters that are not accessible by wooden canoes. Eco-boats are also used to give boat rides to environmentally conscious tourists. This helps to generate income for the project, helping them collect more waste plastic and provide more boats to people who can benefit. Madiba & Nature also runs programmes coaching young students and engineers on entrepreneurship in green business. The organisation has also installed eco-bins, made out of plastic bottles, to help collect more plastic waste.
Ismael was a delegate speaker at the One Young World Summit 2018 The Hague. After returning home from the Summit, fellow Ambassador Carlotta L. Giacché got in touch to offer support and began providing pro bono business planning and funding application advice to Madiba & Nature. Media outlets in Cameroon also approached Ismael to recount his experience in The Hague upon his return. Due to the increased visibility gained from the Summit, Madiba & Nature was also invited by the regional directorate of the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation to present its work and hosted a scientific seminar to local business leaders and politicians.