Small World talks to Lamor Foundation President, David Nazha, and Practical Action ’s Ian Derbyshire, about an exciting new partnership.
How did the partnership come about?
David: So, Lamor works in environmental protection, preparedness and response around the world, and it does that as a business, for profit. I’d been running Lamor as CEO for four years, and I realised that we could make a much bigger impact through a not-forprofit. So last year I set up the Foundation. Our goal is to solve environmental issues, create sustainable economies and lift people out of poverty. We quickly realised that the most effective way to create big change was to work in partnership with like-minded organisations… like Practical Action.
What kind of problems will the partnership solve?
Ian: We’re just starting to explore that, and we’ve identified an opportunity in Bangladesh. Plastic waste in rivers is a big problem there. Lamor already has a technological solution to this. And Practical Action has been working in Bangladesh for many years, building strong relationships with people and government. This creates a nice synergy that could enable us to work creatively together and transform lives.
David: Yes, Lamor has developed units that collect plastics from rivers. The collectors pull all of the plastic debris into one area, and then the really innovative bit is that we use a process called pyrolysis to convert the plastic waste into ultra clean fuel.
How will this solution benefit the poorest communities in Bangladesh?
David: We hope to install around 100 collection units. Maintaining each one will create 20-30 jobs, raising people out of what is currently an informal business (waste picking) and giving them formal employment with fair pay. Then, because we’re using the plastic to create a useful product that can be sold (the fuel), there are further job opportunities created.
Ian: Beyond that, there’s the environmental aspect. The poorest communities often rely on fishing and farming to survive. River contamination is damaging their livelihoods. If you remove contaminants from the river system, people can fish, farm and thrive.
What excites you about this partnership?
Ian: This partnership breaks new ground for us. We need to be continually challenging ourselves to think about new ways to tackle global problems. The joy of working with a partner like Lamor is that they can challenge our assumptions and help stimulate new ways of approaching the problem.
David: I’m excited about combining Lamor and Practical Action’s skills and knowledge and networks to create big and lasting change.