Flipflopi Lake Victoria Expedition

The Flipflopi Lake Victoria Expedition and its objectives are completely in line with the overall theme and sub-themes as well as the goals of the Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) 2021. We believe that our two initiatives can benefit mutually from one another to achieve our joint goals and objectives: to conserve our waterways and protect our livelihoods and environment.  The proposed integration of the Flipflopi Expedition as part UWEWK 2021 aims to support core objectives and outcomes of this exceptional national event.

BACKGROUND : The Flipflopi Expedition

As countries move from emergency response to economic recovery, choices are being made that will shape trajectories on emissions, resilience and biodiversity for decades to come. A clean and resilient recovery in Africa will lead to employment in the industries of the future whilst ensuring that we address the linked challenges of public health, prosperity and climate change.

The rainbow-hued boat was first launched on 15th September 2018 to mark World Clean-up Day celebrations on the coast of Kenya. The boat set out for its first sail in January 2019 from Lamu where it was constructed, making several stops in towns and cities to engage with local communities and country government officials before reaching its destination in Zanzibar, where it was welcomed by the local administration and the President of the UN Environment Assembly.

The Flipflopi is a positive symbol of hope and shows the world that it is possible to make valuable materials out of waste plastic: this circular economy campaign inspires local innovation and circular solutions that are critical to a green and sustainable economic recovery for African nations, especially post-pandemic. We must now take the next step in driving legislation that supports circular economies and brings an end to unnecessary single use products.

This year, a campaign dubbed “Taking the Message Upstream” was launched in celebration of World Clean Up Day on 19th September 2020. To mark the campaign, the boat was relocated from Kenya Wildlife Service Headquarters in Nairobi to the shores of Lake Victoria in Kisumu from where it will start its sailing on 8th March 2021. Several activities took place to welcome its arrival.

Expedition On Lake Victoria

Following its historic first expedition which brought global attention to the plastic revolution on the Indian Ocean, the world’s first recycled plastic sailing dhow made in Kenya is embarking on a second expedition, this time expanding its focus to the wider East African region by sailing around Africa’s largest freshwater ecosystem. Lake Victoria, home to 40 million East Africans depend on this ecosystem. However, due to the myriad of social and environmental issues including climate change and plastic pollution, livelihoods are at risk. The covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to address the environmental crisis.

Over a three-week period, Flipflopi will circumnavigate the lake from Kisumu, Kenya, to Uganda and finish in Mwanza, Tanzania, highlighting the climate and pollution issues affecting the lake, encouraging cross-border collaborations, and showcasing the adoption of circular solutions at local and regional level.

Proposed Activities

The expedition will include various stops around the lake with national events in each country, engaging all the key players who can embed circular solutions – from policy makers, to community leaders, civil society, media, business leaders and youth (see Appendix I for details). In Uganda, the proposed three events are:

  • Jinja on Sunday 14th of March;
  • Kampala on Saturday 20th of March;
  • Entebbe on Sunday 21st of March.
  • Other smaller community events will be organized in Dolwe Island, Buvuma Island, Katosi and Banda Island.

Jinja event: Sunday 14th of March at the Jinja Sailing Club

This event will consist of a morning cleanup made by the Jinja scouts. The Busoga Kingdom has committed to participate in the event. The Flipflopi team will hold recycling workshops for youth. Private sector (e.g. Nile Breweries, Eskom, kayak and rafting companies) will be invited to take actions against single-use plastics and local environmental initiatives will be also promoted. The presence of the District Environment Officer would be beneficial.

Kampala Public event: Saturday 20th of March at Ggaba Beach (8am to 3pm)

The Flipflopi Project would like to invite the Ministry of Water and Environment to have a stall at the Green Circular Economy Exhibition being organized by the Flipflopi and partners at Ggaba Beach. This exhibition aims to raise public awareness about plastic pollution as well as promote and showcase Ugandan innovative initiatives turning plastic waste into wealth (construction materials, fashion and art) and alternatives to single-use plastics (natural straws, ceramic water filters, food packaging). Your stall will represent a good opportunity to communicate about the UMEWM 2021.

Kampala VIP event: Saturday 20th of March at Speke Muynonyo (4pm to 8pm)

A high level panel discussion will be organized on this occasion bringing together VIPs, dignitaries and businesses to share views on the question of the need of a regional consensus on the use of single-use plastics. The Flipflopi Project would like to invite the Ministry of Water and Environment to take the lead on this panel discussion and identify key speakers as well as a moderator and we would like to invite the Minister of Water and Environment as a Guest of Honour to officially receive the Flipflopi and inaugurate the occasion. We would also like to collaborate with you to invite respective guests to the occasion.

Kampala School event: Sunday 21st of March at Victoria Nyanza Sailing Club (9am to 11am)

Three to five local and international schools will participate in a plastic bottle boat building competition and race. We welcome your attendance.

Entebbe event: Sunday 21st of March at the Entebbe Sailing Club (1pm to 7pm)

The Flipflopi team will hold recycling workshops for the youth. Local environmental and circular economy initiatives will be also promoted. The presence of the Wakiso Environment Officer, the Ministry of Water and Environment, Water Resources Institute, the Lake Victoria Environment Management Project and the Nile Basin Initiative would be beneficial.