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Burkina Faso musicians helping to beat plastic pollution

Sasha Gankin | Olaf Müller
June 24, 2024

A frontman and his band from Burkina Faso are raising their voices to boost awareness about plastic pollution in Ouagadougou. Zabda and his Moogho Band are hoping to mobilize their fans.


Plastic waste in Burkina Faso is a major challenge. Discarded single-use plastic bags are ubiquitous, littering the streets, blocking drains and choking livestock. But with no national integrated management of plastic waste in place, it's left to the general public to find ways to tackle the problem.

Killed Sibri Zongo, aka Zabda, is a well-known musician who's helping to galvanize people. He's the founder of the association WAKAT, which uses arts and culture as a tool to raise awareness of social and environmental issues. The organization based in Ouagadougou also helps empower women, recruiting them as "environmental ambassadors" whose task is to change the behavior of individuals and communities toward plastic waste, communicating their message through role play and storytelling.

As part of its wider campaign to reduce plastic waste, WAKAT promotes use of locally-made wax print fabric totes via its network of female activists, and also buys up waste plastic bags collected by women in rural areas. Many have fled the Islamist militant insurgency in the north. It's often their only way of earning a little money for their families. In turn, the environmental ambassadors can earn extra income by selling the plastic bags to a recycling company. 

With WAKAT, Zabda shows how activism is bolstered by creativity and collective initiative.