The idea of using waste to improve access to healthcare facilities might seem an unusual idea, but a young upstart in Indonesia has proved that it can work with an innovative social enterprise that helps people get medical support by paying for it in trash.
For his revolutionary idea, 24-year-old Indonesian doctor and entrepreneur Gamal Albinsaid was recently announced the winner of the top prize in the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards - the HRH the Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur.
Gamal’s enterprise - Garbage Clinical Insurance (GCI) - is a health micro -insurance programme which uses garbage as financial resources by empowering people to take an active role in managing their waste and improving their sanitation.
Individuals are encouraged to collect their household waste and submit their refuse to one of five GCI-accredited clinics. It is then separated - organic waste becomes fertiliser while inorganic waste is sold to collectors.
A month’s worth of refuse can reach close to 10,000 Indonesian rupiah (€0.60) which is used to cover a patient’s treatment and run healthcare programmes and clinical services for the community, providing families with access to doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists and health volunteers.
In a ceremony held recently at the Buckingham Palace, Albinsaid received the award from Prince Charles with a prize of €50,000 in financial support and a package of individually tailored mentoring.
Unilever and the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, sponsors of the Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards, recognised the potential of Albinsaid’s idea to help not only millions of Indonesians, but also many other communities around the world.
The international awards programme, which was launched in September last year, aims to inspire young people around the world to tackle environmental, social and health issues.
The organisers invited entrepreneurs aged 30 years or under to submit inspiring, practical, and tangible solutions to help make sustainable living commonplace. Unilever said over 500 entries from 90 countries were submitted to the programme.