#MissionResponsible: Bakhrom Radjabov on ‘Do It Yourself Garbage Lab’
Name: Bakhrom Radjabov
Lives in: Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Period in Germany: November 2009 to January 2012
Educational institution: University of Kassel
Occupation: Trainer for international development organisations in the field of innovation/(social) entrepreneurship; soft skills and PR specialist
Bakhrom Radjabov from Uzbekistan studied international relations at the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies and global political economy at the University of Kassel. He works as a trainer for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In the #MissionResponsible competition Bakhrom Radjabov was awarded second place with his ‘Do It Yourself Garbage Lab’ project. We talked to him about the goals of the project, creative sustainability, social commitment – and his plans for the future.
Mr Radjabov, the ‘Do It Yourself (DIY) Garbage Lab’ project, which was launched in 2014, is one of the three prizewinners in the #MissionResponsible competition. What are the goals of the project – and what are you doing to achieve them?
Bakhrom Radjabov: The aim of the ‘DIY Garbage Lab’ is to use waste such as wood or plastic in an innovative and creative way to make something useful, like furniture or souvenirs. Children’s playgrounds can be decorated with car tyres and wood, for example. Or someone might invent a shower made from empty plastic bottles that can be used in rural areas where water is scarce.
The main idea behind the project is that we should reuse garbage, which both protects the environment and enables people to create something useful for the benefit of others – very much in line with the ‘do it yourself’ culture.
The project also brings together people from various backgrounds with a range of different skills, including designers and producers. And it teaches young volunteers in particular how to help protect the environment, while at the same time doing something useful for people who have a disability or don’t have much money. This supports socially deprived families and strengthens the community spirit across social boundaries.
All joking aside
How did you get involved in the ‘DIY Garbage Lab’?
Bakhrom Radjabov: Following two workshops in Tashkent, which saw local social inventors working with international experts, our team in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) came up with the idea of setting up a ‘social innovation laboratory’ in Uzbekistan. Then we looked for ways to put our theoretical ideas into practice. Someone suggested using waste, and we all laughed.
But then we started developing it as a serious idea, applied for funding from UNDP, and got the project up and running. We quickly became really enthusiastic about the first prototype – and more and more volunteers are now sharing our passion.
How have people responded to your project, and how happy are you with the support that you receive for your work?
Bakhrom Radjabov: There has been a really positive response to the ‘DIY Garbage Lab’! I’ve been supported by my community, the Alumniportal Deutschland’s #MissionResponsible competition, and all the people who have read my blog. Thank you all!
How do you plan to use the prize money of 300 Euros?
Bakhrom Radjabov: We don’t need much money for this incredibly environmentally-friendly, innovative project – all we need is garbage! So we’re going to use the prize money to buy nails, hammers, saws, paint and brushes to turn waste into something useful. With these tools, the DIY team will be able to continue holding lots of DIY events.
‘There are so many possibilities!’
What does the future hold for the ‘DIY Garbage Lab’?
Bakhrom Radjabov: The ‘DIY Garbage Lab’ will have a future if people are interested in it. I’m pleased that this has worked so well in my country so far.But we’ve got a long way to go before ‘do it yourself’ initiatives really take off here – and that’s something that’s badly needed. Sustainable development and environmental protection are key to making Uzbekistan a prosperous place. As a developing country, it’s particularly severely affected by global climate change.
Our project is of course only one way of getting involved. There are so many possibilities! The ‘DIY Garbage Lab’ is also a private initiative, but it would be great if municipal authorities organised more projects like this in different places.
And what are you planning to do next – both career-wise and on a personal level?
Bakhrom Radjabov: I’ll continue to try to use my professional experience with the United Nations in Uzbekistan and my networking opportunities with the Alumniportal to promote projects in Uzbekistan. I also offer private advisory services in soft skills, such as public speaking, time management and training the trainers, and in fundraising and public relations.
In addition, I’m planning to embark on a PhD in international migration, and I also want to go on some interesting trips abroad with my wife.
Interview: Thomas Köster