‘Face to Face’: Waste-to-Wealth Solutions

Building Green Futures with a Mandela Washington Fellow

Uyi Effiom and Chancellor Gary S. May pose for a photo in the video studio for Face to Face With Chancellor May.
Mandela Washington Fellow Uyi Effiom is this month’s guest on ‘Face to Face With Chancellor May.’ (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

Environmentalist, lawyer and entrepreneur Uyi Effiom’s energy is palpable and infectious. On first listen, it’s obvious the Mandela Washington Fellow is ready to fulfill the project’s goal: empower the next generation of entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa.

Purple graphic with text "Face to Face with Chancellor May"

Effiom was one of 25 fellows this summer at UC Davis within Global Affairs, and part of a nationwide cohort of 700 Mandela Washington Fellows at 27 educational institutions.

Effiom joins Chancellor Gary S. May for the latest episode of Face to Face. The two discuss her work at the Nigeria-based nongovernmental organization, Stand Out For Environment Restoration, and how the organization’s Fishing Net Gains projects brings to life Effiom’s “waste-to-wealth” solutions.

“My voice is to amplify the fact that we need to create awareness for environmental change,” Effiom told the chancellor. “This climate action is a step.”

Watch and learn more about Effiom’s Fishing Net Gains Project, which collects discarded fishing nets from the ocean and, through a loom, generates components to make “fishing gear fabric” for shoes, bags and more.


Founded in 2014, the Mandela Washington Fellowship serves as the marquee award for the Youth Leaders Initiative, which aims to spark economic growth by supporting young African leaders through academics, leadership trainings, professional development and more.

This marks the seventh year of UC Davis welcoming cohorts, with over 15 African countries represented on campus. To date, 5,100 Mandela Washington Fellows have been supported by the U.S. Department of State to develop their skills with U.S. professionals and academics.

Chancellor May turns the tables and lets Effiom ask questions of her own, an allegory to the leadership opportunities the Mandela Washington Fellowship affords. Effiom asks the chancellor about how UC Davis is “integrating climate change action” on campus. Tune in to hear May’s response – and ways you can chime in – about UC Davis’ “preliminary plan for a fossil fuel-free campus.”

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José Vadi is a writer for Dateline UC Davis, and can be reached by email.

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