Paolo Gianfrancesco is the founder and president of Aidbricks, an Italian non-profit association that uses blockchain for a humanitarian and ecological project in Africa. We met him last November at the Malta Blockchain Summit and he agreed to answer a few questions, interview:
LVBG – Can you introduce yourself
in a few words ?
PG – My name is Paolo Gianfrancesco, I
am mostly a film producer in Italy. At the same time, since
ten years, I created some software startups and more generally in the
new technology sector.
I have always had a special relationship with Africa, and a few years ago I started to take part in humanitarian missions. In one of them in Burkina Faso, after seeing the plastic pollution disaster there, I decided to do something about it.
LVBG – Can you introduce us
your team ?
PG – I am the
founder and president of a non-profit association, Aidbricks
association was created to develop and implement the project. The members
and associates are not just people who have expertise in
patronage and charities, they also have other skills
crucial within the project.
Roberto Leonardi is the CEO of NoSilence, a
major event agency.
De Arcangelis is an expert and professor of web marketing, with many
courses and seminars to his credit worldwide. Francesco De Maria is the
president of a humanitarian mission which carried the pilot project to Burkina
In addition, two of our other members are respectively CEO and directors of the company that organizes Blockchain Week in Rome (Blockchain management).
LVBG – Can you explain us
the project ?
PG – We must first present the context: plastic pollution is a very important problem in Africa. Local communities are not ready to manage the plastic waste that invades their countryside, reducing their capacity to produce food. Aidbricks therefore provides a concrete solution to this problem.
The idea was to
solve these two problems: work and pollution in Africa. he
was about finding an innovative model of humanitarian aid.
Everything is very simple even if we talk about innovation, because our technique does not require machinery or start-up costs. From housewives with their children to elderly people who are no longer able to work … all these people can be involved in the project. In summary: we finance the people who collect plastic and transform it into building materials. We are thus creating a new model of humanitarian aid because the donation is no longer generic but goes directly to those who need it most.
We mix ecology, solidarity and new construction techniques. The idea is no longer just to protect the environment but also to provide additional income to local communities, turning a major problem into an opportunity. Plastic bricks have several properties. They are insulating because they are made of thousands of layers, capable of protecting from cold and heat, and moreover recyclable, unlike normal bricks. If the building were to be destroyed, these bricks would be perfectly reusable for constructing new structures.
The model, already tested in a small-scale pilot test, therefore allows communities to collect the majority of plastic waste and convert it into food products and more generally of basic necessity. This is how, by mixing awareness, donations and expertise, we have succeeded in creating what we call the Ecobricks. The blockchain here brings transparency to this model, allowing donors to have concrete feedback of their generosity.
patronage model is very original, we collect donations by selling
a simple fridge magnet. This magnet has a precise value, between 10 to 80 euros
each. On these magnets are printed photos of real children from the village where
was implemented the project, as well as the real impact of the donation in
equivalent term average salary / day worked, corresponding volume of rice
and plastic removed from environmental pollution, and therefore to finish
amount of Ecobrick produced.
On the back of the magnet, you can find a specific QR code to access the blockchain-based system that allows you to receive the official receipt.
LVBG – What is more your big
pride since the launch of the project?
PG – In terms of positive impact on
local people, we have not only changed the income of many
people but we also brought awareness to
ecological behavior on the fact that waste is no longer thrown away but
collected and recycled in Ecobricks.
Since the beginning of the project, we can very
clearly see the difference around the houses of the people involved:
there is no more plastic waste.
With regard to prizes and other distinctions, we won the most ethical project of “Blockchain Week 2019” (BCWR 2019 edition), and recognition of the Malta Blockchain Summit which invited us by allocating us a free space in their living room.
LVBG – What is the profile of your
PG – We are in the initial phase of
project, and we’re working hard on the process, so for now
limited our sponsorship to Italy.
We are invited in several
events, where after a speech, we sell our magnets. We have
also an e-commerce section on our website which allows us to
sell our magnets online.
Our average donor is a person who cares about the environment and who is at the same time very sensitive to humanitarian aid and to the problems which affect the Sub-Saharan population in Africa.
LVBG – Do the French
can order your magnets online?
PG – Of course they can! It is possible to buy them online. At the moment, we have no automated international delivery. However, there is no problem if after payment you send us a message to our team by writing your name and address. We will be happy to arrange delivery ourselves.
LVBG – What are your goals to
five years ?
PG – Our roadmap is to
expand with new implementations of the project in other locations.
Several NGOs wish to get involved to help local populations to
improve their daily lives in a clean environment we want to give them
all guidelines, tutorials and support for free, and they can
also access our project management platform.
On the other hand, we plan to grow thanks to partnerships with other non-profit associations that raise funds and humanitarian missions that act locally, all with our management platform. This platform is continuously developed, and I would like to thank our volunteer developers who actively participate in our cause.
CFC – inside:
LVBG – Do you personally
cryptocurrencies? Which is your favorite?
PG – I mainly have bitcoins. Not being a trading expert, I prefer the long-term approach (hold). I’m sure bitcoin will be a great investment in the long run! I also have tokens from ICOs made by my friends.
Interview conducted for the CFC by Louise Valentina Bautista Gomez (LVBG) in February 2020.
For further :
Official presentation video
In the field
Production Tutorial French
From LVBG: Source link