Paolo Gianfrancesco is a founder and president of Aidbricks, an Italian non profit organization which uses blockchain. We met him last November at Malta Blockchain Summit and he kindly accept to answer a few questions, interview :
LVBG – Can you present yourself in few words?
PG – My name is Paolo Gianfrancesco. Mainly I am a film producer based in Italy, but during the last 10 years I have started a couple of start ups in the software and technology field.
I have always had a special relation with Africa, and some years ago I started to take part in some humanitarian missions. During one of those missions in Burkina Faso, after seeing the disaster of plastic pollution in that land, I decided to do something about this problem.
LVBG – Can you talk about your team ?
PG – I am the Founder and President of the non-profit association AIDBRICKS ODV. This Organization has been created to develop and implement the project. The members and the associates are not only people with expertise on charity and fund raising but also expert in other fields:
Roberto Leonardi is the CEO of NoSilence, an important event organization agency.
Adriano De Arcangelis is an expert and educator on digital marketing, with numerous courses and training events all over the world.
Francesco De Maria is the president of the humanitarian mission that is carrying out the pilot project in Burkina Faso. Furthermore, two more of our members are the CEO and the director of the company that organizes the Blockchain Week Rome (Blockchain Management).
LVBG – Can you explain us your project ?
PG – First of all some words about the scenario : plastic pollution is a major problem for Africa. Local communities are not ready to deal with plastic waste, which is also invading their countrysides, further reducing the ability to produce food, Aidbricks brings a solution to this problem.
The idea started from the intention of solving the two main problems in those areas : work and pollution. And in that purpose, use new model of humanitarian aid : all with a very simple but innovative technique that does not require the use of machinery and within reach for anyone. Starting from mothers who are at home with children to elderly people who are unable to work. “In summary” we finance people who collect plastic and turn it into these building modules. We thus create a new humanitarian aid system because the donation is not a generic aid but it goes to ones who need it most.
Ecology, solidarity and new building techniques are the keypoints of the project. The idea is to protect the environment and offer additional income to local communities, transforming a major problem into an opportunity. The plastic bricks thus composed have in fact different properties. They are heat insulating because they are made up of thousands of layers, therefore able to protect from heat and cold, and are reusable, unlike normal bricks. If the building were to be demolished, in fact, these bricks are perfectly re-usable in new structures.
The model, already tested during a small scale pilot test, allows local communities to collect the majority of the plastic waste and convert it into food and other important products, thanks to a strong mix of education, donations and expertise on using the so called EcoBricks. Blockchain technology brings transparency to this model, allowing donors to get a real feedback for their generosity.
The fund raising model is very original, we just collect donations selling a special fridge magnet. This magnet have a precise value, they start from 10 to 80 Euro each. On these magnets are printed the photos of real children of the village where we are implementing the pilot project, and also printed are the exact impact of the donation in term of equivalent average salary/working day, amount of equivalent rice, and the amount of plastic waste kept from the environment, and the quantity of Ecobricks produced.
On the back side of the magnet you can find a special QR code, to access the blockchain feedback system and to receive the official receipt.
LVBG – What is the most significant achievement of AidBricks ?
PG – In terms of positive impact on the local population, we have not only changed the income of many people, but we have brought about an ecological behavior due to the fact that waste is no longer thrown into the environment but collected and stored in the family and then transformed into Ecobricks.
Since the beginning of the project around the homes of people involved into the project you could see the difference, no more plastic waste …
In terms of awards and prizes we won the award for best ethical project at the « Blockchain Week 2019 » (BCWR 2019 edition), an acknowledgment at the « Malta Blockchain Summit 2019 » with a free space in the EXPO salon.
LVBG – Where and who are the most of your donors ?
PG – Since we are in the initial phase of the project, where it is important to work on the process, we have limited our fundraising in Italy.
We are guest of many events where, after a little speech, we start the fund raising selling the magnets. Furthermore we have the e-commerce section on the site where we sell online.
Our typical donor is a person who cares deeply about the environmental problem and at the same time is very sensitive to the humanitarian and hardship problems that afflict the populations of Sub-Saharan Africa.
LVBG – Can French people order your magnets online?
PG – Of course they can! Is it possible to buy online, for the moment we don’t have the international delivery option but don’t worry, after payment, you can write some line to our team with the name and address and we will be happy to reply person to person and starting the delivery.
LVBG – What are your objectives in five years ?
PG – Our program is to scale up with new local implementations, out there many ONGs are waiting to help people to improve their lives in a clean and secure environment, we’ll give them for free all the guidelines, tutorials, assistance and the access to our software managing platform.
On the other hand we’ll scale up thanks to specific partnerships between a non-profit association that raises funds and a humanitarian organization or mission that operates locally, all managed by our software. This software is continuously developed and perfected thanks to the voluntary work of developers who support our cause.
CFC – inside :
LVBG – Do you personally own cryptocurrencies? What is your favorite one?
PG – Mainly I own Bitcoins, but I am not an expert trader so I prefer a long term approach. I am sure that on the long term Bitcoin will result an excellent investment. Furthermore I Own some Token from ICO of my friends.
Interview by Louise Valentina Bautista Gomez (LVBG) – February of 2020
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