On the 1st of September 2022, ORIBAGS was honored with a visit by Her Excellency Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland and the chair of the  Elders on her visit to Uganda to witness  climate solutions that increase resilience of communities to adapt impacts of climate change, loss and damage.

H.E Mary Robinson and Uganda UNDP resident Representative Elsie Attafuah at ORIBAGS

H.E Mary Robinson as the chair of the Elders, visited  ORIBAGS as one of the  innovative grass root business solutions supporting adaptation to climate change through sustainable  waste management.

ORIBAGS is a Ugandan  business enterprise established in 2009, engaged in   waste recovery, recycling, manufacture and marketing of environmentally- friendly packaging and  stationary products. ORIBAGS recovers office waste, household waste and agricultural waste of  biofiber grade and transforms it into innovative  biodegradable  packaging and  stationary products. Products include gift bags, gift boxes,  file folders and  paper board.

In her remarks, H.E Mary Robinson said that the visit forms part of a broader Elders advocacy strategy in  preparation for the  Climate Change Conference (COP27) due in  November 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt . “The elders are passionate about climate change  because of the  current climate crisis. Innovative solutions like these present a great opportunity not only for Uganda but for the whole World to come to terms and cope with the  impacts of climate change, loss and damage. Am happy that ORIBAGS is tackling this huge problem  of waste disposal, working with women and youth who are the majority affected by climate change.” Said Mary Robinson during her speech at ORIBAGS.

ORIBAGS Managing director Rusia Orikiriza re-echoed the company commitment to fight climate change through sustainable waste management. “ORIBAGS will continuously innovate and invest in additional product streams to sustainably manage waste, create decent employment, green jobs and ensuring local  waste material value addition through backward integration. Our  goal is to recover, recycle and transform bio-waste from Offices, households, and agricultural farms into recycled fiber  for production of eco-friendly paper, packaging, stationery and other products.” Rusia Orikiriza,Founder & Managing Director,ORIBAGS

H.E Mary  Robinson  was accompanied by the UNDP Uganda Resident Representative, Mrs Elsie Attafuah.They  toured ORIBAGS factory and  recycling plant. They also visited ORIBAGS baby care and breastfeeding centre, meant to support ORIBAGS  working mothers. ORIBAGS established the baby care and breastfeeding centre to enable working  mothers to take  breaks from the factory to  breastfeed their children, express milk and store it. After their maternity  leave, mothers are allowed extra 3 months to come with their babys and caretakers and utilize the  facility. “This breastfeeding center has increased the  retention of our female workers, as they now feel more supported by the company. Previously we used  to lose a lot of   good female workers when they  would get pregnant or give birth. This has reduced  the employee turnover rates, and saved  the company money by eliminating the need to hire and train new staff.” Rusia Orikiriza,Founder &Managing Director ORIBAGS.


  • Founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007, the Elders are an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice, and human rights. On his 89th birthday, Nelson Mandela announced the formation of The Elders: a small, dedicated group of leaders work objectively, free from any vested personal interest, to help address global challenges. These include climate change, pandemics such as aids, malaria, Tuberculosis, violence, conflict.
  • Its a small, dedicated group of leaders, working objectively and without any vested personal interest in the outcome, can help resolve what often seems like intractable problems.
  • They are called Global Elders, not because of their age, but because of their individual and collective wisdom. They do not have careers to build, elections to win, constituencies to please. They can talk to anyone they please, and are free to follow paths they deem right, even if hugely unpopular.
  • They are committed to working with local and indigenous knowledge; to listening and bringing together antagonists and protagonists; to working with anyone who is motivated to resolve a problem. They can help foster and introduce innovative ideas and little-known solutions to connect those who have real practical needs with those who have something to give.

The leadership of the Elders include:

  • H.E Mary Robinson- First Woman President of Ireland who is also chair of the Elders.
  • Ban Ki-Moon- Former UN Secretary General who is Deputy Chair
  • Graca Machel- First Education Minister of Zimbabwe and former wife to President Mandela. She is a women and child’s advocate and a former freedom Fighter.

  Other Members of the Elders,Include:

  • Gro Harlem Brundtland; First Woman Prime Minister of Norway and former Director General of WHO- a medical doctor who champions health as a human right
  • Zeid Raas Al Hussein; Former UN commissioner on Human rights, a champion of international justice and multilateralism
  • Hina Jilani, Pioneering lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner in Pakistan
  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia and first elected female head of state, Nobel Peace Laureate and a leading promoter of peace, justice and democratic rule
  • Ricardo Lagos, Former President of Chile, a tenacious fighter for democracy and human rights
  • Juan Manuel Santos, Former President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Laureate who led complex peace negotiations ending over 5 years of intractable civil war
  • Ernesto Zedillo, Former president of Mexico who led profound democratic and social reforms. 

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