External Evaluations of Waste to Wealth programme

Living Earth recently commissioned external evaluations of its Waste to Wealth programme in Cameroon, Nigeria and Uganda to assess the impact of the programme to date.  The full reports for each country can be accessed using the links at the bottom of the page.

We’re proud of what we’ve been able to achieve over the last few years, with the support of our donors – the European Commission, DFID and Comic Relief.  Here are some of headline achievements:

Improved waste management services:

  • In all three countries, communities report an improvement in waste management services with 60,000 slum dwellers accessing new or improved waste management services.
  • The piloting of the project’s PPP approach – brokering partnerships between micro enterprises and local government – has led to a change of attitudes amongst local government and, in some cases, even a change in legislation.   In Uganda, t he competitive bidding system for waste management contracts amongst MSEs (introduced as part of the new Kampala Capital City Authority re-structuring) has led to more cost-effective service delivery. In Cameroon, two district councils in Douala have integrated partnerships with micro enterprises into their waste management model and, more importantly, into their 2-15 budgets.  In Nigeria, 
micro/small enterprises are now able to bid on contracts with RSESA (Rivers State Environmental Sanitation Agency) as a result of a change to legislation.
  • 19 partnership projects have been supported through, and facilitated by, the Waste to Wealth programme.

Wealth creation  – business growth and new jobs:

  • 7000 slum dwellers are making money from recycling and waste-related activities as a result of training that they’ve received;
  • 250 businesses took part in a business development training programme.  An impact evaluation of the programme reports average profit increases amongst businesses of  between 15 and 30%, with some businesses reporting increases as high as 300%.

Empowered citizens:

  • Over 200,000 slum dwellers have been reached through awareness-raising activities and campaigns.
  • 617 leaders have participated in targeted capacity building workshops; a further 900 leaders have been reached through outreach activities.
  • 3 urban environment information centres established.

Increased technical expertise amongst local government:

  • 77 Local Government officials have been trained on partnership working, accountability and transparency.
  • Interviews with local government staff indicate increased levels of understanding of partnering and contract monitoring.

Full Evaluation Reports

The full evaluation reports for each country can be accessed using the links below:

Waste to Wealth – Uganda Evaluation

Waste to Wealth – Cameroon Evaluation

Waste to Wealth – Nigeria Evaluation

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Recycling training manuals published

Following popular demand, Living Earth has assembled a series of recycling training manuals on various ‘waste to wealth’ recycling technologies.

Recycling training manuals relating to specific technologies can be downloaded by clicking on the relevant links below:

Living Earth – Biomass briquettes info sheet

Living Earth – Soap making info sheet

Living Earth – Recycled handicrafts info sheet

Living Earth – Plastic paving info sheet


All the manuals contain step-by-step instructions with visual images, kindly developed by Cat Roisetter


Making the plastic paving tiles

Making the plastic paving tiles

Soapmaking using recycled oils

Soapmaking using recycled oils

Handicrafts - finished products

Handicrafts – finished products

Burning biomass briquettes

Burning biomass briquettes

If there are other technologies that you’re interested in, and which don’t feature here, please let us know.

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Living Earth features on Clean Leap

Living Earth’s work to support the growth of the recycled building materials and plastic paving tiles sector in Cameroon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone features on Clean Leap – a website exploring green technologies and innovations.

Moulding the plastic paving slabs

Moulding the plastic paving slabs

You can read the full article here:  Turning rubbish into innovation in West Africa


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Waste to Wealth Photo Exhibition, London

Photographs from Living Earth’s Waste to Wealth programme feature in central London’s The Building Centre for an exhibition exploring the industrious micro-enterprises, innovative technologies, and environmental benefits of the programme.  The exhibition explores the effectiveness of slum residents, local councils and the private sector working together to tackle the growing challenges of waste management in urban African areas.

The exhibition is free and open to all from 13th April till 12th June, 2015. The Building Centre is located near Russell Square and Tottenham Court Road, open Mon-Fri 9:00 – 18:00, Sat 10:00 – 17:00.

You can download a leaflet about the exhibition here:  Exhibition leaflet

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Living Earth joins forces with academics to promote waste management

Living Earth has been joining forces with academics, NGOs and private sector organisations interested in working to help push waste management up the development agenda.  These include Professor David Wilson of Imperial College, Dr Costas Velis of the University of Leeds and Dr Ljiljana Rodic of Wageningen University, who won the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Telford Premium Medal 2014 for their paper on “Integrated sustainable management in developing countries”, recognising it as one of the best papers published across all the ICE journals. We are delighted that the authors have chosen to donate their cash prize to Living Earth, in acknowledgment of our work in tackling waste management challenges and championing the positive benefits that well-managed waste managed systems can bring.  A public lecture to present the paper will be given by Professor David Wilson on Monday 16th March as part of the ICE’s Thomas Telford Prestige Papers Lecture Series 2015.

You can find our more information about the paper here: http://www.ice.org.uk/wastemanagement2015

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Pushing waste management up the development agenda

Living Earth Foundation, in partnership with PolicyConnect, hosted a UK parliamentary event on 10th February 2015 to hear from a range of expertise about the imperatives of waste as a development issue. Barry Sheerman MP hosted the Westminster event which brought together academics, waste organisations, practitioners, and journalists to discuss the challenges, climate, and solutions of solid waste as a development issue.

KampalaLiving Earth Foundation have been working to innovatively tackle the growing problem of solid waste management in urban areas by supporting micro and small level enterprises to sustainably derive an income whilst reducing waste. This event combined our learning with academic research to promote the message that waste management is a key part of development.

If you are interested to learn more, read Living Earth’s briefing paper; “Improving solid waste management as a catalyst for achieving development goals“.

Speakers at the event included;

Professor David Wilson – Independent waste and resource management consultant and Imperial College London

Professor Margaret Bates – Professor of Sustainable Wastes Management, The University of Northampton

Dave Lerpiniere – PhD student in international development aid for waste management in low- and middle-income countries, University of Leeds

Lios McGilchrist – Programme Manager, Living Earth Foundation

Find out more about our Waste to Wealth activities here.

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Encouraging youth-led recycling in Kenya

In Kenya, the Waste to Wealth programme has linked up with youth groups working on climate change issues in order to greater uptake of innovative recycling initiatives across the sub-region.

The Kenyan CATs project is supported by Living Earth Foundation, and funded by the Department for International Development of the UK Government.  This project supports young people across Kenya to form youth groups, known as  Climate Action Teams (CATs), which focus on raising awareness about climate change and on developing green business ideas.

In November 2014, the CATs project organised three regional workshops bringing together over sixty young people and providing information on the waste to wealth approach and on waste recycling opportunities in Kenya.  The participants heard from representatives of other innovative green businesses including Ecopost which makes plastic fencing from recycled plastics, from local CBOs working on briquette-making, and from making solar lamps from recycled materials.

Kenya CAT4

Testing out a briquette maker at a Waste to Wealth workshop

Kenya CAT3

Discussing local waste recycling opportunities

Kenya CAT1

Learning how to use a briquette making press

Kenya CAT2

Visiting Ecopost – a company making lumber from plastic waste


One participant commented on the impact of the CATs project to date:

The impact CAT has done for me since I joined it in 2013 is a lot. I have established great networks, I have expansively learnt on climate change and environmental conservation as well as improving my entrepreneurial skills through the income generating activities in my group and therefore financially sustaining myself.
It has also strengthened the partnership between different groups in the community that are inclined towards environmental conservation and together we are taking care of the future generations.’ Susan – Gilgil CAT.


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Community-led waste management solutions in Douala, Cameroon

FCTV, Living Earth’s local partner in Cameroon, has been supporting the establishment of new partnerships between small businesses and social enterprises and local government in a bid to improve waste management in the city and to create wealth and jobs.

Examples of the projects supported include:

AJEGBO –  Ecological waste management in Douala 4:
AJEGBO is a community-based social enterprise, set up in order to tackle priority community concerns, of which waste is one.  In Douala 4, unmanaged waste blocks waterways and causes regular flooding in this area, which is built on a natural floodplain.

With FCTV support, AJEGBO has been able to agree a deal with the local council to provide waste collection services in the more inaccessible areas of Douala 4.  AJEGBO has set up new waste collection systems with local residents and has also started building a recycling centre where the collected waste is delivered, sorted and then recycled where possible.

Ajegbo team

The AJEGBO team

Ajegbo bike

AJEGBO’s new motorised bike helps them reach areas of the city that the big waste trucks can’t access

Ajegbo banner

AJEGBO’s office in Douala

Ajegbo site

Setting up a waste collection point in Douala


Solidarity PK9 – Improving sanitation in the Nkondi neighbourhood:
Nkondi neighbourhood is situated next to the river Nkondi which suffers from frequent, indiscriminate dumping of waste on its banks.  In addition to polluting the river water, this waste prevents the use of the natural floodplains (the river banks) in times of heavy rain and so in the rainy season, the river run-off regularly overflows its banks, flooding the Nkondi neighbourhood.

Solidarity PK, a community-based organisation which seeks to improve the lives and living conditions of local residents, is organising a series of training sessions for Nkondi residents on waste management and waste recycling techniques, in a bid to stimulate greater community-led waste management efforts in Nkondi neighbourhood.   Solidarity PK is also working to lobby HYSACAM, the private sector company responsible for waste collection in the city of Douala as a whole, to set up new, formal, waste collection points in Nkondi, away from the riverbanks.



Waste blocking waterways is a serious problem in Douala, Cameroon

Douala traffic

Tackling waste management in a city as crowded as Douala is no easy task


Fondation Jeune pour le Developpement Durable (FJDD):

FJDD, a youth-based organisation, have launched a project for the pre-collection, grinding, treatment and commercialisation of plastic waste.  This project is working with 50 youths in the Douala 2 council area.  In Douala 2, HYSACAM, the company responsible for overall waste collection un Douala city, is only able to collect about 60% of the district’s waste.  Plastic waste forms a large part of the uncollected waste.

FJDD has taken part in training workshops on how to make paving tiles from plastic waste and has now developed its own business plan to set up a plastics recycling enterprise in Douala 2.  They have reached an agreement with Douala 2 council to allow them to collect plastic waste and to transform the waste into building materials.

SL first ever plastic paving stone produced in SL

Plastic paving tiles – a potential solution to plastic problems in Cameroon


All of these projects are examples of the solutions that have been found when community groups, local businesses and government work together to tackle the waste management challenges that they face.

Ebola precautions for waste pickers in Sierra Leone

Makeni, the city where Living Earth has been working in Sierra Leone, has been devastated by the ongoing Ebola crisis in the country.   Living Earth has been carrying out awareness-raising work on Ebola and protective measures to follow amongst waste pickers in the city.

Signboard at Makeni recycling centre

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Short films on waste management in Sierra Leone

The UK Government, one of the funders of Living Earth’s Waste to Wealth programme, has produced three short documentaries examining the approach, technologies, and impact of the Waste to Wealth activities in Sierra Leone.

Local government representatives, beneficiaries of the project, community members, and Living Earth’s Sierra Leone project manager, Alex Farrington, discuss the successes of tackling waste management challenges in Makeni, Sierra Leone.

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Putting Recycling on the map in Sierra Leone; Makeni Recycling Centre

After the success of the DFID funded Waste to Wealth pilot in Makeni, Sierra Leone, Living Earth Foundation received support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to continue to support 5 waste enterprises, and to set up Sierra Leone’s first recycling centre.

Over the past 5 months, we have worked with waste enterprises to set up a simple sheltered workspace where they can produce their products and store their equipment safely. They have registered as formal enterprises, received additional business development training, and have produced business plans to help grow their enterprises. The project has also provided them with a tricycle to aid waste collection, meaning they are able to support the council’s waste management efforts, whilst collecting materials for their businesses.

The newly opened Makeni Recycling Centre

The newly opened Makeni Recycling Centre

Makeni recycling centre signboard

Makeni recycling centre signboard

Laying down plastic paving at Makeni Recycling Centre

Laying down plastic paving at Makeni Recycling Centre

We were also able to provide some support to the enterprises to ensure they are aware of the risk from Ebola, especially when handling waste. We commissioned a large signboard detailing the dangers of handling contaminated waste, and steps to stay safe. We also procured safety equipment, including additional gloves, face masks and chlorine for the centre, ensuring that people are aware of the potential risks, and take measures to prevent infection. Projects that support enterprise development are vital for Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis, as the economic downturn is making it harder to make ends meet for many of the poorest families. Waste to wealth activities have helped protect families against such problems, as they do not rely on imported goods, and make use of materials that are readily available at low cost.

It’s early days but we have already started to see tangible business growth in several enterprises. The Plastic Paving Enterprise (PPE) has completed several demonstration sites, including the recycling centre, and the Briquette Making Enterprise (BME) received it’s first order of 30 tonnes of carbonized briquettes for a DFID funded market trial.

This project has opened up the waste sector as an emerging market in Sierra Leone, and has shown how simple innovations in waste management can provide secure livelihoods for thousands of Sierra Leonean’s in a highly unstable economy.

We will continue to work with UNDP and Makeni City Council to ensure that there is cooperation between the waste management department and the recycling centre, and we hope to broker a formal partnership in early 2015.

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National conference in Uganda on Innovation, Enterprise and Partnership

On the 25th September 2014, Hotel Africana in Kampala, Uganda hosted a one-day conference on Improving Conditions in Urban Slums through Innovation, Enterprise and Partnership. This high level conference celebrated and shared the lessons learnt from the Waste to Wealth programme.

Below are some of the enterprises that showcased their products and services at the conference:

Kalocode community group

Kalocode community group

Our Lady of Charity Women's Group

Our Lady of Charity Women’s Group

Wisdom Cleaners

Wisdom Cleaners

Living Earth Energy Cooperative

Living Earth Energy Cooperative

The guest of honour – Adolf Mwesige Honourable Minister for State of Local Government – gave appreciation on the part of the Ugandan National Government for LEU and LEF’s work in this project. Presentations and talks were also delivered by Daudi Migereko (Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Planning), Dr Levi Kabagambe (Associate Dean at Makerere University Business School), John Seryazi (representative from the European Commission), Josephine Kitaka (Solid waste management supervisor from KCCA), along with beneficiaries from the project, Living Earth Foundation and Living Earth Uganda staff, and representatives from our partners from Nigeria and Cameroon.

The conference outlined the project’s approach to tackling the problems of poor waste management and widespread unemployment in urban slum areas. This was done through training and supporting micro and small enterprises (MSEs) engaged in these industries. In addition, we work with local government to encourage public-private-partnerships (PPPs) between them and MSEs for effective service delivery,

The conference reflected on the success of the project raising awareness of the remaining issues and encouraging further action. Attendees heard how the pan-African programme has worked with 150 enterprises, training over 2,000 people greatly impacting these MSEs capacity to deliver services and helped formalise their operations. This has helped increase their profits between 15-30% and jobs increasing on average by 5-10 per MSE. In addition new PPPs have been signed between the public sector and MSEs (such as supplying charcoal briquettes made from biodegradable waste to schools, replacing the more costly and environmentally unfriendly alternative of wood). Attitudes to recycling and waste has also transformed in these communities with residents enjoying a much cleaner, and as a result, safer environments to live in.

In addition to the conference, there was an outdoor exhibition of the MSEs that we have worked with. Fifteen enterprises, working in areas of waste collection, charcoal briquette making, handicrafts from waste products makers, fuel efficient stove sellers, and other, exhibited their enterprises showing their work and telling their stories to attendees and others.

Further conferences are planned for Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and Douala, Cameroon, in November 2014.

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Briquette production centre opens in Cameroon

Kemit Ecology, one of the enterprises supported by our Waste to Wealth project, has just established Cameroon’s first urban briquette production centre.  Briquettes – the production of cooking fuel from organic waste – are a new technology in Douala.  As the cost of charcoal and cooking gas rises, Kemit Ecology is finding that there’s growing market interested in alternative fuel supplies.

In the last month, they’ve been able to work with the local council to secure an area of land which will serve as a workspace, they’ve registered as a business and they’ve sold their first order of 75Kg of briquettes.  It’s early days, but this is an exciting company to watch…

Kemit Ecology

Kemit Ecology at their new workspace in Douala

Kemit Ecology

Members of the Kemit Ecology team showcase their site

Kemit Ecology have also attracted the attention of others in the development community and have been shortlisted for an international award.

You can find out more about their work here:


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Waste entrepreneurs get equipped in Cameroon

Some photos from our partner, FCTV, in Cameroon…

Waste entrepreneurs in Cameroon

Making use of new equipment in Douala, Cameroon

Launching waste recycling projects in Douala, Cameroon

FCTV’s Director signs an MOU for a waste recycling project in Douala, Cameroon

Waste entrepreneurs in Cameroon

Hands on waste management in Douala

Waste to Wealth Videos – Ugandan entrepreneurs share their stories

In these short videos, five Waste to Wealth entrepreneurs working in Kampala, Uganda share their stories of what they see when they see waste and the impact that it’s had on their lives.

Sssenyange Samuel, the Director of Wisdom Insights shares his experience of developing a waste management company in Kampala:

Abdu Ssekamanya of Kamu Kamu Group talks about how plastic waste has changed his life:

Luluna Community Environmentalists share their experiences of making charcoal briquettes from waste:

Our Lady of Charity in Mulago, a network of 50 women, talk about making handbags, compost and fireless cookers:

Charles Kyamanywa of Kyabando Energy and Environmental Projects explains why he is making energy saving stoves in Kampala:

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