An international university collaboration is working with local stakeholders in the Kenyan town of Kisumu to reduce waste levels, improve livelihoods, and protect the environment.

The Kisumu Local Interaction Platform has facilitated a collaboration between two Kenyan universities and Chalmers University of Technology, in Sweden, who are working with local community leaders to clean up the streets of Kisumu. The evidence-based approach has identified a number of methods aiming to reduce waste produced by market traders in Kisumu. Without a waste processing site or even a landfill, the primarily organic waste stream ends up in scrap piles that encourage disease-spreading pests.

Some successful, win-win practices identified by the partnership include: transforming organic waste into compost; developing fuel briquettes from market waste; preparation of animal feed from vegetable waste; and promotion of recovery and recycling of waste through waste-pickers and entrepreneurs.

By providing a formal platform for sharing ideas with city officials, research findings can be translated quickly into policy actions, which can then be monitored and results fed back to researchers.

65% of the waste produced in Kisumu will be avoided under the research-based program

The challenge

Waste processing in many semi-urban areas of Kenya is extremely limited, and there have been grave concerns raised for years about the state of Lake Victoria’s polluted waters. Schemes like this can diminish the amount of waste produced and minimize environmental degradation.


Economic Waste-pickers and entrepreneurs making the most of the waste are recognized and encouraged, in order to reduce waste quantities and recover valuable materials for sale. Fuel savings are also leveraged by producing briquettes from waste.

Environmental Transforming waste into energy briquettes preserves local forests, and composting helps to preserve natural soil quality. Reduced quantities of organic waste in dump sites also decreases the quantities of methane released.

Social Informal litter-pickers are recognized and provided with a source of income from waste sites.

Health Reduction of decomposing organic matter on the streets improves aesthetics and reduces survival of disease-causing parasites.

About Kisumu

Kisumu is a port city in Kisumu County, Kenya. It is the third largest city in Kenya and is the largest city in Nyanza region and second most important city after Kampala in the greater Lake Victoria basin.

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