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Kenyan recycling centre to become ‘waste to wealth’ model

The charity WasteAid has been awarded a grant from UK Aid Direct, the Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) fund, to set up a recycling centre near Lake Naivasha, Kenya. The facility will collect waste and turn it into useful products that can be sold to generate an income.

Many of the residents of Kwa-Muhia on the southern shore of Lake Naivasha work on nearby farms producing cut flowers sold in European supermarkets. WasteAid is working with the Kwa-Muhia Environmental Group (KMEG), a local community group.

‘Waste is a serious problem in Kenya,’ says KMEG project manager Duncan Oloo. ‘Thanks to the funding and support from WasteAid, we will now be able to clean up our informal settlement and convert waste into wealth.’

Attacking disease

According to the charity, set up by UK recycling and waste management professionals to share practical and low-cost know-how with communities in low-income countries, the project will also improve public health in the village by reducing diseases spread through uncollected rubbish, especially among young children who play on the waste dumps.

The recycling centre will also help to stop waste from Kwa-Muhia polluting Lake Naivasha, an internationally important wetland site. ‘Overall the project is good for people, good for the environment, and makes good economic sense too,’ says WasteAid’s manager Jill Matthews. ‘A simple waste management service can have a significant positive impact on people’s lives.’

Pilot project

The project is seen as a pilot that can be rolled out in other areas. ‘We hope to develop a low-cost model for other settlements in Kenya and elsewhere to follow,’ Matthews says. ‘We will be posting regular updates demonstrating how we are turning waste into wealth, using simple and affordable techniques.’

UK Aid Direct is a five-year, EUR 160 million challenge fund designed to support the UK’s commitments to achieving the global goals. UK Aid Direct is DFID’s main centrally managed funding mechanism for small and medium sized civil society organisations, based in the UK and overseas.

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