waste management improves livelihoods in Trans Nzoia County.

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Kitale is a town of 220,000 inhabitants, capital of the Trans nzoia district located in the Rift Valley Province. the economy of Trans Nzoia district relies heavily on agriculture and contributes significantly to the national agricultural production and food supply. Kitale is an important market town and commercial hub for the district. most of the residents are farmers involved in subsistence agricultural and horticultural activities. However, livelihood opportunities remain limited especially for some sectors of the population such as women and young people. this leads to insufficient incomes,inadequate housing conditions, lack of food security and access to clean water and energy and broadened social inequalities.

Following increased waste accumulation in Kitale town and its outskirts, David Nginge through their Community based Organization (DAJOPEN) came up with the idea of recycling waste in order to clean the environment and to enhance group members’ livelihood opportunities. This was after attending workshop facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture and a Kenyan NGO. Today members collect waste locally or buy it from street families, in order to produce and sell recycled items.

DAJOPEN is an innovative organization in various ways including the fact that it is both production and service orientated to the community regarding the training component. Moving on, it also develops, produces and promotes innovative, affordable and sustainable products that improve vulnerable populations’ living conditions in an integrated manner seeking to tackle environmental problems and urban waste problems considering the socio-economic issues of the community. The entire entrepreneurial project is community-initiated and community-driven, including the scaling up and transfer strategies.

DAJOPEN products include roofing and floor tiles made out of recycled plastic, baskets, mats and ropes made of plastic bags; jewelry and briquettes made of paper waste; water filters made of saw dust mixed with clay; fencing posts; organic fertilizers, liquid fertilizers and biocides made of bio-degradable waste materials.

In 2014, the team won the 2nd place of NETFUND GIA under the CBO category which grossed him an entry into NETFUND up scaling programme and later joined NETFUND incubation programme as well. The enterprise also received a decomposing machine from NETFUND which has enabled them to Increase their productivity from 10 tons to 40 tons per season.  Their products have also been analyzed for quality against the Kenyan standards. There has been also a tremendous revenue increase from the sales of the fertilizer from an initial monthly average of KES 20,000 to a monthly average of KES 42,000. Increase in production has also attracted more local farms in the county as key customers boosting the number from 24 to 5o as well as increasing the number of bags of maize from 10 to 38 bags per an acre.

Following the efforts to alleviate poverty, 30 members of the group, including women and young people, benefit from enhanced income generating opportunities and from a cleaner habitat, as well as being empowered to transform their own living conditions. The innovation offers job opportunities to the street families who are benefitting from collecting and selling paper wastes to the group. Similarly, the group has enhanced an integrated impact on the social, economic and environmental conditions of the affiliated groups by selling to them the products and providing training.

So far, approximately 3,000 individual farmers and further 18,000 members of 46 farmers’ groups have been trained through the group. Policy makers, government officials, students and non-governmental institutions with whom the DWM group has collaborated have developed an enhanced awareness of community-led development processes, as well as of environmental, socio-economic and organic farming issues.

The project has environmental management at the core of their operations. The fact that it relies entirely on the re-use of locally available materials, it has directly contributed to changing vulnerable community members’ behaviors regarding waste management and fostered sustainable lifestyles. The project approach also works to achieve a wider environmental impact, as collecting and recycling waste leads to a significant decrease in air, soil and water stream contamination, as well as to the preservation of the local fauna and flora. In addition, the use of recycled construction items and alternative energy sources contributes to decreasing deforestation rates, whilst the dissemination of organic farming methods counters the degradation of agricultural soils on a country-wide scale.

It is crystal clear that waste materials represent readily available resources which local communities and farmers can productively tap into. Their recycling contributes to improving vulnerable communities’ conditions in a comprehensive manner, enabling them to jointly address environmental, economic and social issues.

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