Working with youth in a dump site in waste entrepreneurship

plastic bottles for recycling

On 4th August 2015, staff of the National Environment Management Authority EEIPP department visited the Ngong waste management project. This initiative was established during the World Clean-up day 2012, held in Ngong town, Kajiado County. NEMA collaborated with NURU group whose members are youths residing in this area and operate at the dumpsite, to promote a pilot waste segregation project. The group has 135 members comprising of men, women, and youths. The dumpsite receives a lot of waste from Karen, Rongai, Kiserian, Ngong town, and other areas of Kajiado County. The land belongs to the County Government of Kajiado.

Purpose of the visit

To NEMA team visited the site to
* present Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to the Nuru Group members: 20 pairs of gumboots, 15 pairs of gloves, and 15 overalls.
* To monitor the progress of the project.

Progress and Achievements

-The Nuru Group is highly organized since it is registered with the District Social Services Department. It has elected officials who oversee the progress of the project and also has a bank account.

-The PPEs presented would be given to members who had previously not acquired them. Hence, there will be improved occupational health and safety within the dumpsite. NEMA officials promised to support the group by finding more sponsors who will provide more PPEs and other needed support.

Presenting PPEs to NURU group


Dr. Ayub presenting the PPEs to members

Workers wearing PPEs

PPEs provided and some members wearing their PPEs

-The Nuru group is already practicing sorting and waste recovery. For instance, they segregate plastics bottles and other items, put them into bags, weigh and sell to waste recyclers. They also recover used white papers (for printing) and low density polythene papers, pack and sell them to recyclers. Apparently, there is evidence of increased waste recovery.

Waste sorted

Waste recovered

-The project has improved Nuru group members’ lifestyles. Recovering waste and selling it to recyclers has become a source of livelihood for the members. They also rear pigs which they sell for not less than 12,000 Kshs per each. In addition, they recover waste food, pack them into bags and sell them each at 60 Kshs to pig farmers.

Pig food

Recovered food waste packed in bags and each sold at Kshs 60

As noted by the NEMA staff present, there is a remarkable improvement among Members, not only financially but also physically and socially. In particular, they now look neater and easily communicate to visitors.
-There has been capacity building for the Nuru group members through training the members have acquired new skills of waste sorting and marketing. Through exchange visits, they have learnt how other similar groups have successfully ventured in waste-related entrepreneurship activities. For instance, in Kitale, the group learnt about waste composting. As an outcome of this visit, NURU group has already implemented a pilot composting bed at the Ngong dumpsite. While ready, the compost will be sold to farms such as flower farms, and will not only bring additional income for the members but also help reduce the incoming waste at the dumpsite.

Composting bed

The pilot composting bed at the dumpsite

-A shed and a store/office have already been constructed at the site. The shed and the store will help in sorting and storing of waste that can be damaged by wet weather condition such as white printing papers. They will also be used by the members to shelter from harsh weather conditions. Likewise, the office will help in the proper keeping of the records and in the general management of the dumpsite.

Waste sorting shed

NEMA officers and members outside the completed shed on the right, and office/store on the left

Talking to NURU members

Dr, Ayub talking to the Group Officials inside the store

Toilet at dump site

Standing outside toilet
Two pit latrines and a bathroom has been put up at the dumpsite and thus improving sanitation for the members.

1. The dumpsite was previously fenced, though lately the fence has gone down. This is because of the soggy nature of the dumpsite, and the leached chemicals from the waste that eat away the meshed wire fence. As a result, the waste from the dumpsite is encroaching in the neighboring church land, hence conflict.
2. Nuru Group members segregate, recover, and sell the waste as individuals. In this light, there lacks a collective recording strategy for the total waste recovered from the dumpsite.
3. There lacks proper infrastructure within the dumpsite, making mobility a challenge. As shown below, there is no road leading to the office/store and the sorting sheds.

No road in dump site
No road to the office

1. NEMA staff insisted on the need for proper recording, which will help to approximate the total waste recovered from the dumpsite. Such records will help in selling the project to potential sponsors and partners.
2. The recovered waste should be sold from a central point / collectively, to give the group greater bargaining power in the market. This will help eliminate brokers who take advantage of individual sellers.
3. There is need to label the shed and the store\office to create awareness of the groups present/managing the project.
4. There is need to fit gutters and purchase a tank to harvest rain water.
5. Nuru group members were suggesting that if possible tapped water could be drawn from a nearby borehole.
6. There is need for new fencing using concrete poles, which will withstand the site conditions.

-NEMA is to find sponsors for a briquette making machine and a waste compressing machine for the Ngong dumpsite that will largely improve the project operations.
– There will be more exchange visits and expert training for the Nuru Group members, to help develop the project.

Dr. Ayub Macharia –Director, EEIPP
Mr. Shieni Koiyet – Nairobi Region Coordinator
Mr. Antony Mwangi- Graphic Officer 1
Ms. Christine Maina- Intern
Ms. Jeanne Njeri – Attachee

Prepared by Christine Maina and Anthony Mwangi

4 thoughts on “Working with youth in a dump site in waste entrepreneurship

  1. Wonderful job. if this is replicated everywhere in all areas of urban centres in Kenya, am sure the environment would be a much better place to live in.


  2. fantastic job, you are a true patriot of this country. If this is done in all major and small towns in this country the environment will be clean and youth will have sources of income hence the country economy is boosted in a major way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s