On the 25th August 2015, Nuru Youth Group in Ngong had rare visitors when their counter parts from Mwakirunge dumpsite in Mombasa came to get a lesson from them on the success of waste recovery business. This was made possible through sponsorship by Action Aid, Bamburi who catered for the trip. This was after a visit by a team from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Nairobi Regional Office in July on a survey mission who shared with the group on the success of the Ngong group.
The Mombasa group comprised of three groups working within the Mwakirunge area on matters concerning the dumpsite. The groups included;
* Usafi ni Uhai – an advocacy group on safe waste disposal in the area
* Pickers – does sorting and recovery of materials for sale
* Bamburi Environmental Watchdog – advocate on environmental concerns of the people and is involved in environmental conservation.
The first stop for this group was at the NEMA headquarters where they paid a curtesy call to the Director Environmental Education Information and Public Participation, Dr. Ayub Macharia. He took the opportunity to welcome the groups to Nairobi. He said this was a great opportunity for the group because the Ngong Project was action oriented. He gave the background of the Ngong project and the successes achieved so far. The achievements include
* increased waste recovery,
* improved livelihoods for segregators,
* better market for recovered materials,
* improved capacity for waste segregators
* less social conflicts and
* improved compliance to environmental standards.
He reiterated that the Ngong group has been linked with the industry recyclers after a successful meeting with them and afterwards visited some of the recycling plants.
It was also noted that NEMA has been supporting peer to peer learning through visits to other waste segregators. He highlighted for instance the exchange visit with DAJOPEN group in Kitale where the group learnt on composting of organic fertilizer. The outcome of this visit is commencement of waste composting at Ngong dump site.
He also noted that NURU group has started a pig project which has boosted their earnings. He noted that in March 2015, the group had over 300 pigs and each was sold at Kshs 12000 and this amounts to Kshs 3.6 million, hence the group had made huge profits. This announcement made the Mwakirunge group very excited.
He went ahead to say NEMA has constructed a store, sorting shed and a toilet for the Ngong group to improve on the group’s working environment.
The Director EEIPP Dr. Ayub Macharia addressing the Mwakirunge group during their visit to NEMA headquarters
The Director said the future plans for the project is to increase technologies of waste recycling and value addition. The ultimate goal is to make the Ngong project an informal learning centre for waste segregators and recyclers.
The challenges the project experiences are data collection and management of group dynamics. He said secret to success for this project hinges on addressing issues such as
* Being organized and registered with relevant government institutions
* Improving group dynamics and coherence among members
* Expanding group membership
* Resource mobilization from government agencies and others to support group activities
* innovativeness of the group members
NEMA is working closely with NURU group to address these issues to make the project successful.
The Mombasa group then raised several questions which were responded to the satisfaction of the visitors. Then the visitors proceeded to Ngong to learn more in a practical manner.
In Ngong the visitors were welcomed by the Nuru youth group chairman who shared with them on
*background of the group,
*progress made so far
*conflict resolution among members.
He said so far the group has 132 members comprising of 91 females and 41 men. The waste is normally received from Karen, Kiserian, Rongai and Ngong town. He said the aim of the group is to market the waste recovered as a group and take it directly to the recyclers and hence avoid brokers.
The visitors learning from Nuru Youth Group at the Ngong dumpsite on how to make wealth from waste
The Chairman clarified that within the NURU umbrella group, there are other smaller groups who are engaged on different activities.
* Emmanuel group which has 10 members and was registered in 2014. They are involved in pig rearing, buying recovered materials from the non-members such as bones and old slippers, composting and saving for members.
* Garbage is Gold women group has 14 members and is involved in activities such as composting, sorting of brown and white papers, table banking and was in process of establishing a SACCO.
* Neema Group is newly formed and currently recruiting members. They plan to do chicken rearing and savings for members.
* Ngong women faithful group has 17 members and is registered. It is involved in pig rearing, merry go round, sorting of polythene bags and white paper and other welfare issues touching on members.
* Young Nation group is involved with composting.
The chairman said elections are held after every one year and members have developed by- laws to manage day to day running of the group. Some of the by-laws the group has are like;
* Abuses in the group lead to suspension for two weeks from the working area
* Theft leads to expulsion of the member from the group
* Fighting or violence leads to one month expulsion
* Children not allowed to work in the dumpsite or even coming to stay there
Nuru group members demonstrate the various types of waste recovered at the dumpsite for recycling
Working at the dumpsite is alternated between men and women to avoid crowding and conflict over materials. Hence men and women collect waste on different days. Conflict resolution mechanisms are well established.
Benefits by Nuru group members for working in the dumpsite include;
* Educating their children up-to secondary level
* Buying residential plots
* The assets bought using money earned from the dump site is used as collateral for micro finance loans
* Decent life for their families
The Mwakirunge team was taken through the recyclable material recovered from the dumpsite. This include the list below though not exhaustive;
* Low density (LD) polythene bags
* Laminated paper
* Water plastic bottles
* Scrap metal and tins
* Brown and white paper
* Beer bottles
* Slippers and shoe soles
* Copper and aluminum wires
* Waste food for feeding pigs
* Organic materials for making compost.
The visitors were also taken through the rearing of pigs and composting of organic waste as part of economic activities undertaken by the Nuru group members in Ngong.
Visit to recycling plants
On the 26th August 2015, the Mombasa group visited 3 recycling plants to experience the recycling process and secure market for their materials.
The first plant to visit was Kamongo Paper recyclers who are specialized in buying, sorting and bailing waste for sale to local recyclers and also for export. Mr. Norbert Agesa on behalf of the company offered to buy brown and white paper as well as old gunny bags from the visiting group. He also gave the contacts of their agent in Mombasa to work with the group and be organizing for transport of materials to Nairobi.
The Mwakirunge group tour Kamongo paper recycler in industrial area where waste is sorted and bailed.
The second plant to visit was Friendly Polymers Limited that is specialized in recycling polythene bags and hard plastics. Mr. Nitin Shah offered to organize for purchase of plastics collected by the group though the greatest challenge is transport. He promised the group that if they can collect good tonnage of the waste, his company can provide a shredding machine on site at the dumpsite.
The group tours Friendly Polymers limited which is involved in plastic recycling
The last plant to visit was the Pan African Paper Mills who recycle brown and white paper for book covers and tissue paper. Mr Timothy Rop and Mr. Ndungu lead the group in tour for the plant. Finally there was a brief meeting with the plant CEO, Mr. Markesh who assured the group of the market for all the materials collected by the group. He appreciated the efforts by NEMA to involve groups in waste recovery thus making people discover the wealth in our dumpsite. The company promised the group that they will also organize for transport from Mombasa to Nairobi once the group collects enough tonnage.
Visit at Pan African Paper Mills where the group saw the various categories of waste paper and met the Managing Director, Mr, Markesh.
Finally the tour came to the end with the Mombasa group going home with the challenge to collect enough materials to supply to the secured market. Through Action Aid the group thanked NEMA for organizing and coordinating the tour programme which was very productive. They promised to fulfill the milestones attained in increasing waste recovery and supply the market.
The departing shot was ‘Turning trash to cash is the way to go’.
Report done by Mr Shieni Koyiet, Regional Coordinator, NEMA Nairobi region