EPIC-Africa Provides a Model for Addressing COVID-19 and Solid Waste Management in Mombasa
UniversityTechnical University of Mombasa
Case TypePartnership Stories
School SizeLess than 20000
Focus AreasSolid Waste Management
Sustainable Development Goals06 Clean Water and Sanitation
EPIC-Africa formed a new partnership with the city of Mombasa following a series of trainings in Durban during early 2020. Originally planning to implement a mangrove restoration project, the city quickly adapted to the new challenges of the global pandemic and transformed their proposed initiative to address COVID-19 transmission instead. The county government called upon the expertise of the students and staff at the Technical University of Mombasa to devise a strategy to address rising infection rates in public settings such as open markets or gathering spaces. Taking note of local Mombasa identities, the University created a non-alcohol based sanitizing solution that could accommodate the needs of the majority Muslim population. The solution was also free from Sodium Hypochlorite, an active element in most disinfecting solutions, known to be reactive to clothes. This disinfecting spray was utilized in numerous sanitizing booths around the city to help lower transmission rates and keep people safe, positively impacting thousands of lives over the course of the project. Due to incredibly high demand and limited resources, this program had a relatively short implementation period with activities concluding at the end of 2020.
During 2022, Mombasa once again transformed their initiative, this time to focus on solid waste management. With concerns over poor collection efficiency in the city, the local government and university hoped to positively influence community consumption patterns, personal waste management habits, and access to recycling resources. Young students played a critical role in developing approaches to waste management in the city and many of their recommendations are currently in the early stages of implementation with local stakeholders. For example, students developed a web-based application that informed the local county where illegal dumping was occurring, where waste was being collected and transported to, and allowed local residents to request individual collection when their waste was full to help curb illegal dumping habits. Thanks to the fresh perspectives and dedication of these university students, the county is hopeful that the waste management situation in the city will improve dramatically over the next few years.
Now, in 2023, the city has requested formal funding to continue developing the ideas coming out of the university. In September, students hope to begin implementing a programme through which visual arts will be embedded in the awareness creation and design of waste management solutions. The visual arts are expected to promote positive waste management habits and attitudes, communicating important information to the community in an comprehensible and compelling way. This EPIC-Africa partnership has bridged the gap between the university, local stakeholders, and the county, bringing social enterprises and research organizations together to meet city-wide goals. With young people now having a platform to innovate and utilize their course knowledge in the world around them, everyone is eager to see how much positive change can be generated. We look forward to following the EPIC-Africa work in Mombasa for years to come.