Kisumu, the third largest city in Kenya, is plagued with both sanitation and waste safety. There is over 67% waste disposal of fecal matter combined with 80% of total waste which is improperly disposed of. There is roughly 400 tonnes of waste produced per day. This hampers the growth of the city – not only health wise but also economically. The aim of this project is to address SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities while working with the Quercus Group to address the current scenario of waste disposal in Kisumu, Kenya. Our solution is to use a phone-based application, to target the 90% of citizens which have access to a cellular phone and the majority of them own a smartphone. The premise of our solution is to create an integrated phone platform which enables the citizens and local government to have direct communication regarding waste management and regulates a fair trade of trash/recyclables within Kisumu.
In Kisumu, 50 % of the population lives in informal settlements, falling under a local county government. Waste is produced through obvious day-to-day processes and has been accumulating in the city. Currently, people in Kisumu dispose of their trash by throwing it outside on the streets and public areas. There is a misunderstanding of ownership for this waste problem. The government has to provide services for the citizens including waste management however, the citizens are often frustrated with inadequate service and lack of clearly labeled trash collection points.
70 % of the residents feels neglected by the local county government to manage the waste. This miscommunication between the people and the local government has lead to 80% of the waste being left on the streets. The landlords pay the waste pickers to collect trash from their respective homes, where the waste pickers are made to pay a large gate fee to dump off their trash at the Kachok (the dump site of Kisumu).
System : However, within Kisumu, there is value for certain kinds of waste: plastics, paper, metal, etc. The people who collect these are called scavengers. Scavengers often collect this trash and bring to people here called as middlemen, who will pay for this valuable trash, and trade it further up the line for money. There is often fluctuation in price for tradable trash and carrying these heavy bags to the next middleman is not feasible. These scavengers face the problem that they don’t know how much they will get payed for the waste that they gathered due to the supply and demand from the middlemen.
Lack of value for organic trash : Out of the 400 tonnes of waste produced per day in Kisumu, around 65 % of it is organic trash. Since there hasn’t been a market and value for the organic waste, people don’t feel obliged to collect the organics but rather throw them out in the streets. All of these problems has led to decreased agricultural production, crippled the fishing industry, unsanitary living conditions for majority of the residents, and an eyesore which hampers tourism.
With out solution and as it is shown in the picture, we can project directly 90% of the population and indirectly affect everyone.
75% of the population is under 30 years of age, which will be the focus of our target users which can distribute the knowledge of the app.
Our solution and how the concept is feasible
TigiTaka is an phone application targeting towards efficient waste management system. TigiTaka can work either as a SMS message or a phone app. In order to get the full functionality you need to access the phone app. It is a free to install application, whereby allowing all kinds of users to participate towards waste handling and making the environment cleaner.
The app functionality depends on the user and desired outcome. How the user can access each function is here explained.
1 Trash pick up
The government currently has collection points for trash pick up which the recognized settlements are supposed to dispose of their trash. These collection points will be relabelled with a unique numbering system and an SMS number to text. Looking upon the collection site citizens can report the state of the site by going on the app or by SMS with this unique number identifier. With the SMS feature, you just text the phone number with the unique number and it will be registered in the system as full. With the phone app, you can choose the location with a GPS map, and then report how much trash is currently at the collection site. You will have options as to empty, half full, or very full on a drop-down menu. Along with the amount of trash, you can also report how long it has been there just with a notification. If the user doesn’t desire to use the survey feature they can also take a photo and this will be registered as full in the system. The government will get a notification for all these reports and have roughly a week to send a truck to dispose of the trash. The truck driver will need to receive two verification checks in order to receive payment. The trash truck driver will come and collect the trash and will have to go into the app and verify they have picked up the trash which will be the first check. If there are subsequent reports on the trash the same day, then the truck driver will not receive their payment. Then, the truck driver will get its final verification from the gate operator of the dump site. This will help ensure that everyone has done their job.
2 Marketplace for all recycled goods
The second use of this app will focus on the scavengers. The scavengers currently go to Kachok and shift through hazardous conditions where expose for example to hospital equipment and sharp objects. However, to improve these working conditions and with the announced government decision to move Kachok from the city center to very far out, it will displace these citizens. With the app, the scavengers can see where collection points are full and go through some of these sites to collect valuables. Once the scavenger has collected enough recyclable valuables, they can log onto the app to see what is the current marketplace for the goods. On the app, you can view all the middlemen and distances from you. The middlemen will input how much they are willing to pay for each of the reusable material and how much reusable material they are willing to take. The scavenger can filter and input what type of recycled valuables they have in the app. The app will output the middleman which will give them the most money, the closest middleman, and an option to view all. Once they select the middleman they desire, they can lock the price.
By having middlemen post their prices in a common area, the scavenger will choose the ones with the best prices. Other middlemen will want to join the site to ensure their inflow of materials to sell to companies and factories.
3 Value for Organics
The final solution for our app is to place a value on organics. Currently, 65% of the trash is organic and there is no value for goods even though there are fertilizer plants, bio-energy plant in a nearby city, and plans to develop a bio-energy plant in Kisumu. We want to integrate recycling into the middleman revenue stream and become the link to bio-energy plants. Scavengers will bring the organics to the middleman and will receive a flat rate. The size of organics will be limited to 5 kg per bag to ensure easy inspection by the middleman. If there are too many contaminants, then the middleman can reject the organic trash. The middleman will notify the bio-energy plant and the plants will disperse trucks to pick up the trash. The company will receive the organics at much cheaper cost than means and everyone involved will get a cut of the revenue.
Additional features of the App:
To ensure that the user is inclined to use the app, we want to integrate a news bar or relevant government information for the users. This news bar will notify about important elections, upcoming events, etc which will provide more inclusion in the city. Ads banner will be also present, allowing local businesses to have more exposure. We strongly believe that this concept is feasible, especially because Kisumu already has the infrastructure of mobile pay applications like M-Pesa.
Users of the app:
Citizen of Kisumu:
All citizen of Kisumu will be able to access this section. The citizens has the ability to notify the government about full trash collection points, locate nearby trash points, and also view any middlemen who would like to sell valuables.
Trash Truck Driver:
The trash truck driver will use the app to verify they have picked up the trash and dropped it off at the gate. They will also have access from the app to the best possible route to pick up trash so they aren’t wasting gas and time.
The Scavenger can view all the full trash collection points in the city (same view for the citizen) and shift through for valuables. They will also have access to all the middleman and the option to lock prices so they can have a steadier income. They can also use the app to see which recyclable has the most value for the day and prevents them from wasting their time.
The Middleman can use the app the state how much they are willing to buy and the price for each material so they have less of an overstock of certain goods. In the future the, app will have the ability for middleman to communicate with the metal recycle plant, the plastic plant, the bioplant, etc so they can tell them to dispatch truck to pick up the valuables.
Recycling companies will use the app to get notification for availability to pick up goods from the middleman. They can monitor how much of the goods they will receive from each middleman and input how much they are willing to pay.
The project has short term, middle term, and long term phases.
In the short term phase we would like to implement the app for recognized settlement areas within Kisumu for waste management and establish trash collection points within these settlements. Tackling these area first is more feasible as the presence of the government gives legislation for waste disposal and guidelines. During this phase, we aim at getting 10% of the population using the app.
Our middle term goal will be to expand the use of the app to all the informal settlements in Kisumu. In addition, we would like to expand into other markets using recyclables, such as organics for bio-energy plants. During this phase, we aim at getting 60% of the population using the app.
In the long term we will expand Tigitaka on a global scale to curb the problem of waste management. Potential countries to use in: India, Congo, Tanzania, and other countries using MPESA. Establishing value for organics and including it into middleman recycle chain. During this phase, we aim at getting 100% of the population using the app.
Four unique value propositions
What makes your solution unique?
- Increased communication between government, local county government and residents
- Organized waste collection
- Adding values to waste
- Scalable solution globally
The business model can be described as shown below.
Besides the initial investment for developing the app, we aim at creating a self-sustaining circular economy. The initial investment can be founded by third party investors. TigiTaka gains a small profit for every transaction made on the platform, mostly the ones between waste pickers and middleman. We have estimated how much revenue can be achieved out of the 400 tons of waste produced per day and they are illustrated in the table below. The middleman will have to further trade material to a company who can process the material. The middleman uses the app to find a locked price with a company. With the future creation of the bio-energy plant, we would like to give a market for organic waste as well. We estimated that even with 10% of the market TigiTaka can generate 70K a day.
Once the app is established we plan on collaboration with local technologies and local communities in Kisumu.
- Organized waste management
- Healthier residents
- Create more fair jobs
- Less pollution which result in better fishing and tourism industry
- Building trust between government and local people
- Increasing job availability
- Availability of data and geodata about waste and its trading
- Impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):
- Good health (SDG 3)
- Life on land (SDG 15)
- Clean water and sanitation (SDG 6)
- Smart cities (SDG 11)
- Industry innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9)
Team and group members
TigiTaka is a international organization comprising of engineers with multiple backgrounds. Our goal is to curb unorganized waste management, bringing about more awareness to people about the consequences, to hold hands together as one and to make the world a more sustainable environment.
MSc in Environmental Engineering
MSc in Sustainable Energy
MSc in Wind Energy
BSc in Civil Engineering
MSc in Physics and Nanoscience
Link for more information
Financials (Business model): (used for assumptions)