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Improved Waste Management through Public-Private Partnerships in Lusaka

The Manja Pamodzi project is a public-private partnership project that aimed to achieve sustainable development in Lusaka by changing the practices of citizens and reducing the amount of waste.
Paper containers of Chibuku collected for recycling

Key Messages

  • Poor waste management in urban areas can heighten the risk of flooding, which will continually increase due to climate change.
  • Education campiagns within communities and incentives for disposing waste can effectively reduce the waste management problems.
  • Solid waste management can hold economic benefits and ecological benefits for communities.


This case study is from theFRACTAL Adaptation Inspiration Book– this link provides a summary of the book, the other case studies and a downloadable pdf.

Lusaka in Zambia is among the fastest-growing capitals in Africa. Poorly planned construction of property and other infrastructure on rocky terrain or near natural drains/streams leaves many communities prone to flooding.

Waste management had not been handled efficiently – local authorities lacked resources and local residents became accustomed to disposing waste indiscriminately.

The Manja Pamodzi (which means hands together) project is a public-private partnership project that aimed to achieve sustainable development in Lusaka by changing the practices of citizens and supporting them to become paid waste collectors.

The FRACTAL Adaptation Inspiration Book contains a variety of case studies which are related to this case study, examining adaptation of infrastructure, settlements and waste management. The related articles can be found here:

Climate Risks and Other Stressors

In Lusaka, climate change exacerbates long-standing flooding problems.

  • Blockage of drains due to waste and unplanned construction casues flooding.
  • Indiscriminate waste disposal also emits greenhouse gases.
  • Water contamination and malfunctioning sanitary facilities are amongst the most serious consequences arising from current waste disposal practices of the poor communities in Lusaka.
  • Unsanitary conditions and air and water pollution lead to the increased spread of diseases.

Adaptation Approach

Community aggregators who sell collected waste. (Source: Lusaka Times)

To encourage behavioural change, health education campaigns were held in communities that had large amounts of indiscriminately disposed waste. Afterwards, suitable collectors of solid waste amongst the community members were identified. These collectors were subsequently given an incentive to take the waste to an aggregator, where it was sorted for recycling and sent for reuse or composting.

The collection, sorting and aggregation of waste could provide them with a source of income. The local authority also received support in clearing waste from the communities, which became cleaner and showed reduced exposure to unsanitary conditions.

Links to SDGs

Poor households improve their economic situation through the income generated by waste collection (SDG 1). Waste disposal from the drains improve overall health and well-being (SDG 3) as well as water quality and sanitation (SDG 6). By reducing the vulnerability of the community to flooding, the Manja Pamodzi project also contributes to a more resilient community (SDG 11).


  • Many local residents continue to indiscriminately dispose of their waste in streams and drains.
  • Very few community members are aware of the potential economic benefits of recycling and reusing waste, and the resulting value chain. Therefore, these people don’t have an incentive to change their behaviour.


Benefits of the Manja Pamodzi project:

  • A cleaner community, which improved health and well-being of the residents.
  • Solid waste is cleared and disposed of.
  • Waste collectors earn income from the collection and selling of waste to aggregators.
  • Clearing the drainages from bottles and plastics has reduced the risk of flooding in the communities, allowing the free flow of storm water during and after intense rainfall.

Lessons Learnt

  • Solid waste management holds economic benefits for communities.
  • Waste management programmes can present local people in need of work with business opportunities and incomes.
  • Waste management and the value-chain concept should be encouraged and incorporated into local authority mechanisms. Involving business partners such as Zambian breweries offers advantages in helping such programmes to gain traction.
  • The risk of blocked drainages in cities and settlements and the related disaster risks of flooding can be reduced.
  • The aesthetics of the surroundings and cleanliness of the community is enhanced, and the potential for disease is reduced.

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