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Waste to Wealth success story

The growing urbanization rate of 20% and depletion of forests in Uganda presents daunting environmental challenges associated with deforestation, poor sanitation in high density areas and poverty.
Ndejje University has consequently initiated a Waste to Wealth Project Enterprise (WWE) to address the core needs of communities which rotate around food, water, conducive environment and affordable energy.
In fulfilling the core functions of teaching, research and community outreach, the university is partnering with external agencies (industry, government, private sector and communities to promote the project.

“Ndejje University will continue to bridge the traditional disengagement between universities and community agencies. The outreach programmes consolidate organic linkages between the university in such a way that needs of society always form the core of the university’s teaching and research agenda. “This is done to reverse the deficit model of university–community interactions where the community is concerned as a laboratory of researchers. In the eyes of the university, communities are not passive recipients of university expertise; they also offer valuable traditional or local knowledge reserves,” Dr. Fred Kakembo, the Deputy Vice Chancellor said.

The university WWE project has achieved its goal within a short span of time successfully piloted through technical and business models, capacity building, empowerment and development of institutional frameworks.
Seven strategies have been adopted to register the success story of the project which include multi-disciplinary curriculum development, operating five research and development centres at Ndejje University, block-placement initiatives to connect students and staff to communities and external agencies.
“Conceptually, Ndejje University is not introducing new technologies but is commercializing and up scaling existing technologies transforming them into one of value addition and reuse,” said the Deputy Vice Chancellor.

The other strategies comprise initiating communal markets and distribution structures for the WWE products, participation in exhibitions, expos, trade fares that illustrate practicability and feasibility of innovations, piloting projects and demonstration.
To harness the FABLE nexus, scalable innovations have been successfully piloted and implemented in areas of bio-energy (biogas and briquettes) to provide alternative cooking/heating energy to households, educational institutions etc to reduce the consumption of firewood and charcoal that lead to deforestation. The university has also embarked on production of organic, fertilizers, biocides, disinfectants and animal feeds from bio-waste to promote organic farming and reduce the use of chemicals.

Urban farming units have also been set up at St. Kizito High School in Namugongo, Kampala and in community trading centres to demonstrate the integration of WWE with smart agriculture. The farm unit established at the high school has also provided demonstration of water harvesting and a solar-powered unit for irrigated farming.
A complete chain of briquettes production and consumption has been piloted successfully at the school with the provision of waste collection bins, carboniser that transforms bio-waste into carbon, unit that crushes carbon into biochar, packaging unit, solar drier that removes moisture from briquettes, commercial scale baking oven and institutional cooking stoves, among other items.
The other innovations include improved municipal sanitation which involves recycling bio-waste into tradable items and reduction of urban youths’ unemployment by providing jobs and livelihoods through WWE.

The university has consequently engaged communities (women and youth) through demonstrations, developing their skills in bio-waste recycling and educated them about profitability of the commercial scale business. The waste collectors and disposals have also been sensitized about developing and broadening their operations towards commercial-scale bio-waste recycling among other interventions.
The WWE project has achieved success in the provision of bio-energy for cooking and industrial heating thereby reducing use of charcoal and firewood which lead to deforestation. The initiative has also economically empowered communities who produce and sell briquettes, soil nutrients, biocides, promotion of irrigated and organic farming.
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