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Boston University

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Program Name

Kenya: Urbanization, Health, and Human Rights


As the world becomes more urbanized, more waste is being produced. According to United Nations projections in 2014, 66% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050 with the majority of growth occurring in African cities. Managing urban waste in lower-middle income countries, such as Kenya, poses a particular challenge as income levels rise, municipal capacities are stretched, and foreign loans complicate accountability. This project sought to assess the practical role of local government when managing solid waste in the context of long-term development strategies. The objectives of this study are to first establish the current role of local Kisumu government in solid waste management (SWM), identify challenges faced by managers of solid waste, and finally establish how the local government has addressed these challenges of SWM. Content analysis of data collected from desk review, six key-informant interviews, and 25 citizen survey respondents provided findings for further recommendations. The results of the study indicate that in terms of practical SWM provision in Kisumu, local government plays a complementary role to the private and informal sector, and that SWM services continue to be inadequate for current waste generation levels. It also became evident that a poor public private partnership between the public and private sector has materialized in failed attempts of integrating SWM services. Finally, a lack of political willpower and attribution of failures interdepartmentally has reduced opportunities for collaboration and ultimately has hindered improving SWM to be efficient and safe for the citizens of Kisumu.


African Studies | Civil Engineering | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Policy | Infrastructure | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


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