Co-Create Dakar: The PNGD project

In 2021, an initiative by de Rijksdienst voor Ondernemers Netherlands brought Dutch and Senegalese students, together in an innovation Bootcamp to co-develop circular and innovative solutions for concrete circular challenges of the city of Dakar. The project focused on waste management, compost usage, and the development of biogases from animal and water waste. In 7 groups, the students worked on the challenges brought by the 7 corporate project owners. This article introduces one of the innovative solutions that one of the teams brought forward.

The issue of urban waste

By 2025, more than 62 percent of the Senegalese population will live in cities, posing challenges in terms of solid waste management. Senegal’s current solid waste generation in 2021 is anticipated to be more than two million seven hundred thousand tons per year or 0.47 kg/inhabitant per day. The main issue is the inhabitants of Dakar do not have a habit of separating and recycling waste. As a result, there is no defined method for collecting and managing urban waste. This situation causes multiple problems, with growing concerns related to soil damage, contaminated water around the city, and health risks for both humans and the wildlife of the Dakar region.

About the project owner.

The solid waste management unit or UCG supports and supervises waste management projects like the PNGD. Source

Responding to the waste crisis

The National Program on Waste Management (PNGD), under the supervision of the UCG was developed in response to Senegal’s waste crisis. The PNGD is a program developed by the Ministry of Local Governance, Development, and Regional Planning to help local communities improve their living conditions and meet societal demands. One of the most serious challenges is the high rate of trash generation, which leads to garbage accumulation and environmental degradation. The program addresses these issues through multiple projects and regulatory changes. Among their many initiatives, the PNGD is in charge of the construction of solid waste infrastructure, they offer technical and financial support for local communities, and monitor the waste flow around the country.

The solid waste management unit or UCG supports and supervises waste management projects like the PNGD. Source

Waste management as a business.

One of the student teams developed a plan tackling waste management directly while also addressing the root of the problem.  First, the PNGD would finance the construction of a waste compacting facility in the Hann Bel Air district. They would also place multiple recycling bins around the area allowing people to dispose of their waste more sustainably. The facility would then purchase recycled waste from both citizens and businesses, incentivizing the community to participate in the waste collection system. The compacted plastic waste would then be sold to industries that would use it as a raw material. The Hann Bel Air district was chosen as it is an area of Dakar where both residential and industrial activities can be found. In this way, it is the perfect place to set up a first compacting facility as an experiment and assess how to proceed with similar investments in other districts.

The bigger picture.

Promoting a behavior change

The waste management solution proposed by the team relies on a behavior change by the whole population. While being able to sell your waste is already a great incentive for citizens to recycle, it is not enough. For a long-lasting behavior change to occur, the PNGD would also have to educate people about the importance of recycling. With this in mind, the team came up with the idea of an app that would allow people to get information on how to recycle and the benefits of doing so, while serving as a payment platform where the users could get paid for the waste they bring to collection points. Making everything easier is essential to generate a repeated behavior. Of course, developing a waste collection system is a complex project, but it is far from unachievable. the PNGD was created with this exact goal in mind, all it needs is creative solutions exactly like the ones proposed by the team of students.

Learn more about the other Co-Create Dakar projects right here >>