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This proposal was moved here from Waste Management Workspace 2016


Rwanda Bleu!Points is a self-funding and educative waste source separation model initiated by Pius to reduce emissions from waste in Rwanda



Rwanda is recording rapid urbanisation and rapid urban population growth. Globally, Rwanda Urban population has increased from about 1 to 2 million, and from 603,049 to about 1 million for Kigali, from 2002 to 2015 (NISR,2014). This is resulting in high demand for public services including solid waste services. For this, the public sector is not able to provide the service alone which has opened door to the privatisation of waste collection in Kigali (Nishimwe P.,2016) and other cities as well. This has increased the service coverage where 90% of the population, in Kigali, has access to solid waste collection service in 2015 from 44% in 2012 (Nishimwe P., 2016). Low performance in waste source separation associated with a basic practice of “collect and dump” is resulting in huge amount of waste ending into open dumpsites (More than 96% of collected waste) and corresponding GHG emissions from 24.04 Gg CO2eq to 186.99 Gg CO2eq, (2006-2015) respectively, with an increase rate of 3.12% per year (REMA, 2016). However, a long-term solution to reduce GHG emissions is to reduce waste ending into SWDS and to optimise composting outcome of organic fraction to dumpsite which is possible if waste is sorted at the household level. Various studies including Nishimwe P. (2016) in Rwanda, Kassim (2006) in Tanzania and Oduro-Kwarteng (2011) in Ghana, have evidenced that households are motivated by market incentives to separate waste. This contest aims to develop a self-funding and educative waste source separation model to reduce waste to SWDS and related GHG emissions from waste in Rwandan Cities towards Waste emissions-free cities. With this model it is expected to cut waste to SWDS by 40% in 2025 and by 95% in 2035 and corresponding emissions GHG emissions by 30% in 2025 and more than 90% in 2035. This model will be implemented and monitored at village level where waste selling and education points, here branded as “Rwanda! Blue Points”, will be installed in 10 villages as pilot

Is this proposal for a practice or a project?


What actions do you propose?

Three main activities will be undertaken for this project: installation and the management of pilot Rwanda Blue!Points facilities, public awareness and capacity development of households, private sector and local authorities and policy advocacy. The project initiator will focus on two first activities and I’m contacting relevant public institutions to make the policy advocacy on my behalf .

1. Installation of “Rwanda Blue! Points” (RBPs) facilities

Administratively, Rwanda is subdivided into four provinces (Western, Southern, Eastern and Northern) and Kigali, with a province status. Each province is divided into districts, district into sectors, sectors into cells and the latter into villages. With monopoly privatization of solid waste collection in Kigali, a sector is considered as a monopoly zone and serviced by one company. Moreover, a village is considered as the basic and smallest implementation level of all priorities of the government. For this, RBPs initiative will also consider the village as the smallest unit to optimise waste separation outcome due to the ease follow up. As a pilot phase,10 RBPs will be constructed in 10 villages using local and light materials to reduce cost. The facilities will serve as transit warehouses for non-biodegradable scrap, office and training place.

2. Public awareness and capacity development of key stakeholders

Current solid waste governance structure involves three main actors: private sector (collection companies), households (service beneficiaries and funding source) and public sector (regulator and municipality). The above actors will be targeted for the awareness on the challenges and importance of waste separation at the household level and basic waste separation know-how sessions will be provided to them.

Households: it has been evidenced that women and housekeepers are more involved than others in waste management. This group will be targeted for the know-how practices in waste separation. Particularly, housekeepers are the main beneficiaries of waste separation know-how training as they are in charge of waste management in many households and sell some recyclables to informal waste dealers. For poor families, housekeepers are replaced by women and children. For this, women and children will be targeted. For women, there is a gathering organised for women at village level known as “Akagoroba k’ababyeyi”, which can be translated as a “Night appointment for parents” through which various household’s problems are discussed. This platform will be used to discuss waste separation issues. For children, special awareness campaigns will be organised for selected primary and secondary schools per district. Group discussions will be organized followed by competitions organized for these schools.

To cope with my limited financial capacities, I will discuss with the Kigali City council to organize campaigns using existing entertainment initiatives of celebrities. This approach is also used by the city council for other purposes. I am also contacting two local celebrities in music (Knowless Butera and King James) and are the most liked in Rwanda. We have annual competition of celebrities in music which is financed by a Brewery factory (Bralirwa) and branded as "Primus Guma Guma". Ten selected celebrities make tours in all districts of the country playing live music to a big crowd and with free entrance fee. This gives chance to all people regardless their income levels to participate which is an advantage for the project.

Besides, many Rwandans, especially youth like football. We have different local foot clubs and each district have at least one football club. At least every three months we have a starting competition and each club makes a tour in different districts. For each match more than 5000 people gather in a stadium. I am now planning to contact Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) to sign an agreement to pass the message on waste source separation on the day of the match.

Likewise, there is an emerging cycling competition which is organized twice a year. Cyclists make tour all over the country accompanied by a journalist from district to another and people gather on different transition sites. I am also planning to contact the national cycling federation to sign an agreement to pass the message at every transit site using their accompanying journalist. The other channels including, but not limited to, TV talks, radio spots and drama such as Urunana (listened twice a week on the national radio) and the annual civic sessions for young graduates which is organized by the Government of Rwanda organizes which aims to enhance Rwandan values in youth. These sessions will also be used by including massages on waste management in their curricula emphasizing on waste source separation. 

Collection companies: Collection companies are gathered in forum. Through this forum, both know-how skills for waste separation, legal framework and sanitation marketing skills will be provided to them associated with operational route planning and other planning and management skills to ensure recycling and waste market sustainability.

Local authority: waste separation and recycling functionality and sustainability require strong governance and clear institutions. For this, basic know-how practices and contract management  for waste management will compose the content of needed capacities for local authorities.

3. Policy advocacy

Currently, in Rwanda there is no specific policy on waste recycling. Waste recycling is made by informal actors attracted by economic incentives. Informal waste recycling actors, known as “scrap dealers” pick waste at disposal sites and alongside collection chain and sell it to Ugandan waste dealers informally (Nishimwe P., 2016). This informal status of waste recycling increases risk investment in waste recycling business and hence, resulting in low performance in recycling and into big amount of waste ending into dumpsite. Furthermore, the Kigali City Council does not provide amenities allowing waste separation and companies mix waste during collection. For this, there is need to make new and amend existing policies to facilitate the running of RBPs in villages.

I cannot do the above activities alone. However, my role will be limited to raising awareness of the key actors at central and policy level to ensure an enabling environment for waste businesses. To achieve this, I'm now contacting following key public institutions to do advocacy on my behalf:

  • Rwanda Environment Management Authority – because waste is among key pressures to the environment in urban climate and this project is a strong mitigation measure to GHG emissions from waste to dumpsites);
  • Ministry of Infrastructure – Because waste management is ruled by sanitation policy and this policy is developed by this ministry. Moreover, all waste management infrastructures are developed suing the budget of this ministry. Hence, this project will save the budget of this ministry by extending the life time of the dumpsites by reducing waste ending into dumpsite);
  • Rwanda Utility Regulatory Agency (RURA) – because it is the entity with the mandate to license waste collection companies and control their behavior. Companies also pay 1% of their turn over every year which is among their main sources of income to cover operations cost. RURA has then interest to help companies make benefit to be able to pay the 1%;
  • Private Sector Federation (PSF), particularly the chamber of Sanitation business – because PSF is the umbrella of business entities and one of its key responsibilities is to make advocacy of its members on different issues including tax issues. therefore, it has interest to advocate tax exemption for their sanitation members if the tax is an issue to grow the business); and
  • The Kigali City Council – because the communal dumpsite is management by the city council on daily basis and it is accountable for any hazard linked to the management of waste to dumpsites. The city council has interest to support any initiative that can save their budget and efforts allocated to waste to dumpsites. Besides, Kigali city is recording rapid urbanization and related population growth on a small rocked hilly land. Hence, the city has interest in using wisely the land dedicate to dumpsites. And one way to achieve it is to reduce waste ending in dumpsites by optimizing recycling which is possible if waste is sorted at source.
  • The committee of of the forum of waste collection companies – to help them in understanding their problems including tax issues and they have committed to raise the issues to RURA and the City of Kigali.

The following policy, regulation and institutional related improvements will be advocated:

  1. New policies and other institutions:
  • Development of waste recycling policy, internalization of waste separation and recycling into waste collection institutions (regulations, guidelines, strategies, etc.)
  • Urban policies and/or plans allowing installation of waste separation and recycling amenities.
  • New Scrap market regulations (prices, licenses…) and implementation and enforcement of recycling regulations in place

2. Changes in Economic incentives: Two Economic incentives to invest in waste recycling:

  • Tax policies

It has been evidenced that composts from waste and other recycled products are expensive than imported products. This is due to local tax on product and on imported raw materials. This project recommends to advocate tax exemption on recycled products to allow recycled products to compete with imported products. This is possible as now Rwanda has initiated a policy incentive referred as “Made in Rwanda” aiming to promote all products made in Rwanda. This is applied to other products than waste products. There is only need to advocate the economic and environmental benefits of tax exemption on recycled products as a competitive tool to promote recycled products through a “Made in Rwanda” Brand and tool to attract local and regional competent investors in waste business.

It has also been evidenced that expensive household-based waste separation and storage materials (bags, bins and containers) are among the main challenges to waste source separation. All these materials are imported and subject to import tax. To ensure affordability, the project recommend advocacy on the exemption of Tax on imported waste materials. One inspiring policy incentives in waste sector is the current tax exemption applied to all imported waste collection vehicles which is now leading to the improvement of waste collection where compactor trucks and other professional trucks are being imported.

  1. Market assurance to recycled products

Different strategies can be used to ensure the market of recycled products but two of them are the most feasible for in Rwanda:

  • Adoption of “Made in Rwanda” policy associated with Tax exemption on recycled products as discussed in previous sections
  • Changes in fertilizers use policy promoting the use of compost

As discussed above more than 70% disposed waste is organic and more than 80% of Rwanda population relies on agriculture. Since one decade ago the government of Rwanda has initiated the use of mineral fertilizers to upgrade the crop. This has many consequences including mainly eutrophication effects for wetlands and local water bodies (lakes and rivers) and land quality degradation. The ministry of agriculture as the main implementing ministry of this policy needs to adopt a policy or strategy that combine the increase of the crop without compromising environmental aspects. Therefore, the use of mineral fertilizers associated with compost will not only increase the crop but also will contribute to soil amendment and reduce or prevent eutrophication effect from fertilizers.

  1. Evolution of behavioural norms – “Waste as wealth” behavioral norm which will increase the willingness of households to separate waste motivated by income from sorted waste.

Who will take these actions?

The project activities will be implemnted by three main actors: project initiator (Pius), public sector (central and local government levels) and collection companies) and few secondary resources will be needed including, but not limited to schools and collection companies:

1. Project initiator (Pius):

  • RBPs model development and management - RBPs will be installed by collection companies assisted by Kigali City Council and facilitated by RBPs model initiator (Pius). One collection company (COPED) has accepted to collaborate to install the 10 RBPs at the pilot phase.
  • Mobilize and contacting potential stakeholders for advocacy, campaigns and missing capacities
  • Develop necessary capacities and awareness campaigns jointly with discussed potential stakeholders
  • Being part of the training team

2. Public sector:

  • Central level: Policy Advocacy
  • Local level (from district to village levels): In Rwanda, every last Saturday of the month there is a common community work. All population of the village gather and the village representative proclaims urgent announcements from the local government. The latter will be negotiated to include waste separation issues to their agenda. For each sector and district, there is weekly management meeting. Waste collection being part of the agenda of these meeting, we will negotiate to participate and include waste source separation to the agenda's activities. 

3. Schools

  • Avail students 
  • Provide rooms and other didactic materials such as waste materials in place
  • joint facilitation of student competions

4. Collection companies

  • Allow project initiator to interact with households in their zone
  • Share their waste source separation experience
  • accept to implement RBPs in their service zone (one already accepted)

5. Media agents

Dissemination public awareness messages to a big range of the population on TVs, radios spots, drama, etc.

Sports federations and celebrities

Accept to join waste campaigns and allow me to pass waste messages during the matches and public shows.


Where will these actions be taken?

The project is considered as a pilot and educative project. For this, it is located and targets developing country cities using Kigali, Rwandan capital city, as a case study. The choice of Kigali to represent Rwanda is mainly explained by its highest share of the urban population of the country and to the fact that lifestyle of Kigali is similar to many other cities in Africa. As discussed above the Rwandan urban population has increased from 1,372,604 to 1,732,175 for 2002 and 2015, and Kigali in particular, from 603,049 to 1,132,686, respectively. From this, it is evident that Kigali contribution Rwanda urban population is more than 65%. This means that the generation of solid waste and waste ending into dumpsite is higher than the total waste generated in other cities. Based on the fact that the lifestyle of Kigali is similar to many other cities in developing countries, and particularly East African country member cities and the fact that many developing country cities are facing the same problem as far as waste source separation and recycling is concerned, the outcome of RBPs implementation may reflect the reality of other cities. This means that the model can also serve other cities to cut emissions from waste to SWDS with a minor adjustment to accommodate the city’s particularities.

In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

Current emissions from waste to disposal sites is estimated to 186.99 Gg CO2eq with an increased rate of 3.12% per year. With business as usual scenario, emissions from waste to SWDS will increase from 186.99 Gg CO2eq in 2015 to 345.68 Gg CO2eq in 2035. With the initiation of RBPs, waste to dumpsite will be cut by 40% in 2025 and by 95% in 2035 and GHG emissions by 30% in 2025 and more than 90% in 2035. There is a gap between the reduction of waste to SWDS and corresponding GHG emissions as composting practices also generate GHG emissions. With the optimisation of composting activities associated with capacity development, emissions reduction ranges will be upgraded continuously. Moreover, the period from 2017 to 2027 will face the resistance from some stakeholders to adhere the system and many activities (advocacy, public awareness and capacity development and business model validation process by calibrating various parameters) will be performed simultaneously.

What are other key benefits?

  • Wise land use for dumpsites

Since 2012 a new open dumpsite was in Kigali. The land where the closed dump site was located is now useless. Only after 5 years, a new dumpsite is full. This means that each every 5 years a new land for dumpsite is needed while Kigali is extending on a small land with the urbanisation rate of 3%. Therefore, the installation of RBPs will reduce waste ending into dumpsite and extend the lifetime of the dumpsite.

  • Mitigation of water and soil pollution from waste to Solid Waste Disposal Sites
  • Job creation to urban poor community particularly youth and women
  • Improvement of health and safety of scavengers at disposal sites and reduction of street children alongside collection as a consequence of strong regulation of waste recycling.
  • Financial viability for companies as urban poor community will gain income from waste to pay collection fee


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

For the summary of the project budget please refer to this link.

For the implementation of the project no negative externality was identified. Nonetheless , it would be expected that the cleanliness of the city of Kigali may be hampered if RBPs are not well managed. But this will not happen as waste collection companies will be in charge to manage them and they have proven management ability as during collection practices companies use collection sites due to limited accessibility of some households and there is no harm related to this practice.




In short term, the proposed activities are phased in four phases as follow:

  • The first phase of five years is considered as the pilot phase where the first five years will focus on public awareness and capacity development and policy advocacy activities associated with the installation of 10 pilot RBPs in 10 selected villages.
  • The second phase is composed of the two years of running the installed pilot RBPs and evaluation of the impact of public awareness and capacity development initiatives.
  • The third phase will focus on potential policy reformulation and institutionalizaation of the RBPs model in current climate change mitigation measures and environmental institutions.
  • The last phase will deal with the evaluation of its effectiveness in reducing GHG emissions from the waste sector and replication of RBPs model to other areas of Kigali if effective . This phase of remaining 8 years will be focusing on business model replication to other villages of Kigali where the project plans to install RBPs in more than 90% of villages of Kigali.

In medium and long term, the proposed activities will be phased as follow:

  • The first phase will be further advocacy of RBPs to be part of government’s priorities to be financed by normal budget. At this phase, the city council budget will be used to install new RBPs facilities and the latter will be part of NAMA’s strategies to mitigate climate change.
  • The second phase will be the continuous replication of RBPs in other cities of Rwanda associated with enforcement of RBPs in the urban governance structures.
  • The fourth phase is the introduction of waste management, particularly RBPs model and climate change in Rwandan education curriculum to ensure sustainability of RBPs model.
  • The last phase will be the replication of RBPs in other developing countries starting from regional countries as a country business model to foster waste GHG emissions-free cities.

About the author(s)

The author holds a Master of Environmental science obtained from UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education located in Delft, The Netherlands (2016). Since 2012, the author has been involved in solid waste management sector from service provision to enabling environment development. The following are the major achievements for

  • As member of Health, safety and Environmental Technical Committee of Rwanda Standard Bureau since 2012, I have contributed to the development of various water, environmental and sanitation standards including health care and other hazardous waste management and solid waste handling, collection, transportation and treatment, and e-waste management.
  • In collaboration with GIZ, Private Sector Federation (PSF) and COPED Ltd, I have initiated and managed a sanitation capacity development program banded as “Green School Program”.   
  • I headed the study done on solid waste management that has informed the development of SWM strategic plan for Kigali in 2012.
  • In 2012, I have participated in the process of setting user charges that are used in Kigali sectors to pay waste collection services.
  • In 2013, I have represented Rwanda and made a country profile in solid waste management in the workshop organized by UNIDO on solid waste and PCBs management that took place in South Africa, Durban.
  • Since 2014, I co-developed and implemented “Smart Village Program” a program aiming to improve user charges recovery and waste source separation by customizing waste bags to local conditions.
  • In 2016, I have facilitated the partnership between COPED, Ruhango, Kamonyi and Nyanza districts to operationalize their constructed landfills
  • From September 2016 to present, I have been selected by Rwanda Environment Management Authority to be part of the team of National experts to make GHG Inventory, mitigation and adaptation measures for  Waste  sectors. 
  • From April 2017 to present, I work sanitation specialist for a USAID Funded Rwanda Rural Sanitation Project - Isuku Iwacu


Related Proposals

1. Sinba: Transforming organic waste into regenerative agriculture

Both Sinba and RBPs model propose capacity development about waste source separation as a cornerstone to optimise composting. The difference is that RBPs main objective is to stimulate the willingness of households to separate waste playing the role of auto-financing (waste market) and waste education platform while the main target for Sinba is the transformation of organic waste.RBPs

2. RBPs business model is also strongly similar to the GHG Rescue Project.

Both RBPs and GHG Rescue project use market-incentives as tool to reduce waste to dumpsite but with different purposes. The main target of GHG Rescue project is to get recyclables functioning as a pure market while RBPs model put emphasis on source separation playing not as a normal market but as an educative platform to foster source separation which is key to promoting composting at disposal and recuperate recyclables before disposal.


Kassim S .M. (2006). Sustainability of Private Sector in Solid Waste Collection – A Case of Dar es Salaam Tanzania Ph.D. Thesis, Loughborough University UK, 2006

Nishimwe P. (2016) Privatization of solid waste collection services as tool to sustainable waste management in developing country cities. Lessons from the case of Kigali, Rwanda Capital City. MSC Thesis. UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Netherlands, Delft.

NISR, 2014. Rwanda 4th Population and Housing Census, 2012

Oduro-Kwarteng S. (2011) Private Sector Involvement in Solid Waste Collection: Performance, Capacity and Regulation in Five Cities in Ghana. Ph.D. Thesis, Erasmus University, Rotterdam

REMA, 2016: Rwanda Third National Communication for Climate Change (Draft)

Elisée Gashugi and Pius Nishimwe, (April 2017). The report on the trends of GHG emissions from waste sector in Rwanda, Rwanda Environmental Management Authority.

Pius Nishimwe (2016). Solid waste characterization and quantification in Kigali. Case of Nyarugenge District. Study done in collaboration with COPED Group, a waste collection company and UNHabitat through Rapid Planning - Rwanda