Combating poverty and building democracy through the co-production of participatory waste management services. The case of Kisumu, Kenya

This project aims at explaining the challenges and potential solutions for the co-production of participatory waste management services in informal settlements, based on the case-study of the city of Kisumu, Kenya. In informal settlements, poorly connected to municipal services, waste pickers often collect household solid waste and thus contribute to improve residents' health, eradicate poverty, and reduce cities’ environmental footprint. Yet, they are one of the most disempowered and impoverished segments of society. Many waste management programs have been launched to improve these serious solid waste predicaments, but both in policy and research there is an increasing concern with the ‘knowing-doing’ gap that exists between policy goals and how they are achieved in practice. The research questions are: how are municipal waste management programs translated into practice in informal settlements? What are the difficulties encountered in the co-production of participatory waste management services? How can such difficulties be overcome, via e.g. public-private partnerships? The questions are answered through a) a case-study based on the city of Kisumu b) interactive workshops with waste actors, and c) scholarly seminars to discuss and contextualize the findings. A relational understanding of organizing and space, influenced by Action-Net and Actor-Network Theory is the theoretical starting-point.


Jaan-Henrik Kain (contact)

Biträdande professor at Architecture, Urban Design and Planning


Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science & Technology

Bondo, Kenya

University of Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden


Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy

Funding years 2014–2015

Related Areas of Advance and Infrastructure

Building Futures

Area of Advance

Sustainable Development

Chalmers Driving Force

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