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Copyright Michael Funcke-Bartz

Project Fact Sheet

Title: Community Waste Management in Kumasi
Duration: Spring 2012 – Spring 2013
Region: Ghana / NRW
Sector: Environment

Main actors:

  • City Council of Kumasi
  • Environmental Protection Agency Ghana (EPA)
  • Ghanaian Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi

Funded by: State Chancellery of North Rhine-Westphalia


Ghana’s growing population, the increasing urbanization of the country and its economic growth as well as new patterns of consumption are worsening the inadequate waste management practices. The congested urban areas, as centers of economic development and population growth in Ghana, are particularly affected. Meanwhile, local authorities responsible for the disposal of municipal waste can barely keep up with the complex task of waste management. Overall, there is a lack of management expertise and practical know-how, plus the necessary infrastructure, to adequately dispose of the increasing waste volume, not to mention the new types of waste. Thus, environmental pollution and population health risks are not reduced. Existing collection and storage capacities are insufficient, such that disposal constitutes a chronic problem for the municipalities. Studies done by the Ghanaian Ministry of the Environment indicate that only 40% of the urban population of the country are registered for waste collection services.

The results are unregulated trash dumps and improperly discarded waste. This in turn results in serious environmental damage and significant health risks, especially among the poor. Both the organization and the financing of the collection and disposal of waste cause great difficulties for the competent authorities. There is a lack of qualified personnel, and financial resources are inadequate to ensure comprehensive waste management as well as create a hygienically safe living environment for the population. Another reason for the problematic disposal situation is the low level of education among large sections of the population regarding the dangers posed by unorganized waste disposal, as well as the resulting lack of environmental awareness. Overall, the municipalities lack policies for addressing the urban waste problem, for effective municipal waste management, and for the prevention and recycling of waste.


Using the example of the city of Kumasi, the “Municipal Waste Management in Kumasi” project aimed toward the development of action-oriented strategies and concepts for effective waste management in all Ghanaian municipalities. As a prerequisite, therefore, a common understanding of the problems of the stakeholders must be developed, in order then to be able to strengthen the local structures in the area of waste management, specifically, by combining local skills with the transfer of necessary expertise.

In this way, it was made clear that even with minimal resources, a trend reversal and a significant improvement in municipal waste management can be achieved. In this context, the recycling of waste should also be encouraged and thus contribute to the efficient use of resources. Long term, it was intended to reduce the health risks and environmental damage resulting from inadequate waste management, and thereby sustainably improve the livelihood, especially of the poor and marginalized sections of the population in Ghana.

The project aims to contribute to the One World Strategy of North Rhine-Westphalia and, most notably, ties into the action fields of climate protection, good governance and sound administrative action. The expert knowledge and many years experience of the North Rhine-Westphalian actors in regards to municipal waste management should be profitably availed of and thereby contribute to the networking of North Rhine-Westphalia and Ghana in politics, business, academia and civil society.


The first phase of the project focused on the improvement of municipal waste management in the city of Kumasi in Ghana. In order to set up sustainable change processes, the participation and broad support of relevant stakeholders and decision makers on site were initially ensured within the framework of a project preparation mission. Thus, in addition to the Kumasi city administration, the relevant regional government and state ministries, the national environmental agency, the royal house of the Ashante province, private companies, academic institutions such as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and civil society organizations such as local NGOs, schools and media were all involved in the project.

Following the first phase of the project, a week-long multi-stakeholder dialogue took place involving more than 40 representatives of the stakeholders from the business sector, municipalities, science and research as well as from the traditional tribal structure. Here the most urgent needs of local waste management were analyzed and first priorities for action were identified in order to effectively implement the municipal services of waste management in Kumasi. The broad participation of the various partners and actors on the ground thereby secured the best possible consideration of political, economic and social conditions in the process of finding a solution. Representatives of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funding project “Mega Cities” could also bring important experiences and perspectives from their projects; because, in line with the project, possible solutions and approaches to the essential problems of metropolitan regions have been investigated, while also considering, among other things, the waste sector. The main findings of the multi-stakeholder dialogue were concretized into five workshops and, especially in cooperation with the city administration of Kumasi, were channeled into specific courses of action. In a stakeholder exchange in North Rhine-Westphalia, the results were also deliberated upon with partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, and possible participation of NRW players in the continuing cooperation were discussed.

The findings of the project, in particular, the heightened understanding of the problem of municipal waste management, the pooling of local skills and the development of initial strategic courses of action, have been received as a valuable foundation for in-depth analyses and further activities in the follow-up project “Climate Protection and Resource Conservation for Sustainable Economic Development in Ghana.”

Partners and Stakeholders

  • Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council (ARCC)
  • City of Kumasi
  • Environmental Protection Agency Ghana
  • Ghanaian Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi

Funded by


Implemented by


Partners and Stakeholders

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