In a bid to control improper disposal of fecal waste matter in Ghana and later on carry out pilot surveys in Kenya, the Waste Enterprisers have taken up an initiative to offer a solution that combines engineering, environmental innovation and community development.
Founded three years ago by Ashley Murray as part of her Doctoral research in sanitation engineering, it began working on its Green Heat project last year 2012. This came after Murray receiving a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in which she compiled her results and created the Waste Enterprisers.
Yet, each day, some 85 per cent of the human waste generated on earth goes untreated into the environment due to failed sanitation systems, say studies. This has lead to a high number of people suffering from diarrheal diseases associated with poor sanitation and water quality. Over 2 million people, mostly children under five, die from these diseases each year. Thus, Waste Enterprisers has chosen its mission to end the sanitation crisis and its environmental and public health consequences.
The organization’s birth was rooted in a strong research relationship with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi and still maintains partnership on certain projects with the university. According to Waste Enterprisers, although the idea of working with waste materials is not new, it is still under explored across the continent of Africa.
Waste Enterprisers has partnered with some organizations in Ghana creating wealth from the abundant waste materials constituting a nightmare to the Ghanaian health and environmental landscape. According to Akua Nkruma, a representative, Waste Enterprisers is addressing an ideological shift away from regarding waste as nothing more than waste, noting that their initiative done in other parts of the world is unique.
By using human waste as the primary feed-stock for other products, the organization harnesses its resource value, restructuring the financial incentives that have failed human waste collection, treatment, and disposal in developing countries, they say.
According to the organization, its waste-based businesses create a demand for waste that unlocks profitable alternatives to haphazard dumping. The funds are then reinvested into the sanitation sector to extend services to poor communities.
For instance, it currently employs Ghanaians and other nationalities onto its staff in order to maintain the diversity of experience and expertise required to successfully actualize the goals of the organization. In addition, Akua Nkrumah, an engineer in the organization considers this an advantage and regards herself as the bridge between Ghanaians and Americans, being half Ghanaian and half American.
Moreover, the organization also it provides a new dimension to waste management of fecal matter in Ghana by diverting waste trucks from improper dump sites to the designated collection sites belonging to Waste Enterprisers.
Because the enterprise recognizes the importance of trucks that collect waste matter from door-to-door and communities, it works to ensure that it bridges the gap that exists between these collection agencies and the prospects of proper disposal. Moreover, Waste Enterprisers takes it further by providing fuel, which they deem more economically viable than manure.
In all, emphasizing that this process is continuous as the organization thrives on research as a fundamental component of its operations, the organization describes its mission as creating a revolution that will fuel the reuse of waste while eradicate disease in Africa.