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Mak Seeks 10 Hectares of Land to Establish Livestock Cafes in Napak District

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By Jane Anyango

Makerere University Researchers under the Drylands Transform Project are engaging communities and local government in Karamoja sub-region to establish livestock Cafes.

This was revealed during the inception workshop held in Napak District on 22nd October 2021. The research team met with Local Government Technical and Administrative units seeking permission and support to implement the project in the area and also offer land for demonstration sites that will be handed over to the districts after the five-year project period for sustainability.

Napak and Moroto District Sub-County and Parish Technical and Political teams and members of the Research Team pose for a group photograph after an inception meeting in Poron Sub-County.
Napak and Moroto District Sub-County and Parish Technical and Political teams and members of the Research Team pose for a group photograph after an inception meeting in Poron Sub-County.

Livestock cafes will be the experimental sites to study forage productivity, establish novel co-learning and knowledge exchange centers and create opportunities for milk and fodder value chains.

During the deliberations, the district officials expressed concern over low animal productivity mainly caused by ticks, requesting the research team to attach the tick control demo on the livestock cafes. The university team agreed to consider including a spray race to demonstrate the benefits of tick control to pastoralists for improved animal health and productivity.

A herd of cattle near Moroto town. The Drylands Transform project intends to set up a livestock cafe and a tick control demo to improve animal health and productivity in the Karamoja sub-region.
A herd of cattle near Moroto town. The Drylands Transform project intends to set up a livestock cafe and a tick control demo to improve animal health and productivity in the Karamoja sub-region.

Speaking during the inception workshop at Napak district Farmers Hall, Makerere University Principal Investigator Prof. Denis Mpairwe from the Department of Agricultural Production said the livestock cafes will engage with local communities to test novel land restoration and management options in grazing areas for enhanced forage, food and income.

These experimental plots according to the PI are managed for forage production and can be utilized for controlled grazing by local communities.

“At the livestock cafes, the project will pilot value chain improvement activities towards value addition. Groups of local women, men and youth will be trained and familiarized with livestock products like milk, and their value chains. This will prepare them to take over the operations by the end of the project”, the Principal Investigator said.

A boy tends a herd of cattle. The Drylands Transform intends to teach pastoralists how restore  the heavily degraded rangelands.
A boy tends a herd of cattle. The Drylands Transform intends to teach pastoralists how restore the heavily degraded rangelands.

Prof. Mpairwe added that the geographical focus of the Drylands Transform will be the Karamoja cluster, in the cross-boundary area between Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.

The field studies according to Prof. Mpairwe will take place in four sites providing variation in livelihood strategies, land management and climate. The sites include; Chepareria (Kenya) and Matany (Uganda) in the south dominated by agro-pastoralist communities as well as Lokiriama-Lorengippi (Kenya) and Rupa (Uganda) in the north dominated by pastoralists.

A degraded rangeland in Napak District. The Drylands Transform project will teach communities how to restore the vegetation.
A degraded rangeland in Napak District. The Drylands Transform project will teach communities how to restore the vegetation.

The District Speaker Mr. Angillu J Bosco welcomed the project to Napak, assuring the researchers of security to enable them carry out the activities. Angillu also assured the research team of the availability and readiness of the local people to give land and work with the project.

“We are welcoming you to work and I want to assure you that the team you are seeing here is a  very  vibrant team, I trust them, they can do the work a PhD or masters person can do but nevertheless they need to work with you, they need your guidance and will be consulting you.

Expanses of panicum grass growing in Napak District. The project will teach pastoralists how to make  hay for sale, preserve fodder for animals in the dry season and avoid bush burning which has adverse effects on the soil.
Expanses of panicum grass growing in Napak District. The project will teach pastoralists how to make hay for sale, preserve fodder for animals in the dry season and avoid bush burning which has adverse effects on the soil.

For us in Napak we like giving land and we can give you to use as many acres as you can and one thing I have learnt from this project is that the more land you have the more activities you undertake there. As a district we shall discuss to allocate you the land you need”, Mr. Angillu assured.

He told the communities that the research team had not come to take their land but utilize it for their own benefit and hand it back to them at the conclusion of the project.

The LCV chairperson represented by Mr. Louch Andrew the District Secretary for Works described the Drylands Transform project as a good one for the Karamojong community.

Animals at a watering hole in Napak District. The project intends to improve on watering points so as to boost livestock health and productivity.
Animals at a watering hole in Napak District. The project intends to improve on watering points so as to boost livestock health and productivity.

He welcomed the idea of setting up tick control demonstration sites in Matany Sub-County saying, this will boost animal health and livestock production in general.

“This project has come to improve the livelihoods of the Karamojongs on cereal and animal industry. Our animals in Karamoja are suffering from tick-borne diseases which I know that this project is going to handle by introducing a spray race for animals to clean the animals and this has not been our way of living in Karamoja and the animals are not doing very well”, Mr. Louch said.

An empty enclosed kraal in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region.
An empty enclosed kraal in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region.

Mr. Luoch also welcomed the idea of establishing the livestock cafes as a brilliant one that will help diversify the incomes and improve on nutrition of the communities.

 “Napak produces cereals like sunflower, green gram that have become commercial crops for oil production in Uganda.  We ask the project to assist us to add value to these crops and package them for better marketing. We want something commercial not subsistence” added the District Secretary.

He pledged the District’s commitment to support the project activities imploring the research team to involve the local people to do the work so that they get the skills.

One of the indigenous species of grass that the Drylands Transform project intends to preserve and use to make hay.
One of the indigenous species of grass that the Drylands Transform project intends to preserve and use to make hay.

Napak District Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) represented by the Principal Assistant Secretary Mr. Koryang Timothy said, it was a blessing that Napak was selected as the project site for the demonstrations.

He said the Dryland Transform project was going to build on what other partners had been doing to transform the livestock sector within the Karamoja cluster.

The CAO observed that implementing a livestock project for agro-pastoralist and pastoralist communities will spillover benefits that will be shared by other communities.

A sunflower garden in Poron Sub-County. Drylands Transform wants to set up demo site to show farmers how to add value to their crops and increase household income.
A sunflower garden in Poron Sub-County. Drylands Transform wants to set up demo site to show farmers how to add value to their crops and increase household income.

“Animal products are a perfect source of nutrition from ghee, milk and meat. So in totality when you talk about a project on livestock development, you are at the centre of improving the livelihoods of the agro-pastoralist communities. So these are the kinds of projects I would wish our District leadership continue lobbying for because they are a foundation of the livelihoods of our people”, the CAO said.

He thanked the research team for choosing Napak and Moroto districts as well as   Matany Sub-County to host the project saying, Matany is the heart of Napak whose benefits will spill over to the entire district.

Green gram intercropped with sunflower. The project seeks to improve on the agronomic practices of the agro-pastoralists so as to enhance their livelihoods.
Green gram intercropped with sunflower. The project seeks to improve on the agronomic practices of the agro-pastoralists so as to enhance their livelihoods.

He expressed confidence that the project will progress and go a long way to improve the livestock industry in the District as well as other aspects of productivity such as the crop sector because of the linkage between the agro-pastoralists and pure pastoralists.

He said the project can start while other formalities like signing of agreements and integrating the budget in the district planning and budget awaits on grounds that from all indicators, the project will build on the district performance in the livestock sector.

A Shea butter tree in Napak District. This is one of the indigenous species that the Drylands Transform project intends to conserve.
A Shea butter tree in Napak District. This is one of the indigenous species that the Drylands Transform project intends to conserve.

“The project will build on the overall performance of the district in the production section by way of improving the lives of pastoral communities, provision of training for farmers and  livestock spraying because Local Governments are assessed annually by the center”, Mr. Koryang noted.

The CAO also said with the support of the Local Government and Matany Sub-County, they will ensure that the project survives its five-year implementation plan and even beyond.

About Drylands Transform Project

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is leading a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Umea University, Gothenburg University, University of Nairobi, Makerere University, World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to implement the; “Achieving the SDGs in East African drylands: Pathways and challenges towards  a transformation of landscapes, livestock and livelihoods in the East African drylands (Drylands Transform)” project, in the greater Karamoja cluster of Uganda and Kenya.

The Karamoja cluster of drylands covers Western Pokot, Kenya, Turkana region, the South Western and Eastern part of Ethiopia, the South Eastern part of South Sudan and the whole Karamoja region of Uganda.

It is a five year project funded by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development, Formas, within their call for “Realizing the global Sustainable Development Goals”. It aims to address complex challenges in the East African dylands such as climate change, food insecurity, land and ecosystem degradation and weak institutions.

The project investigates the interlinkages between land health, livestock based livelihoods, human wellbeing and land governance mechanisms in order to contribute to transformative change and sustainable development of the social ecological system in the drylands of East Africa.

The overall goal is to contribute knowledge for the implementation and achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while optimizing synergies and minimizing trade-offs between SDGs in the East African drylands by developing transformative pathways through policy and practice.

Jane Anyango is the Principal Communication Officer, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

Agriculture & Environment

CAES Annual Report 2023

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Cover page of the CAES Annual Report 2023. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga
Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga

With utmost delight, I am honoured to present the Annual Report of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) for the year 2023. As we look back on the accomplishments and obstacles of the past year, I extend my deepest appreciation to each and every one of you who contributed to our collective achievements. It has truly been a year of fulfilment and progress. In 2023, CAES proudly celebrated the graduation of 592 students, of whom 48% were female, at the 74th Graduation Ceremony. Among them were 14 PhD, 94 MSc, 5 Post Graduate Diplomas, and 479 BSc graduates across various disciplines in agricultural and environmental sciences. My sincere congratulations to all the graduates and the dedicated staff who supported them throughout their journey.

Reflecting on the commitments made in 2022 for the year 2023, we have made substantial strides. I am pleased to report that our faculty and students successfully adapted to the blended mode of teaching and learning. We remain steadfast in our dedication to a learner-centered, practical-oriented, and gender-responsive approach, with the goal of nurturing skilled, entrepreneurial, and innovative graduates capable of addressing challenges in the Agricultural and Environmental sectors.

Furthermore, we have revised the curriculum for approximately 15 programs, enriching content to include skills relevant to entrepreneurial green economies. This underscores our commitment to fostering innovation within CAES and equipping our graduates with the tools they need to thrive in dynamic professional landscapes.

Moreover, our college continues to advance knowledge, tackle critical challenges, and make a positive impact on society. Notably, the Makerere University Regional Centre of Excellence for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) has been elevated to an “African Host Centre (AHU/C) for training high-quality PhDs in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology.” This initiative aims to address the human resource gap in highly qualified specialists in these fields across Africa, reaffirming our commitment to excellence and leadership in agricultural education and research. For the reporting year, CAES has registered several achievements as highlighted.

Teaching and Learning for improving learner experiences

The introduction and implementation of the CAES-GRADCARE Management System represents a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance graduate management processes within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. This innovative system was meticulously crafted to streamline operations, optimize workflow, and elevate overall efficiency and effectiveness. Its primary objectives include improving supervision mechanisms, reducing lead times, and minimizing costs associated with thesis examination. Moreover, the system empowers stakeholders with invaluable data insights, facilitating informed decision-making across various levels of academic administration.

Research and Innovation for impacting society

In our relentless pursuit of ethical research practices, we are proud to announce the establishment and full operationalization of the CAES Research Ethics Committee/Institutional Review Board (CAES-REC/IRB). This critical initiative underscores our commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and transparency in our research endeavors. Our dedication to innovation is exemplified by the introduction of the MakSol Cooker—a solar-powered marvel poised to revolutionize cooking practices while significantly reducing carbon footprints within households. This transformative solution not only addresses environmental concerns but also promotes sustainable living on a tangible, everyday level. Furthermore, our research efforts have yielded remarkable breakthroughs in agriculture and food security. Through the development of bio-fertilizer formulations, we aim to unlock crop productivity while simultaneously addressing soil nitrogen deficiencies, thereby enhancing household food security and bolstering agricultural sustainability. In tandem with our agricultural innovations, we have successfully bred resilient Mak Soybean, Cowpea and Sorghum varieties, capable of withstanding drought, disease, pests, and climate stress while boasting shortened maturity periods. These advancements provide a vital protein source, particularly in regions prone to agricultural challenges, and enable the production of value-added products, contributing to enhanced food security and resilience, further enhancing the agricultural value chain. In our quest for sustainable agricultural practices, we have developed innovative solutions such as the Soil Test Kit, facilitating simplified soil management by offering rapid semi-quantitative evaluations of essential elements crucial for optimal plant growth. This tool empowers farmers with actionable insights to optimize crop yields and promote sustainable land stewardship. Additionally, our Hybrid Refractance Window Drying equipment represents a game-changer in post-harvest handling, ensuring consistent drying of perishable agricultural produce. By preserving the quality of fruits and vegetables, this technology enhances the value chain, thereby maximizing agricultural productivity and reducing post-harvest losses. Furthermore, our efforts extend beyond crops to encompass livestock management and nutrition. Through the development of protocols for Banana Tissue Culture and value addition to Sweet Potato-Sorghum enterprises, we aim to improve agricultural livelihoods and economic resilience among farming communities. Innovative solutions such as rearing and utilizing blue flies, maggots, and earthworms as alternative protein sources for poultry and fish feeds demonstrate our commitment to sustainable feed production. These efforts not only diversify protein sources but also promote circular economies by utilizing agricultural by-products effectively. Moreover, our research endeavors have yielded transformative solutions to combat malnutrition and poverty. The development of a livestock milk booster, derived from sugarcane industrial waste, addresses nutritional deficiencies while enhancing dairy production, thereby improving livelihoods and food security. Our commitment to research and innovation for societal impact is unwavering. From ground-breaking agricultural technologies to transformative solutions for nutrition and food safety, we remain dedicated to advancing sustainable development and improving livelihoods across communities. Through collaborative efforts and relentless innovation, we strive to create a brighter, more resilient future for all.

Knowledge transfer and Community engagement

This 2023 Annual Report highlights several impactful knowledge sharing initiatives undertaken by CAES: i) NARO-Makerere Third Joint Scientific Conference, ii) Summer School on Landscape Ecology, iii) International Collaboration in Soybean Research, iv) Policy Dialogue on Climate Science, v) Recognition at the 29th Source of the Nile National Agricultural Show, vi) Youth and Innovation Expo 2023, vii) Training Programs for Capacity Building, viii) Capacity Building in Seed and Agronomic Practices, and ix) Soybean Seed Distribution. These initiatives underscore CAES’ commitment to knowledge transfer, community engagement, and sustainable agricultural development, reflecting our dedication to fostering innovation and driving positive change in Uganda and beyond. The accomplishments detailed in this report are a testament to the unwavering dedication and collaborative efforts of our esteemed staff, students, and partners.

Throughout this reporting year, we have witnessed remarkable growth and achievement among our faculty members, with several individuals being promoted and duly recognized for their outstanding contributions.

Looking ahead, we are presented with a multitude of opportunities to further our impact and achieve even greater heights of excellence. As we embark on the next chapter of our journey, we remain steadfast in our commitment to academic excellence, research, innovation, and societal impact. In the coming year, we will continue to focus on strengthening our academic programs, fostering interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaboration, and expanding our innovative research initiatives to address pressing challenges in agriculture, environmental sustainability, and food security. We will also prioritize initiatives aimed at enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our college community, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued. As we navigate the path ahead, I am confident that together, we will overcome any challenges that may arise and continue to make significant contributions to the advancement of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. As Winston Churchill stated, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”.

I invite you to explore the pages of this Annual Report to learn more about our achievements, challenges, and aspirations for the future.

Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga
PRINCIPAL, CAES

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Agriculture & Environment

The Joint ClimSMART-NORHED II CSA Summer School Second Edition 2024 Kicks Off at Mak

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Participants of the joint CSA-ClimSMART Summer School at Makerere University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

By Brian Ogenrwoth

Makerere University, in collaboration with Gulu University, has inaugurated the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School. Funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, the program began with a series of theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024. This year’s event has drawn 23 postgraduate students (MSc and PhDs) from 7 countries studying at 5 African universities namely; Makerere University, Gulu University, University of Zambia, Hawassa University and University of Juba, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). Additionally, 16 scientists and three postdoctoral researchers from the participating institutions have joined the initiative.

CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing the participants. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing the participants.

Prof. Jackline Bonabana, the Principal Investigator of the ClimSMART project and Co-Principal Investigator of the NORHED II CSA project who coordinated the Summer School, emphasized the comprehensive and multifaceted nature of the program. She highlighted that the sessions would cover critical topics in climate-smart agriculture, biochar, climate change, and food security. Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa, the Principal Investigator of the NORHED II CSA project, applauded the collaborative efforts of the Climsmart/NORHED II partners and delivered an engaging presentation on insect pests and their management in the context of climate change.

Prof. Jan Mulder of NMBU delivering a presentation on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Jan Mulder of NMBU delivering a presentation on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof. Vegard Martinsen from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) underscored the vast research opportunities in climate-smart agriculture on the African continent. He noted the region’s unique context and the increasing impact of climate change as pivotal factors for continued need for meaningful research and empirical evidence.

Participants and scientists listening to presentation on site assessment and sampling for agriculture. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants and scientists listening to presentation on site assessment and sampling for agriculture.

Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga, Principal of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) at Makerere University, presented on critical thinking and officially welcomed participants, stressing the urgent need to upscale such collaborative efforts to tackle food insecurity and climate change. She affirmed that such programmes align to the Makerere University agenda and strategic direction.

Participants at MUARIK. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants at MUARIK.

The sessions also featured a variety of expert presentations, including:

  • Food Security in SSA by Prof. Jan Mulder (Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
  • Site Assessment and Sampling for Agriculture by Prof. Lydia Chabala (University of Zambia)
  • Aqua Crop Model for Land Management by Prof. Elijah Phiri (University of Zambia)
  • Understanding Basic Concepts in Soil Fertility by Dr. Patrick Musinguzi and Prof. Twaha Basamba Ali (Makerere University)
  • Weed Management by Dr. Sylvester Katuromunda (Makerere University)
  • Co-Composting Organic Wastes with Biochar by Prof. Fantaw Yimer (Hawassa University)
  • Socio-Economic Topics like personal branding and marketing by Prof. Basil Mugonola and Dr. Walter Odongo, climate resilience governance and management practice by Dr. Patrick Byakagaba (Makerere University), and communication and presentation skills by Mr. Edward Gita (Rural Enterprise Development Solutions). Very insightful presentations were made by the Post Doc and PhD students as well.

The practical sessions, scheduled from May 29th to June 9th, 2024, will include farmer field visits, laboratory sessions, group discussions, data analysis, and presentations at Gulu University.

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Agriculture & Environment

Eco Brixs Seeks to Collaborate with Mak in Plastics Waste Management

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The CEO of Eco Brixs, Mr. Andrew Bownds (2nd R) with the Makerere University team led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd R) after the meeting on 8th May 2024. Rotary Peace Centre, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Poor waste disposal remains one of the biggest challenges in Uganda pausing a number of environmental and health risks. According to the Ministry of Water and Environment, plastic waste is becoming disastrous to urban and rural areas due to poor disposal practices. All store purchases are packaged in polythene bags, and without proper disposal, plastic garbage can be seen everywhere. During the rainy season, they are washed into water channels, where they block drainage. Single-use packaging for soda, water, and other drinks results in mountains of garbage heaping up in legal and illegal dumpsites – The Independent Magazine, 30th May 2022.


As a measure to improve plastics waste management in the country, Eco Brixs has reached out to Makerere University to collaborate in addressing the challenge. On 8th May 2024, the CEO, also Co-Founder of Eco Brixs, Mr. Andrew Bownds held a meeting with Makerere University officials led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in which they brainstormed on different areas for collaboration.

Proposed areas for collaboration

  1. Research, Eco Brixs seeks to collaborate with Makerere University in Product Testing. Eco Brixs is producing new products monthly and requires lab tests to support UNBS certification. The Company also seeks to collaborate with Makerere in Environmental Research. The Company intends to work with PhD students to complete focused research on plastic pollution and the recycling process.
  2. Internships – Eco Brixs has had 50 students complete internships and would love to grow that with Makerere.
  3. Be Makerere Official Recyclers – Eco Brixs seeks to be the recycler of Makerere University. Suggestions were made to jointly source funding to address the challenge and to set up a plastic waste collection centre at Makerere University.

During the meeting, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed the initiative and reiterated the need to include students on projects to ensure sustainability. The meeting was attended by among others the Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga; the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Dr Revocatus Twinomuhangi; and the Manager in charge of Accounts and Reporting at Makerere University, Mr Lubowa Ssebina Gyaviira.

About Eco Brixs

Eco Brixs is a plastic recycling enterprise which uses a sustainable circular economic model to address the challenges of plastic waste and high unemployment levels in Uganda. Eco Brixs collects, recycles, and processes plastic waste into Eco Products for a ready market. Addressing plastic pollution and lifting people out of abject poverty through sustainable employment is one of the core roles of Eco Brixs. Operating since 2017, Eco Brixs has a plastic waste collection network that has seen 3,000 people delivering plastic into one of the enterprise’s 44 Buy-Back centres and engaging in earning through the recycling economy. Eco Brixs model is replicable and scalable to achieve its vision of being the Biggest Recycler in East Africa with franchises across the developing world. Eco Brixs is focused on driving green job creation through sustainable conservation.

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