Driven by passion, Malawian ventures into waste management entrepreneurship for cleaner city


Every Tuesday, Dave Mwenda, 34, hires a car and goes around communities to collect garbage from homes in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial city.

For years, Mwenda has been dreaming of coming up with a system that could do a proper way of managing waste collected from homes, aiming at transforming Blantyre into a cleaner city.

To this end, he first started an initiative by setting up a garbage collection service company in August 2020. He charges each household 7,000 Malawi Kwacha (about 8 U.S. dollars) for service a day. Mwenda’s company is now serving 20 households from different communities in Blantyre.

Though the client base is small, Mwenda is satisfied with the progress.

Apart from providing a cleaner space for people in Blantyre, Mwenda is also creating new jobs for the youth in the city. For now, he has managed to employ two people who help him to do weekly operations.

“For some time now, it has been a challenge for me and my team to do our operations fully because of some limitations that we have been facing from the people in the communities,” he said.

“In most cases, it’s hard for people in the community to subscribe to this service because they are used to dumping waste anyhow in rivers. This is the biggest challenge for me. Despite all this, I have a vision that in the next two years I am going to open my own dumping site where I will be treating the waste for other better purposes.”

“Since we are driven by passion, our main focus now is to ensure that we have enough resources that will enable us to reach as many people as possible in our city. The idea is, we want to come up with our own facility where we will be recycling different materials found in the garbage,” he said.

In a recent publication by WasteAid, an international waste management NGO, Malawi faces a significant challenge in dealing with rising levels of waste, despite producing less waste than wealthier nations.

According to Matthews Malata, an environmental rights activist in Malawi, managing waste from homes and industries is becoming a big environmental concern.
“Apart from coming up with these kinds of solutions to communities, there is a need to educate our communities on how best they can manage waste,” Malata said.

“It is sad that many people are still dumping waste in rivers and on the landscape, therefore there is a need for these up-and-coming entrepreneurs to come up with solutions that will change the mindset first. By doing this, people will become responsible for subscribing to these new private waste collectors who are willing to become a solution to better waste management.” Enditem

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