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How human waste is sustaining livelihoods in Africa

Umamah Bakharia |

2 min read
8 December 2022 | 14:30 CAT

In many African countries, human and organic waste is used to sustain food security, and as a result, it creates jobs.


Photo credit: Afrik 21


This is cited from researchers from Switzerland who are working with partners in these countries to create circular economies that use processed organic waste and human excrement as fertiliser or animal feed.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, Johnson Six, a professor in sustainable Agroecosystems at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, says this is done through ways that turn the waste into fertiliser.

“[It is mainly turned into] compost or organic animal feed, and that can then be returned to the land or to the animals and be sold as a product and, in that sense, make a profit,” says Six.

He adds that the production of waste compost can contribute to agriculture by improving soil health.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 779 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa lack essential sanitation services.

“We are realising now that this waste can also be recycled into useful products and they can be returned to the land,” says Six.

He warns that proper process and equipment is required to turn waste into fertiliser to prevent crops from dying or animals from getting sick.

Listen to the full interview here: 


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