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Specialist Programme: ‘Resource Recovery – Made in NRW’


Population growth and rising consumption are pushing the waste mountains higher in Africa too. However, the reusable materials hidden inside those mountains are rarely collected up systematically and recycled into something more valuable. It is often members of the informal sector who can be found picking out recyclables from rubbish tips – without consideration for the environment and at great risk to their own health.

Yet if recycling were better organised, it would bring multiple opportunities for Africa: less waste would be sent to landfill, the climate and the environment would be better protected, and – last but not least – collecting and recycling reusable materials could be an attractive source of income.

This is where the ‘Resource Recovery – Made in NRW’ continuing professional development programme comes in. It is designed for experts and managers from public authorities and companies responsible for waste management and the circular economy, and is helping to consolidate the partnership between Ghana, Kenya and the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia in this area.


The project is geared towards sharing practical knowledge with recycling planners from public authorities and companies in Ghana and Kenya. This will enable them to identify and harness the potential for recycling that already exists within their area of responsibility, and thus increase resource efficiency in the waste management industry.

The project is thus helping to promote environmental sustainability and preserve natural resources by extracting secondary raw materials.


The project saw a total of 22 experts and managers from Ghana and Kenya invited to North Rhine-Westphalia for an intensive training course for practitioners. The participating experts’ own line managers also attended for the last of the four weeks in order to increase the chances that the newly acquired knowledge and skills would be put to good use.

The circular economy in practice
The partners were given an introduction to the circular economy in Germany based on real-life examples from municipalities in NRW. Company visits familiarised them with the theoretical and practical elements of the individual steps involved in separating, collecting and recycling waste.

Possibilities for recycling
The participants were shown a wide range of possibilities for recycling – from paper, glass, metal, wood, plastic and other synthetic materials through to the processing of organic waste into compost and biogas and the treatment of e-waste including solar panels. They also visited landfill sites and waste incineration plants.

Own projects
The specialist training provided in NRW gave the participants from Kenya and Ghana the expertise they needed to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of various strategies. They then used this as a basis to come up with project ideas for their countries together with their employers and, acting as multipliers, passed on the knowledge they had gained in Germany to their colleagues back home.

Expert dialogue
The project also initiated a South-South dialogue and learning process that is being supported by a knowledge platform.

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