Developing a National Roadmap for Organic Waste Valorisation in Uganda: The SOWU Initiative

The SOWU project responds to a request made by the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a UNEP-convened initiative. Building on the expertise gained from a previous initiative in South Africa, the SOWU team is prepared to address the growing challenge of organic waste mismanagement in Uganda by exporting a proven methodology to the Ugandan context.

Organic waste mismanagement is one of the most significant challenges for urban authorities in Uganda. Waste generation exceeds technical and financial capacities, while the country aims to reduce its net GHG emissions by 24.7% below business-as-usual levels by 2030.

The SOWU project aims to devise a national roadmap for the mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and enhance the sustainability of the organic waste sector in Uganda. By developing a national organic waste emissions inventory and conducting a techno-economic analysis of various waste management strategies, the project will identify the most suitable approach to reduce SLCP emissions and explore the bioenergy potential of organic waste. The project team,  comprising researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University, and the African Centre for Clean Air (ACCA), leverages collaborative engagement with national and local stakeholders, such as the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda.

This analysis will draw on the findings from previous initiatives, particularly project 51 of the Waste Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap promoted by the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), called A comprehensive waste management model for promoting effective decision-making and sustained climate change stabilisation for South Africa. The symbiotic application of two models, the Waste to Resource Optimisation and Scenario Evaluation (WROSE) model and the Greenhouse gas – Air pollution Interactions and Synergies (GAINS) model, was instrumental in successfully achieving the project outcomes.

The WROSE model, developed by Prof Cristina Trois, former DSI/NRF SARChI Chair in Waste and Climate Change and current Director of the CRSES at Stellenbosch University ( and the WROSE team (Senior Researchers: Yared Abera, Andrea Dell’Orto, and Sameera Kissoon) was a vital part of the comprehensive waste management project in South Africa. It assessed and forecasted waste generation and composition at the metropolitan level, allowing the team to predict greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for different waste management scenarios. The GAINS model, developed by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna, Austria, further enhanced the understanding of the interactions between GHG emissions and air pollution and helped develop Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACCs).

By integrating the insights from these previous initiatives, the SOWU project aims to provide a thorough understanding of Uganda’s current organic waste management situation and develop strategies to mitigate SLCP emissions. The national SLCP mitigation roadmap for the organic waste sector will include a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) to evaluate existing and potential policy interventions at the national and regional levels.

The overarching goals of the SOWU project are to improve organic waste management in Uganda, enhance the health of the general population, and valorise organic waste by promoting the deployment of bioenergy systems such as anaerobic digestion. By adapting the successful WROSE‑GAINS methodology to the Ugandan context, the project team intends to guide policy- and decision-makers towards implementing more sustainable and effective organic waste management strategies.

The SOWU project is an example of harnessing cross-regional collaboration and transferring expertise and proven models to address similar challenges in different parts of Africa. As the continent struggles to deal with the complexities of waste management amplified by relentless demographic growth and uncontrolled urbanisation, initiatives like SOWU aim to drive positive change and improve the lives of communities across the continent.

Figure 2: Participants in the stakeholder inception workshop hosted in Kampala on 16 April 2024

Read more:

Project Portfolio webpage (CCAC):

SOWU project webpage (LinkedIn):

Waste RDI Project 51 (A comprehensive waste management model for promoting effective decision-making and sustained climate change stabilisation for South Africa):

WROSE model website:

GAINS model website: