Another Man's Trash Is Our Treasure: How Lusaka's Waste Problem Can Be Turned Into Opportunity

Another Man's Trash Is Our Treasure: How Lusaka's Waste Problem Can Be Turned Into Opportunity

Lusaka, ZambiaSan Francisco, United States
Organization type: 
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Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Growing mountains of solid waste in Lusaka are a complex problem that impacts many lives.
aimwith is launching a partnership project enabled by our unique funding mechanism to drive sustainable, positive impact for better education, transportation and collaboration capabilities to solve this issue

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Waste management is one of the biggest environmental issues in Africa. With Zambia experiencing record growth and GDP projected at 7.3% by end of 2013, tackling this issue before it impacts more people’s lives is crucial. While there are many ongoing but fragmented efforts by multiple stakeholders to deal with this issue, only 40% of the waste of Lusaka's population of 3 million is collected, also posing serious health and economic risks.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

aimwith is a online social equity marketplace for social and environmental impact. Our market-based approach brings together crowdfunders, impact investors, and philanthropic foundations to fund outcome-based projects carried out by the most innovative social enterprises. aimwith uses the social impact bond model but with one critical difference. Our unique model includes crowdfunders to jointly fund our projects along with impact investors. As a result, creating this multi-party partnerships to address these issues will give working capital and autonomy to Neighbour's Friend to shape their waste management operations to fit the current specific needs of the targeted population of 20,000 to focus on the predefined outcome.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Neighbour’s Friend, a nonprofit created by ambitious local women, is looking to expand their solid waste management operations by buying more equipment and trucks, hiring youth, educating the communities about handling waste and offering their services to more customers. This project will be addressing the root causes we identified: Transportation will require more vehicles so local entrepreneurs can meet demand as subcontractors. A community education and engagement program will be implemented to raise awareness for proper waste disposal, addressing illegal dumping and burning, and the resulting health impact. Capital will be injected to build functional capacity for this but also to incentivize a sustainable, multi-party collaboration.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Instiglio is a nonprofit using social impact bonds. aimwith's model is similar to development impact bonds: OUTCOME-BASED PAYMENT. Foundations can condition payment on outcome,ALIGNING FINANCIAL WITH SOCIAL RETURN.Impact Investors’ financial return is conditioned on the social return tied to powerful evaluation.REWARD INNOVATION IN SOCIAL ENTERPRISES. Investment is tied to outcomes rather than activities, enabling nonprofits to innovate and improve their programs.MULTIPLYING IMPACT, TOGETHER.Crowdfunders can now collectively give loans, matching investor money, mitigating risk in a new market.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name


Organization Country

, CA, San Francisco

Country where this project is creating social impact

, LK, Lusaka

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

My journey started after a personal invitation by Madame Edith Nawakwi, Zambia’s former minister of finance, to visit its’ capital Lusaka to explore a pilot project for my social equity startup, aimwith. During this trip we met with many amazing and courageous people working in the public/private sector, in social enterprises, as experts, and people from the local community. Together we investigated their perspectives on the complex challenge of managing the growing mountains of uncollected waste. We found that no single entity was responsible for leading a solution and no joint effort existed, primarily due to lacking incentives, funding, education and the capability to work on change together. I knew then that aimwith was needed.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?


Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

The recipient of capital will be Neighbour’s Friend, a non-profit incorporated in Lusaka as a company limited by guarantee. This organization was formed to help eradicate abject poverty in Zambia and are working to expand their solid waste management operations by buying more equipment and trucks, and hiring youth, to service a rapidly growing community of 20,000 people. This will in turn create more job opportunities especially for young people, knowing they can "do well by doing good".

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Since our trip, we have established the trust of Lusaka’s Waste Management Association to join our partnership with Neighbour's Friend along with other organizations in the public and private sector. Also, we have verified and documented that Neighbour's Friend is a community-trusted social enterprise that can meet our expectations. To raise awareness, we filmed a documentary to showcase the tremendous opportunity in helping the Zambian community improve the management of waste on Nov. 6th, 2013 on our YouTube channel.
The longer-term capabilities we seek to build will include producing energy from landfills, recycling plastics and turning biodegradable materials into fertilizer or building materials. Because such a multi-party collaborative effort enabled by innovative funding has never been undertake before, we are confident that it will serve as a new, best-practice approach.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

aimwith will conduct a feasibility study to determine shared goals, identify measurable outcomes that will serve as baseline and attract investors to this project by raising $50,000 on indiegogo's crowdfunding platform, on Nov. 13th.The success of the project along with the award will support us greatly in advancing aimwith’s growth goals: Building out our online platform as a social equity marketplace and funding capabilities, attracting the necessary talent to do this, developing strategic partnerships, aligning our projects with the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Lastly, receiving this award would help us to generate significant awareness with a larger crowdfunding community, all in order to help people invest in change, together.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

aimwith will generate revenue through advertisement on our online platform. At the project level, Neighbour's Friend charges a fee to the community for picking up their waste. In the long term, our plan is to help expand to a full scale recycling and energy operation creating more revenue and jobs.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Conducted research on the opportunities for rural micro-entrepreneurs in a low carbon future with the former manager of sustainable development for the World Bank, Konrad von Ritter.
Draper University: Student of Spring Class- an world-class school for young entrepreneurs where I created aimwith with coaching from experts, and pitched to VCs
NGO Observer at COP17: Accredited under Stanford University-17th Conference of Parties is the UNFCCC