Terra Nova Lda : Recycling urban waste and producing natural fertilizer a real way to develop Mozambique

Terra Nova Lda : Recycling urban waste and producing natural fertilizer a real way to develop Mozambique

Organization type: 
for profit
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

I want to prove in practice that composting organic municipal waste is an excellent way to fight against global warming while providing a global solution to major development problems of developing countries. Besides the positive impact on the environment and on urban health, composting 200 tons of waste allows to develop agriculture through the local availability of organic fertilizers (compost), while fighting against the erosion of tropical soils degraded. This project helps fight against unemployment of the unskilled persons (20 now, 300 in 2014), particularly young persons and women. Finally, the hiring of people in need accustomed to frequent landfill permits to reintegrate them into society by respecting work rules and integrating them into the mixed team of Terra Nova.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

MMozambique's second city, Beira's population is booming (600,000 inhabitants). Many unqualified people arrive from the countryside in search of a job. But the alarming rate of unemployment, especially for women, prevents them from finding a stable job or give them a very precarious job (no respect of workers’ rights and safety conditions and half the minimum wage). With a very high rate of AIDS, especially among young people and women and lack of education, there are many single mothers or young couples with several children unable to support themselves . They are attracted by the "wild" collection of waste in horrific safe conditions (no protective equipment, barefoot ...) to find a way to survive and some food to cook. Some do not even have birth certificates! Actually, they are devalued by the rest of the citizens and no one tries to integrate them. These are the people, highly motivated and courageous, that Terra Nova is hiring in priority in his team by making them work with people of different social classes.

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

In the context of our project we give employment to people that lived totally outside of society and accompany them in their personal development: safety equipment (gloves, boots ...), administrative recognition (identity papers), nutrition (lunch supported), social and "friendly" integration within the team (some had no social relationships), better living conditions (support for the rehabilitation of their home, return to school often stopped at the primary level), care of medical expenses... Our company, unlike non-governmental organizations carrying out the pre-collection of waste has the full support of the municipality with whom we work on very well coordination (donated land, tax exemptions, free providing of waste ...). The sustainability of local associations is threatened as dependent on external funding while we expect in the next 2 years to be completely financially independent thanks to sales of compost and carbon credits. We will be able to ensure the recycling of more than half of the city's waste in "real time" and in a sustainable way. Unique project capable of handling large-scale waste at the national level, other municipalities have already contacted us to develop our project in the rest of Mozambique.
Impact: How does it Work

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

SSince 2009, we strengthened the networks in the city of Beira (600,000 inhabitants) that ensure willingness of the Mayor and various local stakeholders to see developing this project. We also developed a technique of composting manually completely adapted to the high rate of unskilled people unemployment observed locally. Now, we recycle nearly 200 tons of waste per month with a team of 30 people, including more than 2 / 3 of unskilled employees, over 80% of people aged under 25 and 1 / 3 women. Our objective for 2014 is to recycle 25.000 tons of waste by employing more than 300 unskilled employees. Furthermore, we have developed actions of recognition, awareness and training by attending various events: Nature Challenge (Netherlands and Mozambique), Carbon Finance Forum (South Africa), International Fair of Industry and Commerce, Environment Fairs, international Conference on the Environment, Education Fair, intervening and organizing training on Urban Waste Management (Mozambique).
About You
Terra Nova Limitada
About You
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About Your Organization
Organization Name

Terra Nova Limitada

Organization Country

, SO

Country where this project is creating social impact

, SO

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

Flore Roura, French development program coordinator (NGOs) and business manager had long wanted to build a local development project that is truly sustainable - that is with positive impact on environment and society while generating profits for its perpetuation. In Antananarivo (Madagascar) she was shocked by the vulnerabilities in the system of waste collection. Her initial formation in agriculture, a strong environmental ethic and an 8-year experience in Africa encouraged her to develop a "local" solution for recycling (composting) waste which would also be able to enhance agricultural development and decrease emissions of greenhouse gas effect. She worked on this concept for nearly a year in Madagascar before starting to test and implement it in Mozambique since beginning of 2009.
Having the determination to change the social situation of the poorest in the long run, she uses a "Integrative" management method valuing each other's strengths and works with the most motivated, whatever their level. Already tangible result: the feeling of belonging to the project of the poorest one’s enables them to regain their honor and gradually live again with dignity !

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

rThis project benefits from the full support of the City of Beira, which takes the form of an agreement established for 10 years with an exclusive free use of waste for Terra Nova and a total exemption from taxes. Production technology and organization of the team already enable to recycle 7 containers of waste 5 days on 7 with a current capacity of recycling of 200 tons per month and more than 1,000 tons of treated recycled since a year. Having just started sales for reasons of administrative regulation of business, we have already sold more than 10 tons of compost and customers encourage us to rapidly expand sales. The use of compost (pre-sales and testing) in agriculture and public gardens has convinced all users, who repurchase the compost in large quantities. At the social level we employ over 30 people including 20 unskilled workers almost all aged under 25 and 9 women. One employee who was homeless will soon enter the house he just built, some are rehabilitating their homes and others have returned to school in evening classes .

How many people have been impacted by your project?


How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

Within 3 years, we hope to recycle more than half of the waste collected by the city of Beira, that is more than 25,000 tons per year. This will allow us to employ over 300 people within 90% of unskilled workers and a third of women.
The production of more than 10,000 tons of compost will be sold in the peri-urban area and nearby towns to develop peri-urban agriculture of Beira and reduce imports of fresh market produce. This should help to promote the diversification of food available, while increasing their quality.
We would also like to develop the recycling of other products, especially plastic, with a process adapted to local conditions. Finally we expect to initiate similar projects (subsidiaries) in other cities of Mozambique.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

- A field too small, the unavailability of waste or bad will from the municipality would stop the project. That's why we chose to have a very strong partnership with the city of Beira, which includes 2.5 hectares of land and free exclusivity of all the waste for a period of 10 years.
- To ensure the sales of compost (crucial for the sustainability of the project), we conducted a marketing survey, we made sure of key customers (including the city of Beira) and take great care to the quality of compost and to the sale strategy.
- Not obtaining carbon credits would be risky but not fatal to our treasury. That's why we work closely with a French association Gevalor specializing in carbon credit project. They helped us find a foundation that is ready to buy us our carbon credits in advance.

Tell us about your partnerships

The main partner is the Municipality of Beira. The current Mayor has been working for years to improve waste management: He has recently received trucks and containers for waste collection. We signed with the City of Beira an agreement that gives us free exclusivity of waste for 10 years, a land of 2.5 hectares and a total exemption of taxes.
The French association Gevalor developed a similar project in Madagascar and shares with us its important experience in composting municipal waste in Africa. They also and above all support us in funding research (investment phase and a buyer of carbon credits) and writing the complex dossier of carbon credits.
We also received a grant from the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) to partially finance the access of our company to carbon credits.

Explain your selections

The total investment and operating costs of early 2009 until April 2011 were supported by Flore Roura and her family. For 2011, we hope that sales of compost and upfront sales of certificates of emission reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (carbon credits) will together cover in large part running costs. Most of the funding from FFEM (French Fund of Global Environment) and part of the new funding promised by the ACAD / UNEP (UN Environment) should cover the remaining expenses and in particular the process of carbon credits . Investments will be made on the basis of obtaining these funds and new ones.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

The increase of our recycling capacity will allow us to increase sales of carbon credits and compost that within 3 years should cover all operating expenses as well as new investments.
A strong partnership with the city, the Provincial Direction of Agriculture and the main farmers, in addition to a team of a minimum of 10 vendors should ensure good sales.
Finally, the recycling of plastics and other waste should allow us to diversify and grow our sales while improving our environmental and social impact.

Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.




Restrictive cultural norms


Need for regulatory/policy support

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

We hire a large workforce (30 people) with the objective of reaching over 300 people within 3 years while the unemployment rate is very important.
We focus on the hiring of the most disadvantaged, often rejected by society (living near the landfill), and women who have great difficulties in finding work.
Many of our employees are people who either had never worked in teams or in company, or who remained unemployed for a long time. Through learning the rules of work and social integration in a mixed team. Teaching these people some rules of social life and a salary allow them to greatly improve their living conditions.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.


Enhanced existing impact through addition of complementary services


Leveraged technology


Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

We want to develop a customer service assistance for the use of the final product (compost) in agriculture and green spaces. Actual agricultural testing will improve recommendations of use and boost sales in rural areas.
We are currently finishing a study on the companies and persons buying waste to see the best opportunities for resale or recycling of other waste such as glass bottles, scrap metal, plastic ... We are beginning to contact potential partners for the recycling of plastics .
Finally, several municipalities in Mozambique have contacted us to compost their waste. We are waiting to have reached a more advanced stage of development (financial profitability), and to get team of managers completely autonomous to initiate new sites of recycling.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, NGOs/Nonprofits.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

Working closely with the city of Beira is success key as our raw material is directly dependent on them. It is also them, as well as the Commercial Association of Beira that help us to develop our professional networks.
Working with the Provincial Directions of Environment and Industry / Commerce has enabled us to do a lot of communication at the national level through the various fairs they organize and to benefit from their experience.
We expect a strong collaboration with the Provincial Direction of Agriculture to boost sales in rural areas.
Finally, our partnership with a French association, Gevalor, allowed us to make funding applications with positive results. They also support us in setting up the dossier carbon credits - sustainable funding for the project (10 years).