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Community clean-up – Manispaa Jamii Vikokotoni

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What is the issue?

The community of Vikokotoni is located in Stone Town, between the Darajani daladala stand and Michenzani, and is characterised by dense housing, small, locally-owned shops and stalls, and narrow streets. Like many other communities in Zanzibar, Vikokotoni had no house-to-house municipal solid waste collection. As a result, waste was traditionally thrown on the ground or burned. Waterways became blocked with solid waste, causing the streets to flood with contaminated water. The polluted environment was unhealthy for citizens, and unattractive to tourists who avoided the area.

What is the solution?

In August 2012 the Vikokotoni community formed the NGO Manispaa Jamii Vikokotoni (MJV) (Vikokotoni Environment Society) to promote environmental awareness and clean-up activities. Since that time, members of this highly-motivated group have engaged in daily clean-ups of the streets and waterways. They are also separating out recyclable materials and levelling the dirt streets to ensure that those with limited mobility can walk through the neighbourhood unimpeded. MJV want to reduce pollution and promote sustainable waste management to create a clean environment for healthy living.

MJV has cleared a drainage channel that was completely clogged with waste and debris. More and more garbage collected there, causing dirty water to flood nearby streets. Now it is clean, and by picking up trash daily, it is no longer clogged. Meanwhile, banana trees have been planted, and a gate will soon be built, allowing nearby stall-holders to store their booths safely overnight for a small charge.

How do we help?

Sustainable East Africa helps by:

  • Developing environmental education materials so that NGO members can learn more about the negative effects of pollution and effective waste management techniques like recycling and composting.
  • Finding sustainable micro-business opportunities for community members. For example:
    • Providing drain cleaning tools which members could use to run a sideline drain-cleaning business.
    • Tourist excursions through Vikokotoni in collaboration with the Kawa Training Centre.
    • Bio-briquette manufacture from waste materials such as paper and charcoal dust.
    • Training women to make jewellery from waste paper and cans.
  • Raising awareness of the Vikokotoni project nationally and internationally.
  • Assisting in building dustbins from plastic water bottles.
  • Designing and successfully raising funds for mobile recycling trolleys enabling Vikokotoni to establish Stone Town’s first recycling centre.
  • Providing support, oversight, guidance and mentorship to overseas volunteers participating in these activities


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