In 2022, Arua, Uganda, was selected as a grantee of the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees (GCF), the MMC’s instrument to channel international funding directly to cities to implement inclusive projects of their own design.
With support from the GCF, the City of Arua is creating employment opportunities for migrants and refugees in Uganda’s first municipal recycling program while introducing environmentally sustainable practices and curricula in schools, health centers, and other public institutions.
Arua is located in northwestern Uganda, not far from the country’s borders with the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Besides being a destination for refugees from neighboring countries, Arua attracts many rural migrants seeking economic opportunities that have diminished in agricultural areas in recent years due to climate change.
Arua’s waste management system and the environmental awareness of residents have not kept pace with the city’s growth, resulting in a rise in the volume of solid waste. Without practical disposal options, unrecycled waste, especially PET plastics, are clogging drainage ditches and contaminating the environment.
Arua is using the GCF grant to introduce recycling practices to its residents and create employment opportunities for migrants and refugees. The city hired migrants and refugees to lead Environmental Clubs at schools, where over 1,500 students have planted trees across 40 schools and public institutions.
The city is also establishing Uganda’s first municipally-run recycling plant. The city is distributing plastic waste receptacles and many migrants and refugees have mobilized to form plastic collection teams to transport plastic from households to local collection centers. The central recycling plant will share a space with ongoing composting operations and will be powered through new solar panels, purchased through the GCF.
Environmental awareness campaigns to encourage residents to use the plastic waste receptacles and take care of the tree seedlings are ongoing. These efforts will improve social cohesion, economic opportunity, and environmental sustainability in the city.
Sam Wadri Nyakua, the Mayor of Arua, Uganda
This project will address the plastic menace in Arua City while strengthening our efforts to safeguard the welfare of our migrant and displaced residents.
Through its GCF project, Arua hired eight migrants, refugees, and marginalized community members to lead Environmental Clubs in schools across the city. Over 1,500 students from these clubs planted indigenous and climate-adapted tree species at forty schools and public institutions.
Arua City is also in the process of building the country’s first city-led recycling plant on the premises of its existing composting plant. The project will supply solar energy for both recycling and composting operations. These operations are meant to serve at least ten percent of Arua’s households.
Stay tuned for more impact updates at the end of Arua’s GCF grant term!