#UrbanBetter countdown to #AfricaDay


Africa Day 2021 was the 25th May!​

We celebrated with a daily countdown from 01 May featuring work by individuals, organisations and governments in cities creating healthier, sustainable environments.

Catch up on all 24 featured cities across Africa making the #urbanbetter.

SustyVibes Communitrees. Photo from https://sustyvibes.com/communitrees/

Lagos & Abuja,

SustyVibes Communitrees is a community-based project mobilising young people for tree planting and climate advocacy in Lagos and Abuja.

SustyVibes Communitrees is part of a larger #NigeriaForNature initiative aimed at encouraging climate action in communities across Nigeria.

South Africa

Hustlenomics. Photo from https://www.hustlenomics.co.za/

Hustlenomics is constructing sustainable homes using eco-bricks to help the housing shortage in Soweto.

Using building materials from natural soil & recycled construction waste, Hustlenomics is building sustainable housing with lower carbon footprints and costs.

Yaoundé’s Parcours Vita. Photo from http://sporefo.over-blog.com/2018/07/le-parcour-vita-yaounde.html


Yaoundé’s Parcours Vita provides dedicated freely accessible green public space for outdoor physical activity.

This outdoor green space provides safe spaces for exercise to prevent diseases like obesity, high blood pressure & mental ill health.


Livingstone, Zambia. Photo from https://bigheartsmallpockets.com/2013/05/19/life-in-livingstone-zambia/

The Environmental Conservation and Ecobricking Project is an environmental conservation volunteer movement contributing to sustainable building in Livingstone.

In addition to clean up & awareness action, the project uses old plastic bottles filled with clean garbage to create EcoBricks for building.

Umuganda community projects. Photo from https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulkagame/12695523803


On the last Saturday of every month from 8am to 11am everyone has to participate in Umuganda community projects with social and health benefits.

People all over the country take part in community-building activities like street cleaning , building schools, cutting grass, etc. This shows the importance of hygienic environments while promoting social cohesion.

New Edubiase,

The Sustainable Community Project in Adansi South. Photo from https://web.facebook.com/gayoghana?_rdc=1&_rdr

The Sustainable Community Project in Adansi South is the first community-led circular economy waste management project in Ghana.

They turn organic and agricultural waste into compost for young farmers, plastic waste into durable bags and other domestic items, and agricultural waste into charcoal briquettes.

Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso. Photo from: https://www.cfan.org.uk/campaigns/bobo-dioulasso-burkina-faso

Burkina Faso

Using satellite images and maps, a project found that areas with green infrastructure had lower land surface temperatures compared to other areas in the city.

This study shows that green public spaces can contribute to public health and environmental quality & help urban communities adapt to climate change.


Jinja street lights. Photo from https://theconversation.com/insights-from-uganda-on-why-solar-street-lights-make-sense-114634v

Jinja is using clean energy to light the streets through solar-powered street lights.

A solar street lighting system keeps greenhouse gas emissions lower than grid-powered options that use biomass, peat and fossil fuels.

The “Vivre avec l’eau” (“Live with water”) initiative. Photo from http://www.braced.org/reality-of-resilience/i/?id=3dc7ca27-bc7d-466f-a6af-4dae3bc12abd


The “Vivre avec l’eau” (“Live with water”) initiative is creating infrastructure solutions that help informal settlements adapt to flooding while creating spaces for urban gardening.

This activity has implemented cost-effective infrastructure solutions that can be maintained with local knowledge.

E.g. traffic barriers made from recycled waste to slow traffic, and create urban gardening spaces.

Sierra Leone

Freetown, Sierra Leone.Photo by Random Institute on Unsplash

The “Freetown the Treetown” initiative aims to plant 1 million trees by the end of 2022. This will increase vegetation by 50%, boost biodiversity and slow riverbank erosion.

Another initiative  “Transform Freetown” is using sustainable waste management to improve infrastructure, reduce disease spread and empower youth through waste collection micro-enterprises.

Sanergy's affordable sanitation solutions. Photo from https://www.kbc.co.ke/turning-waste-into-organic-fertiliser/


Sanergy is building affordable sanitation solutions in informal settlements while converting waste into fertilizer and animal feed.

By collecting waste, this project both provides dignified sanitation solutions and converts waste into valuable end-products.


Windhoek, Namibia. Photo from https://www.sei.org/featured/windhoek-climate-change-plan/

Windhoek is co-producing knowledge with community members for urban climate resilience.

This project brings together city decision-makers, community representatives and researchers to co-design science-based climate policies.

Nipe Fagio. Photo from http://www.nipefagio.co.tz/catholic-youth-network-for-environmental-sustainability-in-africa-cynesa-joined-world-cleanup/

Dar es Salaam,

Nipe Fagio , meaning "Give me the broom" in Swahili, empowers civil society to build sustainable futures with a zero-waste model that promotes recycling to tackle waste pollution.

The basic idea is that, if a community cannot reuse, repair, recycle or compost a product, the industry should not make that product in the first place.


Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Photo from https://airlines-airports.com/air-zimbabwe-town-office-in-bulawayo-zimbabwe/

The City of Bulawayo’s Urban Agriculture Policy encourages productive use of land by supporting sustainable practices and promoting financial and educational resources for urban farmers.

It includes urban agriculture zoning, leasing public land to farmers, diversified crop systems education and financial support access for farmers.

Menged Le Sew. Photo from https://www.c40knowledgehub.org/s/article/Cities100-Car-free-days-are-driving-Addis-Ababa-toward-a-cleaner-people-centric-future?language=en_US

Addis Ababa,

Menged Le Sew (Streets for People) is a monthly car-free day that promotes healthy safe active living and ecological sustainability.

Ethiopia’s Open Streets movement shows how cities can put people first and re-purpose for active mobility and community engagement to promote health.


Universidade Agostinho Neto. Photo by https://earthbound.report/2020/05/01/building-of-the-week-universidade-agostinho-neto/

Universidade Agostinho Neto is combining ancient techniques with advanced (geography and physics) science to naturally cool buildings in Luanda.

This integrates human and environmental health, improving thermal comfort and climate action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Cocody Green City. Photo from https://www.designindaba.com/articles/creative-work/rehabilitating-africa

Ivory Coast

The Cocody Green City Initiative is working to create the first West African eco-city, developing programs on sustainable transportation development, climate sensitisation, reforestation and carbon sequestration.

The pilot city plan, centred on green energy fuels and carbon sequestration, is to serve as a business model for action on climate change, unemployment and poverty.


University of Botswana. Photo from https://www.environmental-expert.com/news/botswana-pavers-1017343

The University of Botswana’s recycling project reduces waste by converting used tyres into various profitable useful products in the city.

Recycling reduces tyre burning (a source of air pollution & greenhouse gas emissions) so this project combines a circular economy with climate action while creating new products.

Photo from http://mozcarbon.co.mz/improved-stoves/#


MozCarbon is implementing emission reductions projects in different areas in Maputo.

The projects include the dissemination of clean biomass cookstoves, home solar systems for energy services and forestry projects.


Libreville, Gabon. Photo from https://twitter.com/gabonadventuret

The “Green Thursday” initiative aims to reduce beach pollution and develop environmental awareness in Libreville.

It promotes the concept of sustainable development, sensitising communities to day-to-day environmental conservation actions they can take.


Egypt's Strategy for a Green Economy is centred on economic development that integrates environmental conservation and the notion of ecological scarcity.

The emphasis is on employment generation, poverty reduction, social equity and environmental integrity for a more equitable and resilient society.

Antananarivo, Toliara & Mahajanga,

Photo from https://www.wsup.com/where-we-work/madagascar

The Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) project improves sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation infrastructure in Antananarivo, Mahajanga and Toliara.

WSUP creates innovative, affordable and financially viable water and sanitation services in Antananarivo, Mahajanga and Toliara.

Photo from https://www.afrik21.africa/en/mauritius-smart-city-port-louis-first-african-city-where-lifes-good/

Port Louis,

The Maurice Ile Durable (Mauritius Sustainable Island) Project is developing a framework for sustainable growth with participation of civil society stakeholders.

The vision is for Mauritius to be sustainable with economic growth that respects the limits of natural resources and is done by a population that can access green economy opportunities.

Equatorial Guinea

Bonafide Microbank promotes inclusive sustainable finance by integrating climate and health considerations into the risk assessment of credit applications in Equatorial Guinea.

Their assessment of climate resilience and environmental impacts (e.g. fossil fuels, plastic pollution & tobacco) informs which SMEs they finance. 

Photo from https://www.gambetanews.com/highlights-of-the-achievements-of-the-african-development-bank-since-2015/

The Africa Development Bank’s matrix of policy options for health in a post-Covid-19 Africa recommends a pan-African Marshall Plan for inclusive health that would make health everybody's business.

One of the Marshall Plan policy options is for all Ministers to have a planetary health portfolio that considers the health and ecological impact of policies, and tailor policies towards health and sustainability.

You may also find this interesting:

UrbanBetter is hiring a Programme Coordinator!!

We are seeking a programme coordinator who will be responsible for running operations of the expanding work of the group. The successful person will join a pan-African vibrant and growing de-centralised UrbanBetter team. They will

Cambridge-Africa Alborada funding programme