Living Lab of West Africa: Citizen actions for an integrated management of heavy rains, floods and household waste in urban areas


Main location: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Environmental areas addressed

Heavy rain events, urban floods, and waste management


Ouagadougou (1° 31′ 05″ W, 12° 21′ 58″ N) is the capital City of Burkina Faso and is located in the Kadiogo province. Since 2009, the city has had 12 districts divided into 55 areas (see Figure 1), with residential areas in both formal and informal settlements. Waste is an important risk for the environment: out of the 600,000 metric tons of waste, only 300,000 metric tons are collected. 

The other 300,000 metric tons remain uncollected, resulting in illegal garbage dumping and block drainage systems, preventing rainwater from draining correctly streams, and causes water stagnation and flash floods.

In the past, wastes, rainwater, and flood management were considered and treated separately. Nowadays, we are witnessing a more complex but interlinked approach to managing these three key components. A better collection, recycling, and repurposing of solid and liquid waste benefit urban peri-urban agriculture (UPA) and green urban spaces (GUS) (Sanfo et al., 2022). In urban areas, besides reducing the quantity of waste in drainage canals to prevent flash flooding, waste recycling also produces clean water and compost as soil nutrients.

The role of the Living Lab of West Africa (LLWA) is to use trans- and inter-disciplinary, participatory, and proactive approaches to better address the heavy rain events, wastes, and urban flash floods in the city of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. These approaches bring together different vital stakeholders to handle the framework’s complexity.

Climate Action Training School in Ouagadougou: Learning Flood Risks Management in an Urban Ecosystem through a Serious Game

Climate Action Training School took place from November 22nd to 23rd, 2023, in the Conference room of the WASCAL Competence Centre, where we used to organize the LLWA workshops.

The Living Lab-West Africa (LLWA) engages stakeholders in participatory mapping of flooding in the Capital city of Ouagadougou

The Living Lab-West Africa has organized a one-day workshop with the objective to carry out a participatory diagnosis of flooding in the city of Ouagadougou. This workshop falls within the framework of the dialogue with stakeholders.

Engaging Ordinary Citizens and Core Research Scientists in the Fight Against Urban Floods

Citizen participation in providing information for impact-based Forecasts and Heavy Rain Advisories is one of the major challenges of the Living Lab West Africa.

The Living Lab experience outside EU

Over the past months, I-CHANGE partners Tel Aviv University - Water Research Center (TAU) and West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) have been developing a fascinating report on the experiences of Living Labs in countries...

Citizen actions for an integrated management approach in urban areas in the capital city of Ouagadougou

Photo 1: Household survey sessionThe Identification of Change Champions The challenge for the Living Lab of West Africa (LLWA) is to find the interlink to managing wastes, rainwater, and floods through a proper detection and appreciation of the causes, impacts, and...

Community Service: the Living Lab of West Africa cleans drainage canals in the city of Ouagadougou

Each year, thousands of households in the city of Ouagadougou are affected by flooding. These recurrent floods are the result of clogged drainage systems in the city. In view of the situation in recent years, the I-CHANGE project, through the West African Living Lab...


In the period from February to March, we have identified focal points in different entities including NGO’s, civil servants, civil society organisations, town halls, etc. The ODK clients recruitments is planned for June and July. Regarding equipment procurement and installations, we have already installed one water level gauge in the main reservoir of the town. We also have at our disposal 04 standlone automatic raingauges and a meteotrakers and air pollution measuring instruments to be installed in four districts of the city of Ouagadougou. In respect to the historical data collection and information gathering, activities related to the mapping of dump sites, water reservoirs and green spaces as well the ODK Clients Protocols have been achieved.

 The survey of dumping sites was carried out from 20 April to 2 June 2022. The main objective was to identify potential dumps in the district of Ouagadougou. Our team made use of the ODK software survey form to geo-locate the different sites. We also have a critical look at whether these sites are formally allocated by the town hall to serve as dumps or are just informal sites. The team used the Jareeb software to estimate the surface area of the identified sites.

 The activity for the identification of potential installation sites of rain gauges was conducted at the same time as the identification of waste sites. With the permission of their respective authorities, four districts of the City of Ouagadougou were identified for the installation. Out of the four districts, three already gave their consent for the installation of the rain gauges. We therefore expect to have the consent of the fourth district in short notice.

How to participate

Participation in our activities can be done, among others, through:

    • Support in the production and use of composts in land-based jobs and land rehabilitation works such as tree nurseries, nutritional gardens (e.g., vegetables & legumes), and land rehabilitation to improve urban green spaces & urban agriculture
    • Community works (cleaning/clearing drainage assets)
    • Training workshop and capacity building on business models in circular economy, estimation of carbon footprint, etc.
    • Science-policy Dialogues and Legal frameworks development around Waste-Water-Energy Nexus in Ouagadougou city

If you are interested to participate, please send an email to one of the contacts below.


As a result of rapid urbanization, waste management, sanitation, and hygiene have become major urban concerns in West Africa. Communities in urban and peri-urban settlements of Burkina Faso face challenges such as crop damages, pollution, diseases (e.g., the spread of malaria, cholera, diarrhea), and associated risks.
Waste generation directly correlates with income growth. The insufficient awareness of the population about the benefits of repurposing organic waste and domestic sewage, combined with the inadequate waste management infrastructure, further worsens the problem of sustainable waste disposal and recycling. A better collection, recycling, and repurposing of solid and liquid waste can benefit urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) and green urban spaces (GUS).
The increasing frequency and intensity of precipitation events during the June-September season mainly contribute to an increase in floods and water stagnation in the city Therefore there is a need to improve the disaster risk management schemes and early warning systems and guide decision-making in implementing flood-control infrastructure projects at national and regional scales. Currently, warnings for pluvial floods are mostly limited to information on rainfall events over larger areas (i.e., no given rain intensities and durations), which is often not detailed enough to protect people and goods effectively. A proof-of-concept of impact-based forecasting for pluvial floods is necessary for Ouagadougou to combat flood effects and improve livelihoods in urban areas; meanwhile, a circular economy is built around waste management.


WASCAL (West African science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use)

National Council for Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation (CONASUR): CONASUR is, at the national level, the body responsible for disaster risk reduction and the application of the national multi-risk, preparedness, and response plan.

General Directorate of Civil Protection (DGPC): DGPC has competence in the planning and organizing first aid with CONASUR. In the context of protection, it also has competence in prevention activities (information, awareness, and training) and preparation for disasters and accidents of all kinds. Thus, it is responsible for implementing the national civil protection policy based on national plans.

Municipality of Ouagadougou: The municipalities must participate in civil protection and relief management following decentralization and the subsequent transfer of powers to the local administration. The city of Ouagadougou also has competence in water sanitation and hygiene (i.e., The construction and maintenance of gutters), territorial planning, the execution of subdivision plans, the issuance of building permits, etc. The municipality of Ouagadougou exercises this competence through the directorates of cleanliness, studies and planning, and municipal technical services. It is located in the risk management cycle’s prevention, preparedness, and response phase. Its actions are for the short, medium, and long term.

National Meteorological Agency (ANAM-BF): ANAM-BF is the national authority in charge of weather/climate services over the national territory. It is responsible for forecasting rainfall likely to cause flooding but does not conduct impact-based predictions. These forecasts are disseminated to the general public and, in the event of possible disasters, to the DGPC for necessary actions.



Dr. Seyni SALACK

Dr. Bio Mohamadou TOROU


11 + 2 =

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101037193.