Collective Intelligence for Sustainable Development: Crowd-Sourced Data to Improve Solid Waste Management

OpenMap Development Tanzania
3 min readAug 12, 2021

By Hawa Adinani

In achieving sustainable development, the UNDP Accelerator lab is using collective intelligence to facilitate learning innovations, knowledge and contributions of people across the globe, to get serious about the move toward real-time data, and to find responsible ways of using artificial intelligence to elevate human intelligence. In achieving this, the lab identified practical ways in which people are using collective intelligence approaches for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

One of the practical ways selected includes Inclusive development and technologies — where crowd mapping, citizen reporting and mobile phone surveys can be used to engage people whose voices are often not counted, helping to deliver on the SDGs’ promise to ‘leave no one behind’.

Pilot Survey
UNDP Accelerator Lab collaborated with OpenMap Development Tanzania to map Buhongwa ward in Mwanza city to acquire data that will improve solid waste management. OMDTZ used satellite images with community-based information to map locations piles of waste, service provided, payment, readiness to pay, and communities’ perception regarding the services provided.

A printed infrastructure map for Buhongwa ward, Mwanza

The pilot was conducted in the Buhongwa ward specifically because the ward is characterized by planned and unplanned settlement, location of the city dump, a market, etc, which gave a clear representative sample to be surveyed. Mwanza municipal officials, local government and community members of Buhongwa were involved in the data collection.

The aim of the pilot mapping was to understand the solid waste management ecosystem in Buhongwa ward, and how maps and data collected from the community’s perspective can be used to improve the efficiency of service provision and increase management of waste in Mwanza city.

Data Collected

We mapped over 26,000 features i.e roads, waterways, and buildings using HOT Tasking Manager with more than 400 community-generated data points and created maps that highlight the existing waste conditions in Mwanza to make informed decisions.

A map showing dump sites and building counts per 200 sqm

Data Empowerment Workshop
After data collection, UNDP and OMDTZ with support from COSTECH organized data empowerment and map share workshops to Mwanza city council officials, to share the methodology, data, and maps generated from the pilot. The workshop also aimed at empowering and showcase the power of data in decision-making to local government leaders and how GIS data can be used to improve waste management.

“COSTECH advocates evidence-based decisions in driving innovation through collaboration with ecosystem partners such as UNDP Accelerator Labs and OMDTZ in addressing society pains including solid waste management by deploying GIS technologies — Erasto Mlyuka, COSTECH - Centre for Development of Technology&Transfer.

Dr. Erasto Mlyuka from COSTECH sharing the status of the innovation ecosystem in Tanzania during the workshop

For more information about the UNDP accelerator program visit:

Special thanks to: Dr. Erasto Mlyuka, Commission for Science and Technology, Tanzania, Fanuel Kasenene, Environment Officer, Mwanza city and Peter Nyanda, Head of Exploration, UNDP Tanzania



OpenMap Development Tanzania

Open-source tech & geodata for managing & solving community's socio-economic and humanitarian challenges