Being Ghanaians, we have witnessed first hand, how serious bad sanitation affects our lives. We've seen deadly floods happen all over Accra and the entire Ghana due to ineffective waste collection methods. According to the United Nation Conference on Human Settlement 1996 report, about 1/3 to 1/2 of solid waste generated in cities in low income and middle income countries are not collected.


Why does this matter?:

  • 90% of African cities face waste management problems.
  • In 2012, Ghana's economy lost $290 million (~1.6% of it's GDP) due to poor sanitation
  • About 19,000 Ghanaians die prematurely from health issues caused by poor sanitation.
  • Recycling plastics in Ghana has the potential of creating 5 million jobs.

What it does

Borla is a platform that empowers communities through online and offline resources to manage solid waste efficiently by using data to improve operations and increase awareness. This addresses SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities and supports the goal targets 11.6, 11.5, and 11c

How we built it

Platfrom Overview

Tapping into the power of communities, we use the Facebook Messenger platform as a channel of receiving data of solid waste around the city, store in the cloud and provide and Interface which provides visualization on the data collected.

Challenges we ran into


  • We had problems setting up and using React.js on laptop provided by Facebook
  • We had problems testing how effective user interactions would be for our Messenger Chatbot.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Building a fully functioning chatbot for Messenger for the first time.
  • Building a web application using React.js for the first time.
  • Using Jupyter notebooks for data analysis and data visualization.

What we learned

  • We learned about idea generation and why having a diverse team increases the chances of generating the best ideas.
  • npm 12 had some problems installing and running React. The mentors who helped us with our problem used that same solution to help other Hackathon participants who were facing the same problems. -Working in a collaborative team brings out the best in everybody.
  • Not all solutions should heavily rely on flashy technology especially for developing economies like Ghana.

What's next for Borla

  • We hope to improve our Messenger Chatbot.
  • When enough data has been generated by the platform, we hope to add ML/AI capabilities to gain more insights into the waste management data set.
  • AI/ML to analyze and predict the size of solid waste through images
  • We hope to include a web interface for requesting feedback for the stakeholders.
  • Monetizing our API to Recycling and Manufacturing Companies that will need this data to target and gather the kind of waste they need.
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