Salem Gulilat

Project: The Green Icon

Salem Gulilat graduated from the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction, and City Development, Addis Ababa University with a bachelor’s degree in architecture design in 2014. She worked for a private real-estate development company as an architect and urban designer before she joined the ecotourism marketing industry as a marketing officer; Salem also works as a freelance architect and interior designer.

Salem is an inspired artist and product designer; she works on interior space decor products and wall canvases using recyclable materials and also dry-waste bin design. She is a graduate Masters candidate for the urban design and development programme at Addis Ababa University. She is also committed to community education and advocacy around the urban environment and climate change through a radio show on 97.1 FM Addis, Sew-Hiwote.


The Green Icon is a dry waste bin design that enhances the dry waste management of the inner-city living environment. The product is multifunctional, simple, and environmentally responsive - it segregates dry waste and semi processes it for further uses. In the long term, this product will create a positive impact on the climate by decreasing greenhouse gases emission, air pollution, and groundwater contamination.

Its goals are to preserve environmental health, modernise the sustainable dry waste management system, and create job opportunities for the community so as it creates a better environment for a better life. 


As a professional architect and urban designer, I am committed to designing a built environment that is responsive to the natural environment and inspires fellow designers. Furthermore, I am committed to playing a significant role in environmental protection related to urban development and green infrastructure, whilst scaling up grassroots advocacy through other media platforms.

In Addis Ababa, residential communal areas and dump collection sites are becoming inner-city landfill sites due to poor dry waste management and the absence of technology. In addition to that, waste collector bins are not properly designed to accommodate and function throughout the seasons. This creates an unsafe living environment for both residents and people involved in the waste collection sector, especially for women who are economically disadvantaged and deprived of education. This inspired me to: bring design and technology solutions to these environmental challenges; utilise the waste sector; and improve women’s economic empowerment.