Improving the urban environment with organisations of poor women and men

Community-based waste management

Waste management still remains one of the biggest challenges facing Zimbabwe today. There is still a widespread lack of resources; the technical and administrative capacity to properly implement sound mechanisms for waste management is still weak.

Community participation in waste management is vital.

It is still worrying that Zimbabwe, like most countries in Southern Africa, still lacks effective and appropriate technologies in waste management.

Even worse, the country's deteriorating infrastructure has resulted in poor waste management which has seen accumulation of waste and outbreaks of diseases.

In a country with serious waste management problems, Practical Action Southern Africa, in 2005, initiated the Improving the Urban Environment with Organisations of Poor Women and Men project.

With funding from Comic Relief, the project operated in Chitungwiza, the peri-urban settlement of Epworth and Mbare (Harare). Working in partnership with community-based organisations (CBOs) and local authorities, the project used an integrated approach in addressing waste management challenges facing the three settlements. It focused on improving the urban environment through developing sustainable, community-managed models for water, sanitation and waste management services.

The project hinged on building the capacities of communities to improve their environment, create employment and generate income from waste management. This resulted in the formation of CBOs engaged in income generating activities around provision of low cost waste management services, waste collection, re-use and recycling. Since 2005, eight CBOs with a total membership of 368 individuals have been established and/or supported by the project.

These CBOs have formed micro-enterprises providing low-cost waste management services, providing incomes and cleaner environments.

Related documents

Regulatory Framework in Waste Management workshop report, 23 March 2006
A report on the second in a series of workshops on Waste Management organised by Practical Action Southern Africa on 23 March 2006, bringing together local urban council authorities, government officials, environmental management agency officials, journalists, community groups, scientists, as well as educators, researchers and members of the private sector. The workshop theme emphasised the elements of integration and sustainability of the waste management regulations in urban areas, and the papers presented covered a wide range of aspects of waste management regulations and provided many useful examples. Download PDF (410k)

Regulatory Framework and Policy Review report, December 2005
This report details the findings of a review study undertaken on the legislative and policy framework for waste management in Zimbabwe, with special reference to Harare, Chitungwiza and Epworth. The main objective of the study was to evaluate the policy and legislative framework governing the management of waste in Zimbabwe with special focus on the three areas mentioned above. Download PDF (571k)

Emerging Issues in Urban Waste Management workshop proceedings, 10 February 2006
Practical Acton organised a stakeholders' workshop to deliberate on the possible practical solutions to the waste management challenges bedevilling the local authorities. Waste management has emerged as one of the greatest challenges facing local authorities throughout Zimbabwe. Waste management services have increasingly become inadequate, as evidenced by the rise in illegal dumping and the proliferation of the now seemingly permanent piles of rubbish in some commercial, industrial and residential areas of the urban areas. Download PDF (329k)

Community-based waste management in rural areas project report
Practical Action has thus adopted an integrated waste management system to address the problem of waste in Chitungwiza, Epworth and Mbare. Through technological interventions waste is being converted into marketable products. There are micro-enterprises providing low cost waste management services. Through community health and hygiene extension education and training waste handling has improved and thus contributed to improved health and hygienic standards. Although the project is still in its infancy, this paper shares the concept, steps followed, impacts and lessons drawn so far. Download PDF (1.1Mb)

An introduction to this project also appeared in the March 2008 edition of Appropriate Initiatives


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