Habitat International Coalition
Global network for the right to habitat and social justice
Urban Community Waste Management
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A Sub-Saharan Region Study
Author: Ishani, Zarina; Lamba, Davinder


The Habitat and Environment Program is coordinated by the Habitat and Environment Committee (HEC) of Habitat International Coalition (HIC). HEC was set up in 1991. Enda-TM/Rup of Senegal is the HEC Program Coordinator. Urban waste management was an initiative launched by HEC in collaboration with HIC Focal Points. It involved preparation of case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Mazingira Institute focal point coordinated the preparation of the Sub-Saharan Africa Region Study. The Regional Study consists of cases from Kenya (Nairobi), South Africa (Pretoria) and Angola (Luanda). The Kenyan study which is compiled by Mazingira Institute is based on research carried out by Kim Adam-Peters. The South African study was prepared by Ms. Nonhlanhla

Mjoli-Mncube based on her research on performance of a solid waste disposal project set. The Angolan case study was carried out by Development Workshop, an NGO, based on their pilot project.

The Kenyan case study is based in Nairobi is on the production of compost by women's groups for income generation and environmental benefits. The South African case assesses the impact of a sanitation system on the lives of women in an informal settlement and the Angolan study examines the sustainability of community based solid waste management, based on a pilot project in Luanda's informal settlements.

The purpose of carrying out a synthesis of the studies in all the regions is to find out from the lessons learnt, what common trends exist, the new technologies to be replicated on a city wide scale or modified to suit particular needs in the regions, the type of partnerships to be built and to assess those which are not user friendly or beneficial to the communities. It is also hoped that by disseminating the information gathered, a wider applicability will be possible in the respective regions.

Objectives of the Regional Study

The focus of the Habitat and Environment Program is solid and liquid waste management by communities in different countries. The objectives of the Regional Study are:

1: To describe the process and activities of waste management; and actors' activities, roles and relationships

2. To analyze prevalent types of issues and solutions at work and how they impact on the quality of life, the environment and their sustainability; and to examine the organizational, technical and financial aspects of the case study projects.

3. To find out if the projects can be enlarged from local to city level, the partnerships which would be necessary and for such an approach to become practical, the tools which would be required.

4. To synthesize lessons learnt and draw conclusions and recommendations.

The Regional Study is arranged in three sections. The first section describes the cases, the second analyzes and the third one synthesizes the cases. The individual country cases are summarized in the appendix.


1. Process and activities

The three studies deal with different aspects of waste management. The Kenyan study focuses on composting carried out by seven women's groups in Nairobi; the South African study explores women's experiences and perceptions of an alternative sanitation system (Aqua Privy System) and its impact on the quality of their lives; and the Angolan study's objective is to develop and test a model for sustainable management of solid waste in the peri-urban informal, spontaneous settlements of Angola commonly known as musseques .

1. 1 Kenyan Context

Since the 1980s there has been a rapid increase in rural-urban migration in Kenya. Traditionally, it was only men who migrated to the urban areas from the rural areas but now even women are moving from the rural areas to improve their socio-economic status. The urban growth has led to a rapid increase in poverty. It is estimated that 46 % of the urban population in Kenya live below the poverty line. Lack of formal employment opportunities and the fast growing informal sector (8.1%) offers alternatives in the waste management sector.

In Nairobi, around 75 % of women are engaged in small scale urban enterprises. The main informal activity is vegetable hawking. However, the Structural Adjustment Programs of the 1990s have had an adverse effect on the whole population women have been worse hit. The problem is especially severe for them as it is difficult for them to have formal access to credit and therefore have to look for activities which do not require a heavy capital outlay. They have had to look for alternative solutions to cater to the high cost of living. Composting from waste is one alternative for income generation.

In Kenya, young men are the main scavengers of waste. Waste is not only picked by scavengers but also by street children looking for a meal. In organic waste comprises of paper, scrap metal and bottles in that order. Organic waste is used by urban agriculturalists who form 33 % of Nairobi households.

More than 50 % of the urban population live in informal settlements with no access to even basic services as such settlements are deemed to be 'illegal'. In Nairobi, waste management has been the domain of the Local Authority, the Nairobi City Council (NCC). However, Nairobi City Council has only been able to collect 400 tons of solid waste out of the 800-1000 tons generated daily.

Case study background

In Kenya , a number of women's groups are involved in composting of organic waste. Seven women's groups were studied and in depth studies of the Kinyango Bidii Group, the Korogocho Mbolea Group and the City Park Hawkers Market group were carried out.

The waste is collected from the settlements mostly by women. It is first sorted into organic and inorganic waste. Then the organic waste is further sorted to remove foreign objects. After that it is stored for composting in a site either near the settlement or away depending on availability of land. The land for composting is rented by the women from the chief of the area. Once the compost is ready, it is sieved and put in bags ready for sale.

The Kinyango Bidii Group's activities are varied and do not solely depend on composting as a means of income. They also carry out urban agriculture, take part in handicrafts and shelter upgrading. The group's area is much smaller than that of others and therefore environment management is much easier.

The Korogocho Mbolea Group consists of mostly female headed households who have very low incomes, mainly derived from vegetable hawking. Very few services are available and the area is away from the major market sites.

The City Park Hawkers Market is located in an affluent area and the market has numerous activities going on, ranging from sale of vegetables to tailoring. The women's groups who work here find a ready market for their compost.

The other two groups, Kayole and Mathare. are to be found in low income areas carrying out composting in their areas of residence. The women travel daily to the markets nearby to sell the compost .

1.2 South African Context

At least 60 % of the South African population have neither basic services nor shelter. The democratic government of South Africa has made housing and basic services as priority issues. The formal township has standard services like potable water, electricity, tarred roads, sewerage systems and drainage.

Low income areas have some services in the form of roads, water and sewerage. In 1992, SOSHANGUVE TT was created when the informal settlements were allocated serviced sites with title deeds. The area has gravel roads and communal water stand pipes which are shared by about twelve families.

Case study background

The study area is located in the northern part of Pretoria, in the province of Gauteng, one of the nine provinces of South Africa. The case study area name SOSHANGUVE TT was derived by the researcher from the first two letters of the four major tribal groups residing in the area (Sotho, Shangaan, Nguni and Venda). It is an informal area within SOSHANGUVE having 38 % of the population comprising 44,000 households.

The study focuses on the sanitation system. The aim was to instal a sanitation system which would be cost effective and which could be used in areas where there was communal use of water. Water pipes and water treatment plants were installed but there were no resources for the installation of sewerage reticulation and treatment plants. The Aqua Privy System was considered to be an ideal technical solution at the time.

The Aqua Privy system was introduced in areas where there was no access to individual water connections. It needs less water than the conventional system. The toilet requires pouring water into the bowl after every use and the effluent flows into a soakway. The sludge needs to be emptied periodically. No foreign objects can be put in and only clean water is to be used.

The objectives of the study are to find out the socio-economic impacts of this alternative sanitation system (Aqua Privy system) on the lives of the residents of SOSHANGUVE TT (informal townships) with specific reference to women. The major issues surrounding the system are: design and location of the toilets; maintenance problems; cost implications and perceptions around hygiene and health. The study looks at the aspect of replicability and desirability of the Aqua Privy System especially from a gender and development perspective.

1.3 Angolan Context

Angola's capital city Luanda has an estimated population of 2.8 million people with a growth rate of 470 % over a twenty year period. There has been little change in infrastructure over that period. The internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled the civil war are mainly concentrated in urban or peri-urban areas. This has resulted in the low density peri-urban areas being built up supporting 500 to 1000 persons per hectare. Seventy five percent of Luanda's population lives in the Musseques.

A 1995 survey found that 61 % of the population was living below the poverty line with a monthly expenditure of US $ 39 per adult-equivalent and 12 % were living in extreme poverty with less than US $ 14 monthly expenditure. Real incomes have been declining with the country experiencing hyper inflation. In 1995 inflation stood at 3,800 % and in mid 1996 it peaked to 12,000 %.

The government has been more concerned with defense then with economic or social sectors. Its defense expenditure in 1993 was 48 % and was reduced to 26 % in 1994. However, the social sectors were allocated meagre sums ranging to 4 % and 7 %. Until recently there was very little public investment in new infrastructure and maintenance of basic services.

Case study background

The management of the local administration is the responsibility of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and local government administration is centralized. Provincial governors are Ministers of State. Under the province are several municipalities. In two provinces, Luanda and Benguela, parastatal companies provide water and sanitation services. In the others, local administration is the responsible body.

Municipalities are, in turn, composed of comunas which is the lowest level of government administration. The communas are further subdivided into sectors (15,000-20,000 people) and quarteros (20-30 families). The sector and quartero have a coordinator selected from among the residents.

The project zone inner area has a population of about 3,000 while the comuna has 200,000. Density is high - 300-500 persons per hectare. Limited employment opportunities exist in the area.

Water supply is the most urgent problem in Angola according to the residents. Garbage dumps is the second one. A 1995 survey carried out by an NGO, Development Workshop (DW), showed that a high number of people were aware of the dangers of fecal-oral transmission of diseases and latrines were identified as a "basic necessity".

In 1992 Luanda's population generated 2,000 cubic metres of waste daily. ELISAL, the provincial parastatal company responsible for waste removal only managed to collect half of it. Since then the population has doubled without an accompanying increase in removal capacity. In August 1997 the parastatal company, ELISAL, dealing with waste management was given by the government to a private company, Urbana 2000. Although there was considerable improvement in waste disposal in the city centre, the problem persisted in the peri-urban areas.

The pilot project area lies within the comuna of Hoje-Ya-Henda in Cazenga municipality. The area was selected on the basis of : the existence of a dumpsite; availability of reasonable access from the main road for heavy equipment; previous project involvement by DW and proximity to DW's field office.

The aims of the project were to reduce waste and reuse it if possible and to set up a waste removal system which would be a permanent one. The first task was to clear the largest dumpsite in the informal area where no waste had been collected over the past five years. Since there was no regular solid waste removal, huge dumps of waste were found near the informal settlements. There site had 1400 cubic meters of waste together with 22 abandoned cars. The dump blocked vehicular traffic and pedestrians had to walk over the mountain of rubbish to go across.

The other task was to separate the waste at source and reduce it by reusing whatever was reusable. One method was to see what use could be made of yard sweepings, compose of stones and sand. The musseque residents usually collect the sweepings and store it in a container. Then other waste is added.

2. Actors, roles and relationships and their activities

There are various stakeholders in any country - the public sector comprising the central government with its concomitant agencies and the local governments; the civic sector comprising community based organizations (CBOs) and volunteers, non governmental organizations (NGOs), the media, academic and religious institutions, private sector comprising enterprises, service delivery systems and markets.

2.2.1 Kenya

Waste management in Kenya gained impetus in 1987 when a sports association, the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) combined it sports activities with community self-help. The community service is in lieu of sports fees which the youth cannot afford. Clean-ups are carried out once a week in the low income settlement of Mathare. These involve garbage collection and clearing of drainage ditches. The youths are aided in this effort by the local authority, NCC, who provide the personnel and equipment. Scandinavian donor agencies have also assisted by providing the salary for a coordinator and money for equipment.

In 1992, Nairobi residents formed a coalition for a "Clean-up Nairobi (CUN)" campaign. The coalition was interested in ways of funding waste reduction and composting. NCC initially helped by providing equipment but now the coalition has collapsed as the NCC is no longer giving its support.

In Kenya, it has been found that success in waste management for environmental purposes depends considerably on motivational factors such as sports in the MYSA. In the Clean Up Nairobi campaign there was no incentive for people to continue, particularly since the Nairobi City Council was not interested in doing its job.

Local NGOs in the low income areas have been very active although their activities have not been publicized as such. Three notable NGOs cited in the study are: the Uvumbuzi Club, The Foundation for Sustainable Development in Africa (FSDA) and the Undugu Society of Kenya.

The Uvumbuzi Club is a membership organization woith four programme areas: environmnetal conservation and lobbying activities; promoting non motorised transport; trips to areas of environmental interest and providing members with material on environment issues. As part of its conservation programme, it started a "Garbage is Money" campaign in 1992. Five groups were involved in this campaign initially. Now Uvumbuzi assists the groups in transporting and marketing the compost.

The Foundation for Sustainable Development in Africa does not depend on donor funding. It operates as a commercial entity. As one of its many activities, it trained the composting groups and still sends an extension worker every two weeks to the groups. It assists in packaging and marketing the compost whenever possible.

The Undugu Society of Kenya's focus is on rehabilitation of street children. It became involved in the composting efforts of Uvumbuzi club and FSDA because it wanted to promote an integrated approach to environmental problems through a clean environment (waste recycling) and food security (urban agriculture). Two groups have been assisted by the Society. In one settlement, Kibera, urban agriculture is carried out on a farm located at the edge of the settlement. The other group, Kinyango has its farm further away. The main reason for producing compost for both groups is for its use on the farms.

The various stakeholders have been working well. However, the degree of commitment by the stakeholders is not the same. The public sector, especially the Local Authority initially gave its support but has now virtually given up. In the beginning , the composting groups received support from the NGOs but now are self sustaining. They still receive help from some NGOs but at longer time intervals.

The local government's lukewarm support was a "one off" feature but the pretence of being helpful is no longer there. It does not interact with the communities simply because it does not have the necessary finance and there is a certain sense of apathy in all aspects of city service provision. There is also a question of public interest conflict as the low income informal settlements are considered to be illegal.

Local NGOS are willing to provide basic assistance in setting up and training the groups in waste management techniques but they have resource constraints as credit facilities are inadequate. The CBOS, particularly women, face the same problems. Thus both the NGOs and CBOs are handicapped when it comes to expanding the composting groups and the market for compost.

It can be seen that the NGOs are primarily concerned with other activities other than composting ,although composting has been integrated in some of their activities. This could be due to the fact that waste management has not been considered a priority area in Kenya by the NGOs although it is gaining momentum gradually.

2.2.2 South Africa

The South African study reveals that the main actors were the government through its Independent Development Trust (IDT). In 1992 IDT started its upgrading program by providing low income families in informal settlements with serviced sites and title deeds.

The other actors were the local civic organizations. They participated in discussions pertaining to level of services to be provided and choice of sanitation system to be installed. At the time of the discussions, all the civic leaders in Soshanguve were males, with no technical experience in the functioning of sanitation systems. There were no NGOs involved in the design and planning of the system. Women were not consulted even though they would be the ones who would be directly involved in the day to day operational aspects of the system.

The main reason for setting up the Aqua Privy system was economic rather than social or environmental. Consultation was done only in the planning stage and even then with a limited number of stakeholders who would not be directly involved once the system was put in practical use.

2.2.3 Angola

There were four sets of actors in the Angolan study: the government, an NGO, Development Workshop; a private company, Urbana 2000 and the community. National NGOs, political parties and CBOs is a recent phenomenon as it was only in 1991 that the 'law of associations' was introduced. Remnants of Resident Committees do exist and are being revived.

The initiator was the government. It approached the Development Workshop (DW) to try and solve the problem of waste removal. Since the government was involved, it enlisted the help of a parastatal, ELISAL.

The main actor was the community. The residents in the musseques have normally organized themselves around specific tasks to meet a particular need but a strong tradition for cooperative community activities was lacking. Much less was collaboration of government with the communities due to lack of resources and also because the local administration was accountable to the central government and not to the communities.

In the beginning DW acted as a facilitator or an intermediary, bringing together the different parties.The aim was to hand over the reins to the community and to the responsible parties once the project was going on well.

In this waste sector project, ELISAL did not have the necessary operating capacity (only able to service 20 % of Luanda's population) and the size of solid waste removal limited action at the community level. There was a also a period of uncertainty when ELISAL's contract to work in the peri-urban areas was cancelled and the new partner, a private company, Urbana 2000 was contracted to ELISAL.

There were problems during the duration when Urbana 2000 took over from ELISAL. Urbana 2000 did not have the capacity to mobilize the communities or to work with them. However, this task was being undertaken by DW and up to now the partnership has been working well but to what extent the community involvement will continue is hard to say.

Other organizations were contacted once the project was underway for the specific job of detonating ordnance. It was found that the garbage dumps contained ordnance and DW realized that those working on the sites needed experts to help them to remove such ordnance. Help was sought from the National Institute for the Removal of Obstacles and Unexploded Ordnance (INAROEE) the national demining organization and the Norwegian People's Aid. The organizations also provided training and awareness courses for field teams on how to recognize explosives and how they function.


1. Examination of the prevalent issues and solutions

All three studies are concerned with differnt aspects of waste management. The study focus in Kenya is domestic waste and in particular, composting; South Africa is human waste management, specifically the impact of the Aqua Privy System on the various community groups, especially on women; and the Angolan one is a pilot project dealing with domestic waste reuse principally for road building.

Nevertheless, in all three countries of Kenya, South Africa and Angola, a number of general issues affecting all of them can be found which has led to several stakeholders taking interest in waste management. One issue is poverty, with Angola being at the bottom of the scale, Kenya in the middle and then South Africa slightly higher up. Gross Domestic Products are low with resulting low incomes per capita. Economic growth is very low or even negative in real terms in some cases. South Africa is in a slightly better position but there is unbalanced growth and in urban-rural resource inflows in the country. Being developing countries, the list of priorities is long and the countries do not have enough resources for development of all sectors .

The governments in the respective countries divide their resoures according to needs which means that only essential services are provided. Informal settlements are not considered to be legal especially in Kenya and so are left out. However, the majority of the population in the three countries resides in informal settlements in the urban areas. In so far as waste management is concerned, it is not a top priority area since infrastructure and water supply are considered to be far more important.

Not only do governments lack financial resources but they do not have adequate technical expertise nor the operational manpower for waste management purposes especially when dealing with environmental problems. Consistent policies are also lacking and thus there no set ways of dealing with the issue of waste.

Experience shows that communities in all the three countries can be mobilized to augment or to carry out services in the area of waste which the local governments normally provide. But they also need financial and technical help.

One important issue particularly in Kenya is that of lack of rural-urban linkages. Even though there is not a big market for compost in the urban areas, there is considerable potential in the rural areas which are mainly agricultural. If concurrent linkages are built up, then there is considerable scope for composting as an activity to expand. At the time of the study such linkages were insufficient but now the compost is being used by upcountry floriculturalists.

There is also the matter of formal sector development in relation to domestic waste management for recycling and resuse for example recycling of inorganic waste such as plastics. If formal sector development does not go hand in hand with the informal activities as in Kenya, then the impetus for further informal activities is wanting.

All the issues put together then bring out the question of sustainability of any waste management activity, be it domestic or human particularly for environmental reasons. Some environmental factors are present when any waste management activity is undertaken such as reduction of air and water borne transmittable diseases. But other relevant factors, for example the hazards of dumping inorganic waste in transit or pemanent sites are not looked into simply because of lack of resources, both financial and human ones.

1.1 Kenya

Administration of urban areas in Kenya is the responsibility of local authorities and Provincial Administration. In Nairobi, waste management is the responsibility of the Nairobi City Council (NCC). The NCC has been unable to provide the necessary services of garbage collection and disposal, water supply and treatment and sewerage reticulation and treatment. The reasons are varied and numerous. To name a few: lack of decision-making authority at both central and local government levels; lack of accountability; poor collection of rates from government corporations and agencies; dishonesty of revenue collectors and lack of equipment.

NCC only manages to collect 50 % of the garbage from the city and almost none is being collected from the informal areas in which the majority (60%) of the urbanites reside. The low income groups live in high density areas and the conventional garbage dumping sites are also around the informal settlement areas. The problem of waste collection and disposal is therefore severe resulting in a number of environmental problems, particularly adverse health effects.

The combination of almost no formal service provision in the informal areas and Nairobi City Council's inadequacy in solid waste management, has resulted in environmental problems such as blocked drains, health hazards due to overflowing sewage, erratic garbage dumping and inaccessibility to open spaces.

35 % of Kenyans are unemployed, and 46 % of the urban population live below the poverty line. Over half the population in the informal areas live in female-headed, single parent households. Waste management covers a vast area and therefore offers a wide scope for those looking for ways of survival. Waste collection and disposal is one such area. Thus, waste management presents opportunities to those looking for ways of acquiring subsistence, earning cash, obtaining work and as a method of supplementing incomes.

Composting of organic waste is one of the many avenues of reducing waste, making productive use of it and at the same time lessening environmental problems. The other main reason for undertaking this activity is for generating income. Besides these two reasons, the women said that composting enabled them to exchange information. It alo helped in integrating the community members and being accepted by other members.

The amount earned by the women depends heavily on accessibility to markets. Of the seven groups studied, four groups did not earn as much as the other three. These four groups' settlements are located in the interior with access to markets through only narrow, unsurfaced roads. The other three areas are located at the point of sale and in these areas, demand for compost outstrips supply.

Income generation faces a number of constraints. Finding a market is the biggest one for those groups who carry out their activities away from the point of sale. Urban-rural linkages are not developed otherwise compost instead of artificial fertilizers could be used for agriculture in the farms in the rural areas.

The City Hawkers group has a high demand for compost and is willing to market the compost produced by the other groups but transporting to the Hawkers Market is not cost effective. Storage is another problem. Compost made by aerobic methods needs to be transported within one month of production otherwise the nitrogen value decreases but the groups have difficulty in getting storage space so some of the compost goes to waste. The payment for the storage space rented from the local chiefs is high even though the chiefs are not the legal owners of the plots.

The combination of low resale value and limited sales from compost means that the income generated is not extensive. This means that even rudimentary inputs such as gloves and sieves are unaffordable by the women. In addition, only organic waste is used and the inorganic waste, especially plastics are not being reused (at the time of the study there were no companies recycling plastics).

As for gender and development issues in composting, composting integrates well with the other household work which women do although composting also entails hard physical labour. Where the composting sites are located away from the settlements, women's burden is much greater.

The women lack significant support from men in the community. Their interests are rarely catered for especially as the chairpersons in the CBOs are inevitably men.

1.2 South Africa

The South African study looks at the sustainability of the aqua privy system. The glaring issue which came out is that any sanitation system put in for waste management should involve those who are directly affected.

The study clearly showed that there was incongruence between the conception and operation of the system. Thus the sanitation system put up by the government in the informal settlements is gender insensitive. Five aspects were assessed: design and location of the toilets; maintenance; costs, perceptions of health and hygiene and environmental factors.

The design and planning of construction of the toilets was done by men. By design the toilet is the dry flush type which means that water has to be brought from a tap source for flushing and no foreign objects such as sanitary pads can be put in. Water has to be brought everytime for flushing. Although this applies to both men and women, for the women the burden is greater, as they have to fetch water for the children and visitors as well. No provision was made for disposal of pads and the women are too embarrassed to talk about these problems with men.

The result is that a number of behavioural problems affecting women have come up. The question of privacy is important since the toilets are some distance from the houses and face the street affording little seclusion to the women. There is also the security factor. At night, women are scared of going out. Potential rapists keep watch and plan their attacks accordingly when the women go to fetch water.

Furthermore, the size of the toilet structure is such that any person over 60 kgs. cannot squeeze in and cannot close the door. A pregnant woman feels very uncomfortable in such a situation.

Cleaning of the sludge has to be undertaken by the women every six months as the men are unwilling to do the job although it was initially thought that it would take about two years for the toilet to fill up. The only way of finding out when the toilets are full is when the worms start to come out. The worms also pose a health hazard if drainage is not done. Drainage means opening of the storage tanks and putting the waste in a hole in the garden. Labour has to be hired for digging the hole. Some people do not bother to dig holes, but throw the liquid anywhere. The accompanying smell is also unbearable. Since most of the work is undertaken by the women, this makes them feel degraded and unsupported.

There are costs incurred in time spent in fetching water; cleaning; paying diggers and buying toilet paper. The design does not allow use of any paper. Toilet paper becomes expensive for the communities. For the blind and disabled (both men and women), not only is the cost of draining quite high as they have to hire people to do the job but fetching water is a problem as well.

All residents perceive the toilets as unhygienic, dehumanizing and unnatural. This is because anyone using the toilet feel that they are making a public announcement when fetching water. They also felt that a pit latrine was better as there is no sorting of own sewerage into liquids and solids for disposal.

The drainage problem is worse in institutions (such as schools) and businesses which use the same system. One school opted not to use the system after finding it expensive to employ people to do the draining as the children could not do the cleaning. There was also a serious health threat to the children when the toilets became full.

For sustainability purposes, the system has to be modified and can be done but for institutions it seems that it is not a viable system and those who startd with it faced maintenance problems and so had to abandon it.

1.3 Angola

Angola, being literally at the bottom of the scale in terms of economic development, has a number of priority issues. For the government the number one issue is defense as the civil war continues. The bulk of government expenditure therefore goes in defense (48% In 1993 and 26 % in 1994)) with very little being allocated to social sectors (4-7 %).

The government of Angola's National Community Rehabilitation Plan aims at assisting communities to rehabilitate roads and other basic infrastructure, and restore basic services such as potable water supplies, roads, basic health services and primary education.

The government's approach to solve the problem of providing essential services is to promote popular participation by involving NGOs and the private sector. The emphasis is on community-based reconstruction and rehabilitation using food for work, local labour skills and organization.

Development Workshop was requested to come in as it had considerable success with the communities in the provision of water supply and in 1998, its community management system was adopted for a city wide project funded by the World Bank.

For the people, the issues are numerous but getting enough food for survival is their number one priority. When Development Workshop was asked to assist in developing a pilot initiative in solid waste management by the government for one of the peri-urban musseques, it decided to use food for work strategy. The aim was to test waste management techniques for a pilot project and to see if the model developed would be feasible for replicability purposes.

The constraint was the sustainability of the food for work programme. But since the pilot project was to be part of a larger Infrastructure and Rehabilitation Project for Luanda, for the short term this was considered the most viable proposition.

The purpose of the pilot project was to develop and test a model for sustainable management of solid domestic waste in the peri-urban informal musseques. This would encompass old dumpsites and new ones. If the waste could be either reused or recycled at the source, the weight of the waste to be carried by dumping trucks would be less, requiring less trips and saving time and resources. At the same time, if sustainable solutions could be found for waste management by involving the communities then the government's meagre resources could be applied to other areas of need. The communities would also be able to get work through waste management.

There was a period when funding was an issue. European Union was the funding agency but it suspended its funds for the peri -urban areas during the period when the government decided to stop its activities in these areas. EU found it difficult to make the agreement with the Provincial Government when the vice-governors were replaced. Development Workshop sought alternative funding for the initiative during that period.

2 Operational, Technical and Financial aspects of the case study projects

The three countries having diverse activities and therefore have different operational aspects. In South Africa and Angola, the central governments were the initiators and also took part in the actual projects with NGO and community involvement. In Kenya there was minimal involvement by the government. It was also an activity carried out by mainly women with the help of NGOs. The private sector was actively included only in the case of Angola.

Technical support basically came from NGOs in both Kenya and Angola but in South Africa it was the government. The actual work was done by the communities in all three cases.

Financial support varied with the central and local governments playing an important role in both South Africa and Angola but not in Kenya. Local resources and donor funding provided additional support.

2.1 Kenya

The Kenyan case study examines how seven women's groups carry out composting of organic waste. They are aided by non governmental organizations (NGOs). Three local NGOs, Uvumbuzi Club, the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Africa (FSDA) and Undugu Society of Kenya have provided support and training to approximately twelve CBOs doing composting in several of Nairobi's low income areas. The areas they live in are high density settlements where there is virtually no garbage collection.

Composting is easily integrated in women's role of household and family care, income generation and community management. This is particularly so in the market areas where the women divide their time between hawking vegetables and composting. But in some informal settlements, the composting site is located away from their main activity areas. In Kinyango, the composting site is across a road thus making it difficult for the women to monitor their children.

It is estimated that one half of the solid waste generated consists of organic waste. Toxic materials are estimated to be 0. 2 % of the total. For households, the figure for organic waste is 75 %. Since the Nairobi City Council can only manage to collect half the waste generated and lacks a policy of waste reduction at source, for the unemployed, using waste as a resource is a way of reducing the environmental problems linked to waste and also as a means of obtaining an income.

It is mainly women who are involved in this work but a few men also participate. The women collect the garbage from the garbage dumps using simple tools and equipment. Inputs such as gloves, garden tools, sieves, packaging materials, storage and shelter required are not very expensive but are too costly as far as the women are concerned.

The garbage is sorted to separate the organic from the inorganic waste. Then the organic waste is put in piles at the composting site. The NGOs give the necessary training on composting and extension workers sent by them continue to assist the women. Once the compost is ready, it is sieved to remove any foreign particles or objects . Then it is taken to nearby markets or used for urban agriculture.

In terms of financial organization, composting requires very little capital outlay if simple tools are used. The inputs are bought with the money obtained from sale of compost. Where the compost is used in urban agriculture, there is no direct income but the food grown is a source of subsistence for the women.

2.2 South Africa

The Aqua Privy system is produced by a South African Company and was introduced by the South African government in those areas which had communal sources of water supply.

The planning of the installation site was done in consultation with local and community leaders who at the time were men. The financial cost of installation was borne by the government but the running costs of the system were not taken into account. Maintenance aspects were not looked into. No secondary aspects such as sewerage treatment plants were considered. Thus the communities were not fully involved. The main actor was the government.

The users were not differentiated by gender or by any other groups and it was assumed that the system was user friendly to both men and women. The case study is not an actual involvement in the project but an assessment of the effectiveness of the human wast management in terms of sustainability. It examines the impact of the system particularly on women in terms of design and location of the toilets, maintenance, cost implications, perceptions around health and hygiene and environmental impacts.

2.3 Angola

The pilot project set up by Development Workshop of Angola put into action the following organizational and technical processes: social mobilization; waste reduction; waste reuse; elimination of an old dumpsite; creation of a new collection depot and collaboration and partnership development.

The social mobilization process started with mobilizing the community leaders made up of appointed officials at the municipal, comuna and quarterao levels, project area residents and supporting organizations. An NGO, ADRA which had previous experience in community mobilization, were entrusted with the task of mobilization. Two full time mobilizers were employed. Training for mobilization was given by Development Workshop. Staff of other NGOs and CBOs were also invited to the training program.

On waste reduction, a baseline survey was conducted at the same time as community mobilization. Development Workshop researched existing waste practices, attitudes and perceptions about garbage and the information was collected by the interviewers through house to house visits.

A waste characterization study was carried out by Development Workshop earlier on was used as a basis for the pilot project. The results had shown that 78 % of the waste stream is composed of organic and yard sweepings. If further broken down the organic/putriscrible component was 24.3 % stones, 6.9 % bricks and tiles and 46.6 % fines of less than 10 mm. If waste reduction methods were employed, savings of up to 78 % in real collection costs would result.

It was found that the characterization study gave three options for waste reuse or recycling:

a) composting: but it was not a feasible option as there was no market for the fertilizer due to land shortage b) production of building bricks or blocks made up of a mixture of soil, cement and sand but this would require testing of the fines for quality and production units would have to be organized and c) to use the stones and fines for improving roadways.

The third option was thought to be the best one as road improvement was feasible and a necessity and if successful, could provide employment to the residents for some considerable time. Thus waste reduction methods were directed at eliminating sand/rocks/bricks which formed 54 % of the waste generated.

Simple technology was used such as wire screens and protective clothing was provided. The initiative started as a food for work project. The workers were selected from the community. Preference was given to displaced persons, demobilized soldiers and the unemployed. Work was begun on clearing the biggest dumpsite.

The volume of waste varied with the degree of compaction (density). In general about one quarter the volume of waste was produced for each volume of sand. Sand comprised 75 -90 % of the total weight. Problems encountered were presence of human waste and unexploded ordnance. After two months, the dumpsite was cleared and the adjoining market was expanded. Permits were issued to vendors and brings in income to the local authority and this will be used to maintain the area free of garbage.

The other aspect was reuse of sand sweepings. The sand sweepings were used in road in-filling. The in-filling was done by dumping the sand, putting water and then compacting it with either a plate tamper or a vibrating cylinder. Several in-filling techniques were used for experimentation purposes. In one section, a combination of car frames, sand and waste was used to construct 165 square meters of roadway. In total 16 locations and 1,800 square meters of road was improved.

All locations saw some settlement and increase in vehicular traffic after the dump was cleared. The test came when the rains came but the rains did not affect the road much. Only in two locations there was a deterioration in the state of the road, where a combination of sand and waste were used but another application of sand rectified the situation.

A clearing depot was also set up whereby the waste dumped and sorted. The whole project was funded by the government of Angola and Development Workshop also supported it through assistance provided by Canadian and Swiss organizations.

3. Impact on quality of life

3.1 Kenya

The women's groups cited improved health as one of the benefits of taking up composting specifically in the incidence of environmental illnesses, including diarrhoea and malaria. There was less exposure to pathogens as more open space was created for the children to play in.

There was a notable physical improvement in the environment. The drainage channels and nearby rivers which were previously blocked by garbage causing floods were now clear. This is because dumping is more controlled now. The group members distribute plastic bags to community members to encourage the separation of organic wastes at source. This has also resulted in improved access as the roads and footpaths are not used as dumping sites.

Two of the groups have small urban agriculture farms and they use the compost in the farms. The groups agreed that crop yields had improved due to application of compost.

Although there were a number of beneficial environmental effects from composting, a number of environmental problems remain unsolved. One is the problem of inorganic waste. At the time there were no formal recycling plants for recycling plastic.

Alkaline batteries and other toxic wastes also pose environmental problems. Animals feed on the garbage dumps and humans consume the products of these animals. In one area, Mukuru-Kayaba, toxic industrial effluents were a major concern of the residents as the village is located in Nairobi's industrial area.

Another area of waste not looked into is management of human waste. 94 % of the population in informal settlements do not have access to adequate sanitation. Up to 60 % o fthe population in Kibera and Korogocho must share pit latrines with approxipately fifty people.

Poor infrastructure and rivers cutting through informal settlements lead to problems in the rainy season as plastics block drainage channels thus impacting on the quality of life of the residents.

An area which could be developed is compost for use in urban agriculture. But scarcity of land for agriculture and resources and poor urban-rural linkages have not made growth possible in this area.

Harrassment by city officials and corruption are other problems facing the women.

3.2 South Africa

There have been several impacts of the aqua privy sanitation system installed in Soshanguve especially on women. It is a good system in so far as it uses less water than the conventional system and it can be set up easily where water supply connection to individual homes is a problem. However, the case study shows that the system's disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

What the residents want, according to the researcher, is a sanitation system that reinforces their right to privacy and human dignity. For most women, the present sanitation system is an intrusion in their intimate lives. The intrusion stems from various factors.

The design and location of the toilets is one factor. The toilets face the street affording little privacy to the women. Safety and security is another factor particularly at night when potential rapists watch the toilet and plan their attacks accordingly.

Also there is no provision for disposal of sanitary pads and the women feel that their privacy is violated when they go out clutching bags containing pads. The normal procedure for disposal of the pads is to put them with the rest of the garbage. The dumps are scavenged by men and they denigrate the women when they across these items.

The size of the toilet affects all but pregnant women more so, as the toilet can only accommodate a person who is less than 60 kgs. Thus pregnant women are unable to squeeze into the toilet and have no option but to leave the door open.

One pertinent issue is that of maintenance of the sanitation system. Maintenance has been assumed to be the duty of women. The toilets become full every six months and this is a dirty, smelly and cumbersome task.

The operational costs were not taken into account in the initial design of the system. All the labour in maintaining the toilets is provided by the women except for the digging of holes for storing the liquid waste. Labourers have to be employed to dig the holes which becomes an added cost. Another cost not factored in the original design is that of toilet paper. Only toilet paper can be used in the toilets which the women cannot afford.

Health and hygiene effects were experienced by all. The smell and the worms which came out when the toilets were full, affected all the residents. All of them perceived the toilets as unhygienic, dehumanizing and unnatural. Women associated vaginal infections to unclean toilets and some parents did not allow their children to use the toilets fearing health problems.

The system is particularly unsuitable for institutions such as schools and the disadvantaged such as the disabled and blind. The school using this system had to abandon as it was not possible to maintain it and the cost of employing workers was too high.

The study clearly shows that the system does not impact positively on the quality of the lives of women and the special groups. The system can only be replicated if all the questions, especially those pertining to gender insensitiveness are dealt with adequately.

3.3 Angola

Sanitation conditons improved for the 3000 residents with the elimination of the largest dumpsite being cleared, the provision of continuous waste removal services at the new collection depot and the repair of road depressions that had become breeding places for disease carrying organisms in the rainy season.

The in-filling of the road improved 16 sections of the roadway with a total area of 1800 square metres. There was better road access especially in the rainy season. Direct employment was provided for 30 people working in waste separation and road improvement. The Food for Work programme improved the living conditions in the musseques.

The clearing of the dumpsite also led to the nearby Kwanza market being expanded resulting in further income generation.

Conclusions and lessons learnt

1. Existence of many waste management techniques

In the past in African countries, waste management was conceived as the domain of the local government and the only "proper" method of removal and disposal was to load the garbage on to dumping trucks and put it in a refuse heap in an uninhabited area. No further action was taken to either reuse or recycle the waste, whether domestic or human. The case studies show that alternative viable solutions to waste management do exist n different areas of waste from the cases studied.

In two of the cases, waste reduction at source either through composting (Kenya) or using inorganic waste such as stones, bricks and fines (Angola) not only results in less work, time and expense for local governments but also has beneficial effects in terms of income generation and improvement of infrastructure.

The South African project also demonstrates that alternative technologies of waste management are feasible where resources are scarce. The aqua privy system is technically a good system where there is a restricted water supply and where individual households do not have access to water sources. The aqua privy system produces a clean environment, uses less water than other modern methods but needs to be modified if it is to be successfully applied for use by all members of the community.

2. Participatory development key to success

There are substantial lessons to be learnt from the case studies particularly with reference to participatory development. Managing waste adequately and correctly in urban areas is extremely important especially as the urban areas are growing at astronomical rates and governments in developing countries are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with and provide the necessary services.

Participatory development involves inclusion of stakeholders and other interested parties such as NGOs, private sector, civil society and religious bodies.

The Kenyan and the Angolan studies demonstrate that without participatory development, it becomes almost impossible for the governments to deal with waste issues. Waste reduction and composting in the Kenyan case would not have been possible if the women had not received training from the NGOs. In the Angolan case the technical expertise of Development Workshop enabled it to start off the pilot project of road improvement through waste management.

The South African case shows that without full and adequate participation by all stakeholders, a good system may not work. The aqua privy system did not have gender input and did not involve all users in the construction and planning of the toilet site resulting in a system which was completely gender insensitive.

3. NGO-Private Sector partnership model

Governments and organizations are reluctant to create partnerships with the private sector as the private sector is viewed as "commercial minded" but the Angolan case demonstrates that it is possible to work with the private sector as in the case of Urbana 2000 and this can be a model for other countries and projects.

4. NGOs as conduits for linkages with decision makers

It is very difficult for communities to be in direct contact with decision makers - be it the government or the private sector. Whereas the NGOs, with their many contacts are able to do so and thus act as facilitators or implementors. This is particularly a problem when it comes to links with the private sector. The Angolan case presents an example of possibilities of such linkages.

5. Thorough planning

For a project to be successful, all aspects - economic, social and political must be considered. If adequate planning is not done, with only a few major factors looked into, the project may fail. This was especially the case in South African study where the aqua privy system was installed in the communities and institutions. The system had to be abandoned by the institutions especially schools as sufficient thought process had not gone into the planning stage.

6. Environment and Health Impacts

a) On households and communities

Waste management brought about positive changes at the household and community levels in all of the three studies. In the Kenyan study, composting brought about an improvement in the surrounding areas due to the fact that the sites were cleaner, there was access to space and there was a visible improvement in the health of the residents. The women had also set up specific dumping sites for garbage to be placed instead of casual dumping being done before the project started.

The composting activity resulted in a reduction in the incidence of environmental illnesses

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