African Regional Study

Table of Contents



Case Study (1) : Household Waste Management with the ëBokk Jomí Federation. Medina Fall area (city of Thies, Senegal)


Case Study (2) : ëGreen City Movement of Malindií (Kenya). Bilateral project between the Kenyan and Dutch governments


Lessons learned from waste management in the studied areas

Shared awareness, a key towards the success of a project

Communication, a factor for success

The contribution made by sanitary projects to the building of a partnership

The contribution made by technical and political components to the partnership


Inefficiencies in the field of waste management

1 - Deficiency in the political promotion of participated management : an uncompleted decentralization process

2 - A vacillating financial and institutional framework


Conclusions and recommendations on waste management in the studied areas





1 - Train and inform

2 - Create the proper conditions for developing relevant projects

3 - Finance relevant local initiatives

4 - Build a true local partnership



Analytical synthesis of case studies on solid and/or liquid wastes in the areas of Thies (Senegal), Malindi (Kenya) and Mali.

Report prepared by Preceup.

Document written by Malick Gaye & Nestor ntahindurwa, from the ‘Relay to a Participated Urban Development’ (RUP).

Dakar, November 1998.




The first phase of Enda Tiers-Monde’s Urban Popular Environmental Economy Program (Preceup), started in 1994. This program is designed to support local initiatives in the South dealing with the urban environment and associates Enda’s local Southern units. Preceup’s support to local initiatives in the field of solid and/or liquid refuses was motivated by local governments’ deficiency in the improvement of quality of life, of public hygiene and of jobs creation in under-privileged areas. Indeed, governments lack financial and technical means for initiating sanitary projects in under-privileged areas, as well as in urban areas in general, and for improving public hygiene and job creation; thus assuring a proper quality of life for under-privileged people.

Preceup aims to test and associate various innovating experiences concerning under-privileged people’s urban environment, thus emphasizing on a confrontation of experiences and on methodological or technological transfers. The Preceup hopes these activities will conclusively prove to international organizations and local governments, that supporting popular initiatives will contribute to the definition of environmentally sound policies and economical dynamism.

This document contains an analytical synthesis of three case studies on Southern urban waste management projects.

For each case study, we present a summary and a transversal analysis. Whenever necessary, we make suggestions on how to solve the problems encountered.


Case Study (1) : Household Waste Management with the ëBokk Jomí Federation. Medina Fall area (city of Thies, Senegal)


Medina Fall area is situated at the extreme Est of Thies city, about 3 km of city center. Medina Fall’s inhabitants face social, economical and environmental problems such as poverty increase, lack of employment for the young, flooding refuse dump/public roads’ insalubrity, and deficiency of social infrastructures. In order to take up these ‘challenges’, Medina Fall’s inhabitants have organized themselves individually or collectively. The first step towards improvements was first to set a cause and effect relationship between the precariousness of children’s health (diarrhea, scabies, intestinal parasitosis...), and refuse dumps and, secondly, between refuse dumps and the deterioration of the environment (bad smells, multiplication of rats and cockroaches...).

On behalf of this, inhabitants initiated a projects on waste management. This project concerns over 30 784 inhabitants.


The main actors who participated in this project are :

1 - Community based active committees, whether organized or not within the ‘Bokk Jom’ Group of Interest (GIE). These grassroots organizations are in charge of the collecting of waste and its valorization through composting methods. They participated in the selection of methods and especially in the technology selection process. They brought modifications to the collecting processes proposed by the Enda Graf Sahel NGO (non governmental organization).

2 - The Women Federation took an active part in the project : they formulated the goals of the project and proposed methods to set them up. They also took in charge the heightening of public awareness on sanitation issues.

3 - Enda Graf Sahel NGO supports units on the technological and financial folds, in the scope of collecting, selecting, composting and valorizing wastes for urban agriculture.

4 - The UNICEF intervenes in the sanitation field in partnership with the Municipality through the medium of the Hygiene Department. The Municipality is currently running a participatory project for installing latrines and sunk draining traps.

The State takes charge of supplying water to the population and the Water Board of Senegal (Société des Eaux du Sénégal) takes charge of its exploitation.

Improving sanitation by installing latrines and sunk draining traps is based on a participated funding system run by the Management Committee of Medina Fall area. This Committee is in contact with the Hygiene Department, actual coordinator and technical supervisor of the project.


The main problem which concerned the clearing of wastes has been totally solved. Plus, the goals of this projects were achieved. These goals were to :

- encourage and valorize local initiatives from under-privileged people concerning waste collection,

- experiment and popularize composting methods from organic wastes and market gardening production,

- contribute to broaden inhabitants’ perception of their environment and to improve their resources’ management.

The most significant impact of this experiment was to reinforce management capacities of grassroots organizations. Besides, these initiatives have had an influence on surrounding neighborhoods and allowed various organizations to cooperate.


Case Study (2) : ëGreen City Movement of Malindií (Kenya). Bilateral project between the Kenyan and Dutch governments



Malindi is an ancient city located in Kenya on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Malindi includes four popular areas which lack sanitation and deals with puddles, wastes and feaces which spread in the streets. This situation contributes for instance to the reproduction of mosquitoes, vehicles for malaria, cholera...

Tourism employs more than half of the population of Malindi. The lack of sanitation and regular waste collecting is the cause of a decrease in tourism in the Municipality.

The analysis of the sanitary situation has brought the various actors of the city to set about reforming this situation by offering a healthy environment to Malindi’s inhabitants, thus upgrading their quality of life. This should be done by supplying the population with basic needs such as : access to drinking water, food, energy and a decent shelter.

The strategy used was to mobilize community groups, thus inciting them to play a role in the sanitation upgrading of town.


The selected actions which were implemented are as follow :

- increase public awareness on environmental protection,

- introduce the concept of an urban planning integrated to an environmental approach,

- list attainments on which the selected goals of the project will be based upon,

- promote cooperation between all actors concerned with sanitation issues by creating a ‘headquarters for the environment’.


The actors who took part in the project are as follow :

1 - inhabitants of areas concerned with sanitation issues, among which are found community based active committees, women and children. They were in charge of waste collecting and participated in animation and increasing public awareness,

2 - local authorities (Municipal Council, District Committee, Ministry of Local Administration in partnership with the Dutch government), are responsible for financing the project and increasing public awareness. They organize workshops and ‘Clean city’ days, in which all actors participate and give logistical support. The Municipality made things easier by voting laws.

3 - All organizations related to the tourism industry and government bodies (Kenyan Association For The Protection Of Wild Animals, hotel managers...), participated to the supplying of waste containers and of needed material for the cleaning up of beaches,

4 - Schools participate in social and cultural activities.

Every major sanitation problem was solved, housing and public health were improved. Cholera disappeared and malaria was eradicated to 63%. Over 827 m² were cleared, 354 stream water receptacles were destroyed, over 24 m of drains were cleared, over 5 200 sites (cesspools) were treated and 1 900 sites destroyed.

The ‘Green City Movement of Malindi’ had a true impact on the local level, as it allowed a consciousness raising on sanitation issues and reinforced the conviction among actors that they ought to cooperate. The project obviously had an impact on local environment. It is to be noticed that the richness of this project enabled all actors to recognize themselves in it and in its goals and created a dynamic interaction between all actors, whether local actors or institutional actors.


Lessons learned from waste management in the studied areas


Shared awareness, a key towards the success of a project

Most of the projects that were studied or identified by this program of support to local initiatives in the South, deal with the management of solid and/or liquid wastes. These projects on urban environment have to rely on partnerships with local actors.

One of the determining factor of this collaboration is the need for municipalities to stop the negative effects due to structural adjustment. Municipalities have to face their deficiencies, due to a lack of financial means, to insure a proper sanitation coverage to their populations and have allowed private actors to participate to the city’s urban management process. Actors taking part in urban management can be grassroots associations, NGOs, and eventually actors from the private sector. This cooperation between private and public actors, gives the opportunity to each partner to participate and improve upon his environment.

In the studied cases, the Municipality and community organizations have worked in partnership in improving urban environment. They both participated in defining the objectives of the project with concerned NGOs.

NGOs have only responded to the need of the populations. They acted as mediators and were very involved in activities undertaken by the community organizations.



Communication, a factor for success

Democracy and decentralization are factors which promoted partnership between actors, either from the public or community sectors, or from economic sectors; community organizations felt free to express themselves and judged the coordination work as satisfactory. They analyzed their problems, identified their needs and proposed solutions to their partners, which allowed for a dialogue between community organizations and those in charge of supporting grassroots organizations (State, Financial Backers, Non Governmental Organizations).

This ‘new freedom of speech’ gave a room for expression to usually silent or marginalized groups (women, children, illiterate people), and allowed for the upheaval of cultural blocks towards development. In Senegal, the project on the management of household waste in the area of Medina Fall (Thies ), implemented by the Bokk Jom Federation, shows how this ‘democracy’ brought women to the leadership of the project. In Mali, women participated in the conception, the operation and followed the ‘Sikki Diya’ sunk draining trap project through. Furthermore, they heightened public awareness at a time when it was thought the project would fail (delay in schedule).

This new decentralization process enables local initiatives to be duplicated. Another example of decentralization is Kenya. The ‘Green Town Movement’ waste collecting project of Malindi, participates to environmental education programs, training populations to plant flowers, etc. Decentralization also brings a real power in decision-making to municipal authorities, in comparison with central administration. Thus, actions at a local level are made easier and adapted to local needs, and contribute to partnership between actors.


The contribution made by sanitary projects to the building of a partnership

The choice of a local scale made the collaboration between municipal actors easier, i.e. mobilizing the populations is easier at a local scale.

Also, self-management projects gives the opportunity to inhabitants to take charge of themselves through the mobilization of local human and financial resources, reduces opportunism and allows a collaboration based on very technical and educational matters.

The size of an organization and the type of association made are of great importance to the starting of a project. For instance, in the ‘Green City Movement of Malindi’ project, the basic community organization is of great importance. It made its way through in sanitation management projects in Kenya. Its negotiation capacities enabled it to influence sanitation politicies. In this specific case, its participation in sanitation policies was made possible via communication and cooperation meeting in which civil society as well as municipal and State bodies are present. All community projects aim to improve inhabitants’ quality of life and help bring actors into contact.



The contribution made by technical and political components to the partnership


Generally, grassroots organizations have been operating the projects. They help increase public awareness and are responsible for the operation and management of activities.

NGOs bring specific skills in technical, communication, or training fields, and, eventually, bring intermediary financing. In Mali and Senegal, NGOs played an interface role between the various urban actors. In the Malindi project and in Mali, it was noticed that municipal authorities were willing to propose a legal, administrative and sometimes technical backup and showed they had the potential to turn an experience into a political model.

At a socio-political level, grassroots organizations of Malindi (Kenya) have found a interesting site with a high associative and economic potential; a great will from the population to cooperate; a sanitation policy and a facilitating legislation. On the other hand, in the case of the waste management project with the Bokk Jom Federation in Thies, Senegal, the NGO participating in the project found in the community a partner and future leader for the management of the project. However, in this last case, the NGO, the grassroots organizations and the municipality played an ambiguous role. The municipality is perceived as due to facilitate the proceedings of governmental policies, but its tasks, responsibilities and obligations are not well defined. In the ‘Bokk Jom’ case as well as in Mali, initiatives don’t stem from politicies but from the will of the populations to assume responsibilities for themselves. Nevertheless, support to local initiatives can also be considered as a prospective manner to implicitly set new municipal policies. In both cases, the NGO participating in the projects used the proper methodology in transformation of technological and sociological processes, from a project phase into an institutional phase.


The achievements, on a political and technological level are illustrated in the following table :

Project location

Community based active committees

Non governmental organizations


Thies, Senegal

- Process initiator

- Operating body

- Project manager

- Mediator between the NGO and the local authority

- Responsible for the heightening of popular awareness and decision-making

-Specialized backup

- Animation and training of the animation staff and the young

-Methodology and mediation


-Support and supervision activities

-Placed the land at community disposal

-Administration and administrative supervision

Malindi, Kenya

-Operating body

-Project initiator and supervisor


-Financial support

-Activities supervisor

-Decision-making in the name of depositories

-Population mobilization

-Technological, financial, political and administrative backup

-Responsible for raising popular awareness, following the project trough and controlling it


-Process initiator

-Operating body

- Decision-making

-Mediator between the international organization and the local government bodies

-Communication and animation staff training activities


-Financial support

-Project legal recognition

-Technological support



Inefficiencies in the field of waste management


Despite the attainments which lay in community based sanitation projects and the population’s will to cooperate, the lack of financial means and especially of experience in household waste management; reveals weaknesses in a relevant and efficient management of housing and environmental problems.


1 - Deficiency in the political promotion of participated management : an uncompleted decentralization process


According to the degree of difficulties municipalities have to face and to their lack of financial means, mobilizing rural population through a self-promoting process for waste management projects, seems to be the only solution left. The movement towards the creation of community rural groups is the only management style that permits to preserve ancient community values and to promote a better waste management system.

The present decentralization process in various African countries offers an opportunity to grassroots organizations and NGOs, via Community Committees and Local Committees for Development, to influence the formulation of policies and strategies on human settlements.

The local environment protection process and most especially public salubrity improvement is one of the skills that are given in the official texts to the municipality. However, the framework within which these missions must be accomplished is rarely explicitly defined. The human and financial resources are rarely transferred; municipalities often need assistance from better-equipped Ministerial services. While facing these responsibilities for waste management issues, mayors feel isolated on the technological and financial levels. This situation has repercussions on fieldwork attainments. When handling a project, mayors often feel they are competing with private or community initiatives, instead of profiting from the complementary potential of these initiatives and eventually supporting or coordinating them.

The current period of decentralization that some African countries are going through and the complexity of urban waste management, relying on a large number of actors, appears as a period during which each actor, whether institutional (at a national or local scale) or private (individuals or community organizations), seeks for its landmarks or reference points towards pre-existing actors or newly arrived actors, in a fast changing field.

In most studied cases, community actors often express themselves through Community Committees. Community Committees have members from all community groups and some even sit as administration or municipality representatives. These Committees are therefore a place of free expression and it would be relevant to transform them into platforms of coordination between the various actors of development.

Grassroots organizations weaknesses are basically due to the existing socio-economical situation of the country in which they take place.


At national level :

Most of the countries that were mentioned, suffer from a lack of well defined institutional policies on community organizations. The multiple actors participating in the projects act without coordination and the planning to apply to national waste management policies is virtually non-existent. The success of actions linked to waste management will rely on well-defined limits of each actor’s function. Also, many activities which ought to be put into practice by community groups are left with and carried out by State bodies or semi-public organizations.


At community groups level :

Community groups suffer from a lack of organization, functioning and management skills. These groups are often too small to adopt a professional type of management, and thus remain small in size. They often limit their activities to pre-collecting and composting stages. They work under a ‘waste collecting point’ functioning method, rather than as independent enterprises. These groups remain isolated while they should adopt a vertical functioning integration to the system. Their social capital stays poor which denies them credibility and access to bank credit.



2 - A vacillating financial and institutional framework

On a financial point of view, the general practice is the collection of a waste-collecting tax by the taxation authorities, assigned to the municipal budget. However, this tax is of little fiscal yield. As a consequence, municipalities don’t have the financial means to propose the waste-collecting public service to which inhabitants are entitled. In response to the effective lack of proper sanitation coverage, numerous newly born groups get organized into waste collection organizations, in exchange for a direct wage. This new practice in rarely supervised by local authorities and might lead to social inequality as well as conflicts of power and interest. Thus, the quality and efficiency of these practices is not yet clear, whether placed at a local level (as a means towards local population quality of life’s improvement), at a regional level (according to the urban general background), or national level (especially compared to its environmental context).


Conclusions and recommendations on waste management in the studied areas


The cases studied concerning waste management by NGOs and community groups in Mali, Thies (Senegal) and Kenya gives us hope about reducing the amount of rubbish dumps.

The analysis of the three case-studies draws the following conclusion :

1. Educational and information programs increase the population’s participation rate and the profits on collected and recycled materials.

2. National administrations can promote selective waste collecting and recycling systems via a national public sanitation policy; actions linked with environmental improvement; specific interventions destined to motivate and support community groups, which have shown a great potential for improving the local population’s way of life.

3. Community groups can take the waste collecting process in charge, when they are supported by local and national administration and coherently organized (as in the example of Kenya). The total collecting cost can be appreciably reduced if this stage management is left to community groups who use a cheap or gratuitous labor.

4. Furthermore, decentralization stands as the only determining element, eventhough many national and even local authorities refuse to delegate their powers (as in the example of Thies, Senegal), for financial and political reasons.




The urban waste issue has the advantage and disadvantage to appear as a common problem, which can be daily seen by anyone and to which everybody has a simple solution to offer. However, despite all stands that were taken in all three cases concerning salubrity, the problem is far from being totally solved !

The various component parts of the relationships between partners in waste management (whether NGOs, municipalities, decentralized ministerial services, or community organizations), are closely interdependent. Thus, any change occurring in one component necessarily has consequences on the other.


In consequence, the following recommendations can be made :


1 - Train and inform

Local actors (NGOs, community groups, municipalities...), are barely informed of the scope of the agreements made and of the necessary arrangements to make in order to have these agreements applied. Concerning waste management, it is interesting to notice that this issue is essentially viewed on a sanitary point of view (mosquito larva and multiplication locations, bad smells, esthetically pleasing sceneries...). This situation isn’t very surprising if you consider that waste services are run by sanitation engineers. The actual waste pre-collecting and collecting system which consists in getting rid of wastes in streets and replacing them in rubbish dumps, only defers the problem from city centers to outer fringe urban areas (usually to a neighboring village), and thus only transfers pollution from one place to the other. Unfortunately, uncontrolled rubbish dumps produces greenhouse gas such as methane. In such an context, a training support to municipal technicians is essential. The success of sanitation projects can only be possible if the contribution of each actor is clearly defined. Contractual agreements must be made in order to define the content and limits of actors’ attributions, enabling a better cooperation and an official recognition of the participants’ role and the relevance of the projects they are working on.



2 - Create the proper conditions for developing relevant projects

The composting activities which are run in most studied cases participate in solving waste management problems in these locations. Indeed :

- At the economical level, producing compost reduces the quantity of waste that has to be carried in order to be buried in the ground and thus reduces transport costs;

- At the agricultural level, compost enriches the soil and improves land yields;

- At a social level, the ‘waste management’ stage creates direct (composting team, garbage men) and indirect (market gardeners) employment;

- At the environmental level, local pollution is reduced (bad smells vanish), and compost reduces the emission of methane.


In all three cases, there isn’t any decentralized composting experience, supported by municipality. All actions occurring in the case-studies are initiated by NGOs and community groups. Because of a lack of support, these actions are limited in time and in space (geographically). These relevant actions should be granted local support, by :

- Clearly defining, however in a flexible manner, a legal framework concerning the processing and operating stages of these activities. This official status will enable participants to receive financial aid from financial backers, the State or municipalities.

- Bringing a financial support to these actions in order to perpetuate them. This implies the need for a clear formulation of an inclusive program on waste management, as well as a coordination framework of institutional actors which will not hush up their initiatives.

- Arousing collaboration between the various actors...


3 - Finance relevant local initiatives

In most studied cases, waste management is financed from an household waste collecting tax (TEOM), which amount remains very low in some cases, compared to the real management cost of this service.

In order to promote relevant practices, the State could create a public body with legal and financial autonomy, which would aim, for instance, to finance works from municipal or inter-municipal investment and cover municipal or community groups training costs. The financial resources of this public body would come from municipal contribution and State grants. In this matter, the State’s duty would be to decide on what tax to levy and its amount (tax on products’ sale (gasoline, beer, games...), on wastes, effluent, sewers, overflow permits). This strategy will give polluters the required flexibility and encouragement towards the more profitable way to attain the set objectives in waste management matters. These taxes will permit the reduction of the waste production, while producing waste will provide financial support to sanitation projects.


4 - Build a true local partnership

This supposes all actors are able to define their fellow participants’ function, that there will be no conflict between actors and that they will count on their complementary functions. It also supposes there would be work for everyone and that all partners should only accept to work together if there is sufficient transparency in the management of local matters. In order to build this local partnership, all actors should be identified and involved in the reflection processes as well as in the actions put into place. A local communication and cooperation body should be created, which duty would be to perpetuate the actions engaged and to prepare for the actions to come.

As already said, the problems encountered arise from a lack of coordination between the main actors involved and the deficiency in an inclusive waste management policy. A partnership should be engaged between civil society actors (inhabitants, households, local development associations...). This partnership should be organized in such a manner that social matters surpass other matters and favor only afterwards economic matters in order to financially support local actions.

In all cases, genuine experiences have arise from community groups’ initiatives, concerning proximity urban services. First, community participation led to a communication and coordination process between inhabitants and to the definition of local needs. Then, solutions were proposed and eventually put into practice. It’s at this point that financial support was granted in the case of Thies. Trough these experiences, populations have learned to pose and answer themselves questions such as : ‘what should be done ?’ [ in order to improve the neighborhood’s quality of life] ; ‘with what means ?’; ‘who will pay for what ?’ and ‘how ?’.

The role played by dynamic community groups continues beyond the identification of the needs and the setting of methods of intervention. This dynamic component becomes a link between individuals in order to communicate and diffuse information, improve behavior patterns, incite regular payment for the services performed, control the quality of the services’ performance, and prepare the proper social background for new urban services’ performances.