Tackling Waste: Cities Alliance Donates to Small Sanitation Firms In Liberia

Three community based sanitation firms and the national association of community based enterprises received start-up kits

Paynesville – The Cities Alliance Liberia Country Programme with funding from the European Union (EU) has delivered starter kits to three Community Based Enterprises sanitation firms and the National Association of Community Based Enterprises (NACOBE).

These CBEs are operating in the primary waste “hot spot areas” of Red Light market light Market, West point community and Clara town.

The donation intends to help support primary waste collection and to address some of the logistical challenges the CBEs face during the rainy season.

The provision of the starter kits was based on the earlier logistical needs highlighted by the CBEs during the capacity building workshop addressing solid waste management in the rainy season and reducing the impact of climate change hosted by Cities Alliance on 18th October 2018 in Monrovia.

Speaking on Tuesday January 22 after the presenting the equipment to the CBEs, Francisco Juarez, program head of Cities Alliance, stressed that CBEs are vital to the waste management of any city and they should be supported in order to tackle waste.

“I believe Community Based Enterprises are private enterprises but with a community based approach. That’s the big difference and I think that’s the system that has to be really strengthen,” Juarez said.

The donation of the starter kits, which comprised of rain gears, gloves, rakes and shovels, is under the EU funded project ” Delivering Climate-Resilient Solid Waste Management Services in Greater Monrovia.”

The project, among other things, seeks to address the immediate health, social and economic effects of climate change by building on the long-term support to the Government of Liberia to achieve the objectives set out in global agendas, including the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA/GCCA+) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Cities Alliance, which is partner of cities across the world, focuses on global partnership for urban poverty reduction promoting and strengthening the role of cities in sustainable development.

It also offers support to cities and development partnerships to foster effective local government, promoting an active citizenship and encouraging pro-poor public and private investment.

One of the three CBEs recived a tricycle, which will be used to collect waste from communities where it operates

Waste management remains a serious concern for Monrovia and Paynesville cities. Statistics have shown that only 40 percent of waste produced daily in Paynesville and Monrovia are properly disposed before the end of day.

In Paynesville, a city with approximately 440,000 people, each person creates an estimated 0.6 kilogram of solid waste a day, which amounts to an approximate total of 264,000 kilogram daily.

And with less than 40 percent of this collected and disposed, Cities Alliance project is hoping that CBEs increase the collection and disposal of waste to 60 percent within the next couple of months.

Mr. Lopez pledged his institution’s (Cities Alliance) full support towards the CBEs and NACOBE progress, urging them to effectively manage solid waste collection and engage directly with the city corporations to promote an integrated solid waste management system in Liberia.

Said Mr. Lopez: “It’s a very inclusive module because it brings together the municipality which in this case the city corporations, the private sector and the community leaders and also the international corporations. So, it’s a module where everyone is participating and a way to tackle waste in our cities.”

Vera Kellen, the European Union representative attending the event, lauded the presence of Monrovia City Corporation, Paynesville City Corporation, Environmental Protection Agency and the CBEs for attending the event and also urged the CBEs to directly engage households at the community level in sorting and management of waste.  

The turning over of the equipment to the CBEs was preceded by a short in door program held in the offices of the Liberia Business Association in Paynesville City

For his part, James N. Strother, president of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), described the donation as “historic for the waste sector,” adding that his association will continue to support “indigenous Liberian businesses by advocating for them”.

Mr. Strother called for more government’s support through subsidies to CBEs in order to enhance sustainable solid waste management in the country.

The LIBA president, who also owns a waste disposal company, emphasized the need for CBEs to collaborate with stakeholders such as Cities Alliance and European Union and work in the waste sector to add value to waste collected through recycling and composting.

“Let us hold together to avoid foreigners from taking over our waste sector, If we can put our business together, those that helping us will be happy to continue,” Strother said.

The outgoing and incoming presidents of NACOBE thanked the donors for the support, and they stressed how the cost of procuring equipment remains a challenge for many CBEs.

“Let us be focus with what we are doing and more will come. The success of these three CBEs will open doors to the 22 CBEs and more will come, but we need performance. Let us not do it the Liberian way,” said J. Saah Joe Kandemah, incoming president of the NACOBE.