MONROVIA – Cities Alliance Liberia has ended an intensive eight-day capacity development training workshop for 60 representatives of Community Based Enterprises CBEs) and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Liberia’s solid waste management sector (SWM).
The training, which was part of the last phase of a four-year program of activities being implemented by Cities Alliance, was funded by the European Union and aimed at enhancing the technical capacity and knowhow of CBEs and SMEs in the SWM sector of Greater Monrovia.
Within the scope of the program, Cities Alliance contracted, FORBIS Institute Ghana Limited with its local partner, Evergreen Recycling Institute of Liberia to facilitate and deliver a training workshop on Composting and Recycling for the CBEs and SMEs.
The objective was to help participants explore innovative ways of improving and adopting the best practices of the 3Rs (Reduce, Re-use, Recycle) and also develop business approaches to the Solid Waste Management supply chain towards delivering climate resilient solid waste management services in Greater Monrovia through CBEs.
The training aimed at preparing participants to engage and partner with the Government of Liberia, Cities Alliance, the public and public institutions in “Delivering Climate Resilient Solid Waste Management Services in Greater Monrovia, Liberia through community based enterprises.”
Participants were taken through theoretical and practical sessions of composting and recycling using both organic and plastic wastes. Key areas covered among others include: Introduction to solid waste management, Policies and regulations governing the solid waste management sector in Liberia, Importance or resource (waste) recovery and reuse, Understanding plastic and composting operations, and Understanding social and environmental sustainability (Health and Safety).
The practical sessions took place at the composting and recycling site of Evergreen Recycling Institute of Liberia at Paynesville, where the CEO, Mr John Smith took participants through the steps he uses to produce fuel from plastic waste.
In order to attain the objectives of the workshop, the consultant, FORBIS Institute Limited ensured that the training relied more on group activities, case scenario, and exercises that placed participants’ individual experience into the perspectives of best practices in the solid waste and management value chain by incentivizing groups that came out with the best solutions to the questions posed, thus preparing them to better engage the communities they represent by making good use of their newly acquired technical capacity.
The training ended on Tuesday, 1 March with a post-training evaluation session during which all the participants expressed their appreciation to the Government of Liberia, Cities Alliance and Partners, as well as to the facilitators for the opportunity accorded them to go through the training.
Many said that the training provided to them was unique and more engaging than any they had attended in the past in that they were given more space and time to relate their experiences and learn from their colleagues during the group works and exercises.
Many also intimated that they now understand that there is value in waste and were certain and convinced to go into composting and recycling as a means not only to generate income, but also to create employment and reduce the environmental sanitation problems caused by the increasing volume of waste generated.
Speaking at the official closing ceremony at a local hotel in Monrovia, the Country Program Manager of Cities Alliance Liberia, Mr. Francisco Juarez Lopez expressed his delight at the successful conclusion of the training workshop in composting and recycling which, according to him, was a very important step within the solid waste management system toward the delivery of climate resilient solid waste management services in Greater Monrovia.
He recalled the various trainings Cities Alliance had organized in the past for CBEs and SMEs on human resource and financial management as a way of strengthening their capacities, and expressed the hope that the participants would now be able to put into practice the technical knowledge acquired to establish and run their own enterprises; adding that all that they have learnt would amount to nothing if they could not put it into practice.
Lopez also encouraged the participants to remain united and form workable partnerships as members of the National Association of Community-based Enterprises (NACOBEs) in order to attract microfinance loans and funds from donor agencies, Cities Alliance and partners.
Various personalities including the president of NACOBE, Mr. Saah Kendemah II, shared their thoughts on the training workshop and the impact it would make on their lives and on their communities.
Kendemah renewed the appeal he made at the beginning of the training to the Government of Liberia and Cities Alliance to provide a waste transfer and recycling unit for CBEs and SMEs in the Greater Monrovia area in order to make their work easier and less cumbersome.
The director of the Solid Waste Management Department at the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), Mr. Arthur Campbell assured the participants of Government’s collaboration through enabling environment and policy guide for environmental sanitation and sustainability.
The representative of the Swedish embassy, Mr. Prince Johnson conveyed the support of the Swedish ambassador to participants and encouraged them to ensure that the knowledge they had gained during the training period is not wasted, but rather should be put into practice in order to ensure a clean city.
For his part, Mr. Harold Assou-Dodji, the lead training consultant and Executive Director of FORBIS Institute Ghana, expressed his appreciation to the participants for their constant engagement and the passion they demonstrated throughout the training period.
He re-echoed the advice of the director of municipal solid waste department to participants to engage one another through partnerships in order to succeed in their business ventures. He expressed his gratitude to Cities Alliance and partners, as well as the Evergreen Recycling Institute of Liberia for the opportunity to partner with them in delivering the composting and recycling training to members of NACOBEs and assured participants of post-training technical and business advisory services.
Speaking on behalf of Mrs Paulita C.C. Wie who is the deputy minister for Urban Affairs at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and also chair of the CBEs and SMEs Micro Loan Technical Committee, Mr. Isaac Wilson, thanked Cities Alliance and partners for the support provided CBEs and SMEs in the solid waste sector of Liberia over the years and assured participants of government’s continuous engagement with the communities to enable them discharge their responsibilities effectively.
He urged them to ensure that the knowledge gained from the training is put to use in their day-to-day activities in order to improve the solid waste management sector of the city and the country at large.
Certificates and special awards were given to participants at the closing ceremony. Ms. Josephine Sackie received the favorite participant award for her constant engagement and contributions throughout the workshop while Mr. Joe Cole received the knowledge-sharing award for contributing for sharing his knowledge and practical experience during the workshop.