Liberia: Tackling Poor Waste Management Partners Call For Community-Driven Approach

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Monrovia – UNDP Liberia Resident Representative and the Office of the Mayor of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) in collaboration with the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) in Liberia on 13 August launched a Cash for Work clean-up exercise covering 11 communities in Monrovia and its surroundings to help tackle the issue of poor waste management, while providing short-term income to support livelihood for vulnerable populations and marginalized communities targeting 400 youth, including Women.

Resident Representative Stephen Rodriques the Director General for Special Services, Frederick Cole and the Chief of Office Staff at the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) Franco Grimes led the launch in Monrovia on the theme “Promoting Community’s Stewardship for Waste Management in Monrovia.”

“The Government of Liberia and the City of Monrovia can bring about all the good laws and city ordinances to keep Monrovia and Liberia clean. However, it is ultimately up to the people of this country to accept personal responsibility to keep their environment clean and beautiful; and I strongly believe that change can be led by you, the youth assembled here today,’ said Rodriques.

He emphasized that UNDP is trusting in the commitment of the community leaders and the corps of volunteers enrolled in this program to work with the MCC and other stakeholders in sustaining the initiative.

“The launch of this community-led clean- up campaign to deal with the situation of waste in Monrovia starts with each one of us. I also urge everyone to continue to work within their own communities to encourage friends, neighbors, and families to understand the role the whole community can play in protecting the environment. Not just today, but every day,” Rodriques stressed.

He congratulated the volunteers for signing up for the program and hoped the project grows beyond the benchmark of enhancing cleanliness and promoting a clean, green, and safe city.

The current situation of waste in Monrovia remains an environmental and health concern for members of households that may suffer waste borne diseases due to poor waste management. There is evidence that shows a linear correlation between waste management challenges and people’s livelihood.

MCC Chief of Office Staff Franco Grimes said the cash-for-work project will enable the Monrovia City Corporation to encourage cleanliness in close relations with the communities.

Grimes reminded community leaders of their responsibility to help mobilize residents to take the lead in clean up campaigns making the process a personal responsibility that must start from the homes.

“The issue of waste is a challenge that requires a collective approach in addressing it but more importantly it starts with the community which must take it head-on and own it,” Grimes noted.

The Cash for Work programme is part of UNDP and the Government of Liberia Livelihood & Employment Creation Project that promotes access to income for vulnerable population including youth, women, and persons with disabilities.

The project working closely with community leaderships and the MCC Community Service and Solid Waste Management Departments, has enrolled four hundred community volunteers from the targeted 11 communities that are currently challenged due to limited coverage by existing waste collection schemes.

The beneficiaries were selected following a transparent and participatory raffle process that ensured gender balance.

The community volunteers between the ages of 18-35 years were selected from Jallah Town, Slipway, Vai Town, Plumkor, West Point, PHP, Saye Town, Capitol Hill, Buzzy Quarter, God Bless You Community, Braf and People’s United Community.

Over the next twenty days, the volunteers will participate in the collection of waste, cleaning of the beaches and riverbank areas to support improving waste management and sanitation in their communities. They will receive a daily stipend of US5.00 dollars, amounting to US100.00 over the 20-day period.

UNDP Programme Coordinator for the project E. Abraham Tumbey Jr., said the initiative started with discussions between the UNDP, MCC the United Nations Volunteer Program and leaders of the communities about mitigating the risks associated with waste in Monrovia and its environs using a public-private sector approach.

To ensure sustainability of the intervention, UNDP is providing a consignment of tools for each of the communities. The communities will be linked with private waste entrepreneurs like Hysaa Inc. and Evergreen companies that will be purchasing plastic waste for recycling purposes.

Communities will also be linked with community-based enterprises to support house-to-house waste collection while the leadership of the communities have committed to have the volunteers retained in the form of community volunteer corps to lead the charge on waste management in their communities.

“We believe the community can sustain the project by adding commercial value to plastic waste,” Tumbey noted.

In addition to cash incomes, the communities will own and manage tools procured by the project to use for routine clean-up campaigns.

The UNV programme is supporting community mobilization and coordination, strategic oversight and supervision for monitoring and evaluation, while the MCC will work with community supervisors to support planning, daily monitoring and supervision of the work and to increase a sense of ownership and volunteerism for managing waste collection and sanitation in the ten communities.

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