Dauson Jeremiah is the acting Municipal Environmental Officer in Morogoro Municipality, Tanzania. He shares how through the implementation of proper solid waste management systems; the environment and the community have improved markedly thanks to the Taka ni Mali project.
"I first heard of Taka ni Mali in 2014", says Dauson. Swisscontact visited the Municipal Council office and informed us about the project and how it was changing the way the community perceived waste by creating economic opportunities in the waste collection and recycling sector. "We were already involved with the Community Based Organisations (CBOs) who took up the role of waste collection from the household level to the collection points, but our engagement was not seamless and gratifying. The Municipal Council was and still is responsible for transferring the waste from the CBO collection point to the principal landfill", explains Dauson.
"The relationship between Taka ni Mali and the Municipal Council has been beneficial in so many ways," says Dauson, "the council didn’t have proper solid waste management systems before the Taka ni Mali initiative commenced. We used to dig holes in different locations and dump the waste there or burn it. We also used to take large waste quantities to the dumpsite, approximately 345 tons. We had no idea that waste had economic value but thanks to the initiative, we do now. I can confidently tell you that the council is not dumping as much as we used to at the site. The CBOs have also been empowered to sort waste."
"The project has strengthened the council’s capacity in managing waste. We have been able to acquire a tractor which we use to collect waste and ferry it to the main dumpsite from the different collection points. We have also been able to collaborate with a local autocycle company to purchase toyo autocycles to help in waste collection.
At the council, many staff have gained technical knowledge on how to implement proper solid management systems and the significance of policy in environmental conservation. These workshops were facilitated by Swisscontact."
Consequently, Morogoro Municipality has been able to change their policy and have introduced a law that requires residents to pay a small fee of CHF 0.09, which goes to pay for the beautification and sanitation of the city.
"The environment is so clean and beautiful now. People feel obligated to keep it that way. Some even take their disposables to the dumpsites themselves. It is great to see such consciousness in preserving the environment."
"Before, people weren’t aware. Now they know what to recycle, what to compost and what goes straight to the dumpsite. We all know," Dauson adds with a chuckle. "As an Environmental Officer at the council, I’m happy to see that."
"It has been a great few years of learning about proper solid waste management systems."
"We started with 18 community-based groups under the Taka ni Mali project," says Dauson. "Now we have 63 groups and two registered companies working with us. KIUM Cleaners, one of our partner companies has 32 employees while Mali Cleaners has employed over 15 people to support waste management activities. Swisscontact trained all of them on the economic opportunities available in waste management, linked them to financial institutions to enable them to acquire protective gear, as well as their tools of trade like wheelbarrows, and I hear soon, they plan to buy tuk-tuks. These were people who were always idle and now thanks to the Taka ni Mali project, they’re improving their standards of living all while keeping the environment clean."
"As a council, we’re thrilled that the project began in our municipality. It has been a great few years of learning about proper solid waste management systems. Our people have also benefited a lot because they are now able to not only identify but also exploit the economic opportunities of the sector. We plan to continue collaborating with the different stakeholders and to use the skills imparted to us and the lessons learned for a long time to come."
Taka ni Mali is an urban climate-smart project that purposed to develop economic opportunities in the solid waste collection and recycling sub-sector while reducing environmental degradation and health risks through the creation of efficient and sustainable Solid Waste Management (SWM) systems. The first phase was implemented between 2013 and 2016 in Morogoro Municipality, Tanzania and was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Puma Energy Foundation. Because of its success, the initiative was extended to Mwanza in a second phase funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Republic and Canton of Geneva (2017 -2018).