Involving communities and encouraging ownership
Since 2011, more of the world’s population live in urban than rural areas. Many of these new urban settlers are driven from the countryside by poverty and end up in makeshift houses in unplanned slum areas. Such areas usually lack clean water, basic sanitation and waste collection and are a low priority for local authorities with limited budgets.
Practical Action has approached this growing problem by working with communities to find sustainable ways of providing them with these essential services. By addressing the issues of the community as whole, rather than piecemeal, solutions can deliver multiple benefits.
The twin goals are to improve services for poor people, and generate income for small businesses providing that service. By helping communities to work together with local authorities and utility companies, Practical Action has helped to ensure that these agencies understand the needs of the community as a whole. As a result significant progress was made towards achieving sustainable services.
The project approach
Community waste management in Zimbabwe
Most local authorities in Zimbabwe struggle to provide adequate levels of urban services and the urban poor are left to contend with waste disposal on their own, which has serious consequences for their health and environment. Thousands of tonnes of solid waste end up in open dumps, contaminating water and posing a major health hazard.
Practical Action has been working in the Chitungwiza, Epworth and Mbare areas in partnership with communities and local authorities, to use an integrated approach to address the waste management challenges facing these settlements.
The six-member CNM Environmental Group was formed in 2005, and provides waste collection services and recycling for about 1200 households in the very poor area of Epworth.The low waste collection levels in the area have triggered widespread illegal dumping and backyard incineration, with negative effects on the environment and the health of residents.
Cosmas Rongoti, Chairperson of the Group, describes the project; “Using pushcarts, we started collecting waste in Ward 5 in 2006 after receiving training from Practical Action. We initially started off servicing 960 households in the Ward, but the number increased to 1200 at the beginning of 2007. We receive $760,000 from the Board every month.”
An agreement with the Epworth Local Board has resulted in the group receiving 50% of the levies paid by households for waste collection services. The ELB has also reviewed refuse collection rates, which has given the group a better income and they are expanding their activities to cover more households.
Local authorities like the Harare Municipality are now seeking non-conventional ways of waste management such as partnering with private waste management companies with this project providing a test case for the inclusion of communities in waste management solutions.
This brief looks at some of the issues of participatory planning in general and what differences might be found between urban participatory planning and rural participatory planning.
Participatory Urban Planning toolkit based on the Kitale experience
A guide to community-based action planning for effective infrastructure and services delivery, based on project work undertaken in Kitale, Kenya.
Promoting Examples Of Participatory Local Empowerment in Urban Planning (PEOPLE-UP) baseline report
The project seeks to improve the living conditions of poor and marginalised urban and peri-urban residents in Zimbabwe by accessing and sustaining basic municipal and infrastructure services.
Participatory Extension Approaches (PEA) in Zimbabwe
This booklet on Participatory Extension Approaches (PEA) has been updated with the contribution of a National PEA Core Team made up of staff from Practical Action Southern Africa, the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and the Zimbabwe Farmers Union. Special mention goes to the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to the Republic of Zimbabwe and Practical Action Southern Africa for the provision of resources to fund the review and production of the Second Edition of the PEA booklet. Practical Action Southern Africa also extends their appreciation to the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development for endorsing the review of the PEA process since September 2009. Recognition also goes to Kuda Murwira and Dr. Evison Moyo for technically supporting the reproduction of this booklet.
Consensus building with participatory action plan development
This guide, adapted and tested by Practical Action in Bangladesh and Sudan, sets out an approach to community planning that intends to build local consensus to help people manage and improve their livelihood options
Mapping the market: participatory market chain development in practice
Market mapping is an approach to describe the market systems involving small-scale producers; the value chain, together with support services and the business environment affecting the chain.