Lusaka generates more than one million tons of waste annually, according to the city’s Waste Management Unit (WMU). Households generate 2 to 3 kgs of waste per day. Lusaka City Council laboured to collect waste in the peri urban, only half was disposed at designated dump site.
Keepers Zambia Foundation was supported by USAID Millennium Challenge Account Zambia to implement a Solid Waste Management Project. The project’s aim was to contribute to improved Solid Waste Management (SWM) services to more than 53, 000 people living in the two peri-urban areas of Lusaka (Chipata and Ng’ombe townships). To achieve this, Self-Help Groups (SHGs) comprising mostly women were equipped with waste management skills and knowledge such as segregation of waste materials, selling of recycle materials. Six individuals were trained in business acumen of collecting waste from households and disposing it at council designated dumping site. These Community Based Enterprises (CBEs) are charging households at an affordable fee of about K3.00 (30 cents) per household.The CBEs have employed other community members in the waste management collection and on average each CBEs earn more than K4, 000 (USD400) profit per month.
The women groups are using plastics bags to make door mats and handbags, and high density plastics are sold to recycling companies. This has created incomes for unemployed elderly women, youth, and widows, divorced, disabled, and female headed households. They are earning on average K2000 (USD 200)per month. The women are using the money for buying food, and paying school fees.
Women groups are also serving as savings groups, they save money weekly or monthly depending on the agreed membership contribution.The money is either saved in a mobile banking account like Airtel money or kept by the group treasurer. This money is used to buy materials for making more products and above all the savings are also meant to assist group members with small loans to start small businesses. The women are also sensitising community members against indiscriminate disposal of waste.
All this has been achieved within one year, to sustain these activities; KZF will continue providing capacity building and mentorship to both SHGs and CBEs