MANAGEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD WASTE IN SANDIARA: ENGAGEMENT OF WOMEN’S ASSOCIATIONS AND MUNICIPAL SUPPORT

Amadou Hamath Dia, Ndeye Absa Diop

Abstract


This article illustrates the experience of Sandiara, a small rural municipality in Thiès Region in the centre of Senegal regarding the management of household waste. The practice revolves around two principal entities : a federation of several women’s groups and the municipality itself in its role as the local public actor.  The management of household waste is a problem everywhere in Senegal, and like many other municipalities, Sandiara suffers from this problem. Travelling along the national highway, plastic bags, biodegradable waste and every other sort of garbage are visible everywhere. Every Saturday, this small municipality holds a local market which is one of the most well-known in the centre-west of the country. Vendors from surrounding villages come to sell their products producing a significant quantity of garbage that accumulates and attracts flies and other insects that are vectors of many transmissible diseases, posing a real health danger for the population.

Given this reality, the local women’s groups, in collaboration with the association Diante Bou Bes decided to take charge of this situation. The association Diante Bou Bes provided the materials necessary for the garbage collection. At that point, the municipality became involved, by putting in place a municipal action plan for household waste management. Once this alliance was created, a pilot committee to follow up the action plan was put in place with the task of monitoring the cleaning process in each neighbourhood and the collection and evacuation of garbage in the depots.

The social innovation introduced by the pilot committee was a form of co-financing at the neighbourhood level, leading the local population to contribute to and take charge of a local public service that typically is based exclusively on public management and finances. Each neighbourhood contribution was used to purchase garbage cans for inhabitants that did not have one and to partially cover salaries of municipal cleaning personnel, constituting a local tax for garbage removal.

The interest of this practice lies above all in the multidimensional aspect of its positive fallout. The hygiene of the neighbourhoods was much improved with remarkable effects on their image. The joint management of household waste has also reinforced a sense of social cohesion and a spirit of citizenship among the population. From a health perspective, the reduction of certain diseases has resulted in the dispensing of fewer medications. And from a social standpoint, the practice has contributed to an increased civic sentiment and greater social cohesion thanks to its participatory approach and the massive implication of local women.

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