102 youth groups sign MOUs with FCC and Ward Councillors to operate new door-to-door waste collection service As part of a soon-to-be launched cleaning and rubbish collection service, representatives of 102 youth groups, who are being trained and supported to set up door-to-door waste collection businesses in Freetown, met with councillors, Sam Franklyn Bode Gibson, the Mayor of Freetown and Alhassan Cole, Chairman of Western Area Rural District Council today (12 April 2017) to sign MOUs setting out the responsibilities of each party.
Operation Clean Freetown (OCF) is an initiative under the President’s Recovery Priorities, funded by the Government of Sierra Leone and UKAID. It is aimed at reducing the risk of epidemics by improving solid waste management in the city. It is being delivered by Freetown City Council and Western Area Rural District Council (WARDC), who are collaborating with the President’s Delivery Team, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS), the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Freetown WASH Consortium. It targets 49 Wards in Western Area Urban and 11 Wards in WARDC; and will create jobs for over 1000 young people.
In the first and current phase, the waste management infrastructure is improved. This includes flattening and compacting the dumpsites at Kingtom and Granville to make more space. During this phase youth groups are equipped and trained as waste collection micro-enterprises.
In the second phase, households are required to sign up with a door-to-door rubbish collection service. Communities are also encouraged to participate in an intensive ward level cleaning process, which will target two wards every two days over a 30-day period.
The final phase focuses on sustainability. It will include enforcement of by-laws and provide ongoing business development support to the youth group waste collection enterprises so that they have every chance of becoming economically viable.
Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, President’s Delivery Team Lead explained that each youth group would sign a MOU with a Ward Councillor and the FCC (represented by Mayor Gibson). She said: “These MOUs are intended to help Operation Clean Freetown (OCF) improve solid waste management in the Western Area. They summarise the project and the rights and obligations of Freetown City Council, WARD C, the Ward Development Committees, and the youth group waste collection businesses.”
During the MOU signing, Mayor Gibson congratulated the youth group representatives saying: “You didn’t have work, but you wanted to work. Now you have the opportunity to develop a thriving business in Freetown’s waste management sector. This initiative creates work for over 1000 young people and we will continue to support it until we know that your businesses are sustainable.”
Chairman Alhassan Cole of WARDC told the youth groups that waste management was more than a business; it was an opportunity to contribute to better public health: “When we consider how much waste there is on the streets, in the gutters and in our waterways, the cause of so much of the city’s ill health becomes clear. Waste management is more than a business opportunity, it is a challenge for to you to tackle the mosquitoes, vermin and flies that cause sickness in our city and its environs.”
Concluding the event, Mayor Gibson said: “As Sierra Leoneans we have failed at waste management. Now it looks like we are on the right track. Now we have the chance to show that we love our districts, communities and city streets. Now we have the chance to reduce the incidence of illness and disease by cleaning our environment. The plan developed by the President’s Delivery Team is a detailed road map to a cleaner city which we can all take responsibility for. For the health of our city, we cannot afford to fail.”
The training of the youth groups continues with data collection training on the 18th April and tricycle training on the 19th and 20th April.