On (16 May, 2017), Operation Clean Freetown will move several steps forward, as the 46 youth groups who have completed their training in household waste management, take possession of their new motorised tricycles and other equipment from Freetown City Council (FCC) and the Western Area Rural District Council (WARDC). A further 56 OCF waste management businesses are in the final stages of training.
The Mayor of the Freetown City Council, His Worship Franklin Bode Gibson and the Chairman of WARDC, Councillor Alhassan Cole will formally hand over the equipment in a short ceremony to be held in Kingtom, Freetown. Also in attendance will be the Chief of Staff, Saidu Conton Sesay, British High Commissioner, Guy Warrington, Ward Councillors, the President’s Delivery Team, representatives from the Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Health and other key stakeholders.
Operation Clean Freetown is an initiative under the President’s Recovery Priorities, aimed at improving public health in the city through better waste management. It is funded by UK AID and the Government of Sierra Leone and led by FCC and WARDC, in collaboration with the President’s Delivery Team, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Freetown WASH consortium.
Under OCF, household waste management will be provided by trained and equipped door-to-door waste collection businesses. These have been formed by young people in their communities. As part of the process, they are provided with 15-months of business development support, as well as waste collection equipment. The motorised tricycles will be used by the youth groups to collect waste from households who have registered as customers, and transport it to a transit point from where it will be collected by Masada in Freetown or the Community Cleaning Association in WARDC and taken to the dumpsite. Households will be charged Le 2,000 for each ricebag full of bag full of solid waste collected.
“Household waste is a serious problem in cities around the world, and it is especially challenging in rapidly growing cities such as Freetown, where resources are tight. I am delighted that so many young people in Freetown have come together to seize this opportunity to clean their capital, and establish businesses in waste collection. The UK is proud to support training and equipment for these new enterprises, and in particular funding the motorised tricycles which will be essential for the collection of household waste. I urge everyone in Freetown to support these young people in making a cleaner and healthier city.” said British High Commissioner, Guy Warrington.
In each youth group, a designated tricycle driver with a valid vehicle license, is required to undergo a special three-day training programme, which includes driving, road safety and basic maintenance for the motorised tricycles.
Mayor Franklin Bode Gibson explained that the training received by the youth group entrepreneurs was important in preparing them for the responsible delivery of their duties and proper maintenance of their equipment. He added: “As a city we are not used to organised door to door collection and transfer by a local contractor to a local collection point. However, in the coming months, the Operation Clean Freetown Tricycles will become a familiar sight in our streets. Door to door household waste collection is more convenient, creates jobs and enables a more organised and efficient process, if everyone plays their part.”
The tricycles will remain the property of FCC and WARDC, who will also oversee the activities of the youth groups through their Ward Committees.
“This is another milestone in our recovery efforts. Waste continues to present a serious threat to the health of our citizens. The government realises we need a sustainable strategy to combat the waste problem. We look forward to seeing Operation Clean Freetown and these new waste collection enterprises become part of the solution,” says the Chief of Staff, Saidu Conton Sesay.