Sierra Leone happens to be one of the most vulnerable climate changes affected countries in the world. Poorly constructed roads and drainages triggers destructive flooding’s during the peak of the rainy season. Citizens’ vulnerability is further compounded by the rampant dumping of plastic wastes all over bigger cities; and when there is heavy downpour of rains, the gutters are flooded leading to catastrophic consequences especially for poor people living in slum communities. In addition to environment and disaster risks, deprived slum communities face economic stagnation especially acute in this post Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) period. The 2016 human development report recorded 53% income poverty and 77% multi-dimensional poverty in Sierra Leone. Poverty is concentrated among urban slums and rural communities.
UNDP implemented a project in 2017 on Waste Management in eight communities in Western Urban area. The thrust of the project was to support communities collect plastic wastes in their respective communities to contribute in increasing sanitation, and discourage street flooding as a result of the blockage they cause to drainages. AID-SL piggy-backed on this previous UNDP project by working in four among the eight most successfully implemented communities of Old Wharf and Culvert – in the East end part of Freetown; and Cockle Bay and Funkia in the West end parts of Freetown.
This project, titled: ‘Skills Training on Waste Management and Plastic Recycling’ was geared towards working with community leaders, women and youths to productively manage wastes in their communities. A total of fifteen participants – twelve women and three male youths were carefully selected in each of the four communities, bringing the overall total to 60 beneficiaries (48 women and 12 men). These carefully choosen participants were deemed to have worked exemplarily in the former UNDP project; and therefore considered necessary to continue working with them on this project.
The project aimed at honing these participants’ skills through theoretical and practical trainings on the production of floor dialettes, and briquettes – bio-charcoal. Beneficiaries of these communities were not only trained to recycle/manage these wastes and but were also provided with start-up kits. AID-SL also facilitated the registration of a “Youth Recycle” enterprise and the creation of a bank account to enable the beneficiaries autonomously run their micro waste management enterprise.
The project was desirous of providing economic livelihood for the immediate/direct training beneficiaries, and those in the food chain – those collecting and selling the needed wastes as raw materials, and those who will later be employed from these communities to work in the micro waste management enterprises that are being set up. The project is also contributing to making these communities habitable and climate change resilient – thereby mitigating the harmful effects of climate change disasters in the country.