Community Based Solid Waste Pilot Project in Luanda’s Musseques


Executive Summary

Urban population growth of 470 percent over the last twenty years, coupled with the effects on existing infrastructure of a lengthy civil war, have resulted in serious solid waste management challenges for the city of Luanda, Angola. Population growth has occurred mainly in the unserviced musseques (informal, spontaneous settlements) of the citys peri-urban areas where difficult access, and widespread, unauthorised dumping render the waste management problem even more difficult. Traditional solutions are not feasible in this situation; to merely remove the backlog of accumulated waste from the musseques would require a 500 to 600 percent increase in collection capacity of the under funded, provincial sanitation company.

With assistance from Canadian and Swiss organisations, Development Workshop implemented a pilot initiative to develop and test a model for the sustainable management of solid waste in the musseques that are not served by environmental sanitation programmes. The strategy is to study methods of reducing the daily waste production at source before it becomes refuse, reusing what can be reused, and recycling what can be recycled. Through these measures, the quantity of solid waste requiring collection will be reduced. Reduction makes it easier to manage waste, saves on collection costs of hauling waste out of the musseques into the landfill, and increases the feasibility of providing continuous waste removal services for unserviced areas. The active participation of the community is a key component.

Like most musseques, the project area is informally settled with minimal access to services. Roads are uneven dirt roads without surface drainage, which become pools of stagnant water for months during the rainy season. A 300-metre radius around the largest unauthorised dumpsite (with about 3,000 people) was the focus of the projects activities.

The project has challenged the widely held notion [in Luanda] that trucks and containers are the only way to get rid of garbage and to keep the musseques clean. The pilot initiative has identified waste reduction and waste reuse as viable strategies for dealing with solid waste in the musseques and has set up a continuous removal system managed at the community level. By separating sand from other household waste, the waste generated could be reduced at source by at least 50 percent (by weight). Residents were taught that sand is not a waste but rather a useful commodity that must be treated separately from the other household waste.

In the unauthorised dumpsites where a backlog of uncollected waste has accumulated, a reduction in the range of 75 to 90 percent (by weight) has been achieved by separating sand from waste. Sand separation at the dumpsite mainly used simple hand tools and a labour-intensive manual process of passing the waste through metal screens. With the dumpsite eliminated, a new site was identified for a new collection depot where residents deposit their waste. Regular removal has been arranged with Urbana 2000 (a private company contracted by the Provincial Government to manage the sanitation company)

The sand recovered from the waste was reused as infill material to improve roadways within the community through a food for work programme. The project improved 16 sections of roadway with a total area of 1800m2 and eliminated the largest dumpsite. The improved areas have generally held well through the rains.

The project has also demonstrated that the active participation of the community and local leaders can help bring about significant improvements. Involvement in the project has helped to improve the management capacity and increased the confidence of local authorities and community leaders. Finally, the project demonstrates potentials of cooperative action in solid waste management among the community, local authorities, the private sector (Urbana 2000) and an NGO like Development Workshop.

Its success to date has renewed the confidence and willingness of both musseque residents and the government to address what has been viewed as an almost insurmountable problem. But at the same time, the project had to confront deep-rooted views on the proper methods of waste removal in the musseques. Changes in the institutional context as the project got underway, the weak capacity at the local level, and financing and cost-recovery for waste removal services posed added challenges.

The project offers many valuable lessons for replicating the effort in other musseques and for scaling up the activities into a citywide programme. Further work is required to investigate and to ensure that key factors affecting the sustainability of operations and maintenance of a community based solid waste management programme are in place. These factors include the financing of solid waste services, the continued support by the local leaders and by the community, and the availability of removal services from Urbana 2000.

General Project Information

Project Name:Emergency Peri-Urban Sanitation: Community Based Solid Waste Pilot Project in Luanda’s Musseques
Location:Comuna Hoje-Ya-Henda, municipality of Cazenga, Luanda Province, Angola
Project Duration:12 months
Implementing Agency:Development Workshop

Angola office:
C.P. 3360
Luanda, Angola
+244 2 348 371
+244 2 349 494 or

Canada office:
P.O. Box 1834
Guelph, Ontario Canada N1H 7A1
+1 519 763-3978
+1 519 821 3438 or

Donors:Alternatives (a Canadian NGO) International Humanitarian Assistance Programme, Canadian International Development Agency Canadian Food grains Bank (food component) Canadian Baptist Ministries (food component) Swiss Humanitarian Aid

Project description

The Community Based Solid Waste Pilot Project is part of Development Workshops (DW) broader Peri-urban Emergency Sanitation Project which manages a household sanitation programme to construct dry pit latrines and provide health education within the same area. The two components are linked in a strategy of providing comprehensive environmental sanitation in the project area. This case study focuses only on the solid waste management component.

The project is a pilot initiative to develop a solid waste management programme appropriate for the informal, spontaneous settlements of peri-urban Luanda, commonly known as musseques, that are currently not served by environmental sanitation programmes. The projects strategy is to study methods of reducing the daily waste production at source before it becomes refuse, reusing what can be reused, and recycling what can be recycled. Through reuse, recycling and minimisation efforts, the quantity of solid waste requiring collection will be reduced. Reduction makes it easier to manage the wastes, saves on collection costs of hauling waste out of the musseques into the landfill, and enhances the feasibility of providing continuous waste removal services for unserviced areas. The active participation of the community is a key component. Research and social mobilisation activities for the project started in November 1996 and project implementation started in April 1997.

Origin of the project

This project grew from the concern of the Provincial Government of Luanda about mounting health hazards in the peri-urban areas. The Provincial Government originally intended to operate a subunit of Empresa de Limpeza e Saneamento de Luanda (ELISAL), the provincial para statal company responsible for solid waste removal, to serve specific areas of peri-urban Luanda. Thus it approached Development Workshop to develop a pilot initiative in solid waste collection for one of the peri-urban musseques. The pilot was to be a part of a larger Infrastructure Rehabilitation Engineering Project for Luanda, but funding for the larger project did not work out. Development Workshop sought alternative funding to proceed with the project albeit at a reduced scale.

Lessons from its previous project experience in sanitation in the musseques combined with findings of research on water and sanitation by Development Workshop helped shape the programme plan. A beneficiary assessment involving 60 focus group discussions in peri-urban areas throughout the city was done in 1995 (Development Workshop, 1995). This provided baseline information on current practices, views on feasible and desired improvements, potentials for community organisation and willingness to pay for services.

Overall objective

To develop and test a model for the sustainable management of solid waste in the peri-urban musseques.

Specific objectives

To research waste generation and waste management practices at the household and community levels.

To reduce the quantity of waste generated at source.

To explore the potential for the reuse of waste.

To remove solid waste accumulations at main informal dumping locations.

To design a continuous removal system managed at the community level.

To mobilise local administrations, community leaders, and residents to act on the solid waste problem.

To form a partnership with ELISAL, the provincial sanitation company, and Urbana 2000, a private sector company contracted to manage ELISAL.

Project area

The project area lies within the comuna (roughly equivalent to an urban ward) of Hoje-Ya-Henda in Cazenga municipality within the capital city of Luanda. It is located on a slightly elevated region approximately 2.5 kilometres from the Bay of Luanda; the terrain is flat with a small escarpment between the project area and the bay. Because of the high population density, little land is available for supplemental urban food production.

Figure 1 shows a map of the city of Luanda and the location of the project area within it. Figure 2 shows the project area and reference points in greater detail and Figure 3 shows a detailed map of the area (see Appendix A).

The area of Hoje-Ya-Henda was selected as it was part of a previous Development Workshop project and it was within the municipality of Cazenga, the planned site for ELISAL=s subunit for waste collection in the musseques. The project was designed to work with the Cazenga ELISAL subunit that was to provide waste removal.

Within the comuna of Hoje-Ya-Henda the criteria for defining the project area were:

– the existence of an informal (unauthorised) dumpsite;

– availability of reasonable access from the main road for heavy equipment;

– previous project involvement in the area by Development Workshop or a partner organisation,

– proximity to Development Workshop=s field office.

Working with the local authorities, the project selected the largest informal dumpsite in the area referred to in the community as main dumpsite (lixeira principal) as the focus. The area within a 300-meter radius of the dumpsite was defined as the inner zone, identified for intensive solid waste removal measures at family/neighbourhood level with accompanying health education. The 300-meter cut off is based on research findings that this was the maximum distance user of the dump walked to take their rubbish to the dump.

With no waste removal at the site in the past five years, over 1400 m3 of waste and some twenty abandoned car frames had accumulated. The dump completely blocked vehicular traffic while pedestrians had to walk up and over the mountain of rubbish to negotiate the intersection. The intersection also provided access to the second largest informal market in Luanda, the Kwanzas market (Mercado dos Kwanzas). In other areas, the waste blocked drainage ditches or created unsightly and unsanitary dumps along roadways. Figures 1 and 2 in Appendix B show photographs of the dump.

Typical of conditions in the musseques, the project area is informally settled. The area is strictly residential with mostly one-story dwellings, built with cement blocks. Roads are uneven dirt roads without surface drainage. The rains further erode the roads leaving pools of stagnant water for months during the rainy season. Less than five percent have access to piped water supply through a neighbourhood standpost. Residents in the main thoroughfares have access to electricity but the supply is of low voltage and irregular.

Beneficiary population

The population of the project area inner zone is about 3,000 people while the comuna of Hoje-Ya-Henda has an estimated total population of about 200,000. By comparison, the Municipality of Cazenga has an estimated population of 510,000 people (Dar Al-Handasah, February 1996). Although there is no reliable population data, estimates would put the density at about 350-500 persons per hectare. As is common in the musseques, there are only limited employment opportunities in the area.

DW=s Water & Sanitation Programme in Angola

Development Workshop has worked for more than 12 years in community based water and environmental sanitation programmes in Luanda=s musseques and in several other provinces. Today, Development Workshop=s uprading programme has projects in all of Luanda=s nine municipalities, benefitting some 250,000 people. Its strategy in musseque upgrading is to start with actions articulated by communities as their top priority (the provision of water in Luanda). This physical intervention is used to evolve a broader, integrated programme addressing interrelated needs of the community and capacity building of community organisations, state agencies, and local authorities. Central to this strategy is social mobilisation by training community animateurs (activistas and mobilisers).

Its successful Sambizanga Peri-urban upgrading project among the 100 Best Practices at the 1996 United Nations Habitat II Conferenceinvolved installation of public standposts, construction of latrines, environmental improvement and health education. In the Sambizanga project, Development Workshop developed a community management system for public standposts and a model for improving basic services in the musseques through a tripartite cooperation among the community, local authorities, and the provincial agencies providing services. In 1998 the community management system was adopted for citywide use in a government project funded by World Bank that will benefit a million people over the next three years.

Background Context

Urban development and population growth

Built during the colonial period for 400,000 people, LuandaAngola=s capital citytoday houses an estimated 2.8 million people: a 470 percent increase over 20 years accompanied by little change in infrastructure. The post Independence period (1975 onwards) has been marked by ongoing civil war and massive ruralBurban migration.

Over 1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) that fled the long civil war are concentrated mainly in urban or peri-urban areas, the largest concentration being in Luanda (UN estimates, 1996). The greatest influx, an estimated half a million people, was recorded in 1992/3 after the breakdown of the peace process. Since then, conditions in Luanda particularly in the musseques have deteriorated considerably. Low-density areas prior to the 1992 war have been built up with no infrastructure to support them. Population densities in the peri-urban areas now vary between 500 and 1000 persons per hectare. Seventy five percent of Luandas population lives in the musseques under extremely unhealthy conditions with little or no services and few income opportunities.

Many of the most recent IDPs who moved to Luanda in this last war push lost all their possessions and resources. A 1996 study shows that most IDPs are most likely to remain in the peri-urban settlements (Alternatives, et. al, 1996). Having integrated into the peri-urban areas and the informal sectors, they are reluctant to risk moving back to their zones of origin.

Socio-economic conditions

Health status indicators have become over the recent years, some of the lowest in Africa and among the worst in the world.

Indicator (year) Infant Mortality rate (1995)195/1000 live births Under five mortality rate (1995)320/1000 live birthsMaternal Mortality rate (1995)

1500 per 100,000 birthsLife expectancy (1995) 42.4 yearsDaily Calorie supply per capita (1992)1840Malaria and diarrhoea, the two major public health problems in Luanda, both relate to the poor sanitation and environmental conditions. Furthermore, cholera and dysentery have become endemic in the last few years, showing yearly epidemic surges between December and May. The incidence of diarrhoeal diseases in the musseques is up to thirty times higher than that of the city core. Defecating in public spaces and accumulation of rotting garbage, contribute to maintaining a persistently contaminated environment facilitating transmission and retransmission of disease.

In 1990, 37 percent of the city’s population was living below the poverty line with 10 percent of these live in extreme poverty (UNICEF, 1990). A 1995 survey found that 61 percent of the urban population was living below the poverty line with a monthly expenditure of $39 (U.S.) per adult-equivalent; 12 percent was living in extreme poverty with a monthly expenditure of less than $14 (U.S.) per adult-equivalent.

On average, urban households devoted a high proportion (78 %) of expenditure to food (INE, 1996). Salaries in the public sector have been hardest hit by the severe economic conditions. The official minimum monthly wage reported for February 1996, was 29 US cents. Some relief has come through upward adjustments of salary but this has generally been negated by hyperinflation. Worker=s salaries have progressively declined in real terms. Moreover, the government is consistently several months in arrears in payment of salaries.

The current economic situation makes things worse by eroding household incomes, and hence people’s ability to access public services. Inflation during 1995 was 3,800 per cent according to the National Institute of Statistics. It peaked at more than 12,000 percent in mid-1996, (INE, 1996).

National resources have been primarily diverted to defense related sectors. Forty-eight per cent of the state budget was devoted to defense and public order in 1993. By 1994 the overall contribution to defense had fallen to 26 percent but the comparable sectoral contributions to social sectors: health (4 %), education (5%) and social welfare (7%) remained low. Much of the programme support in the social sectors is sustained by international aid contributions.

Urban basic services

Because of the prolonged diversion of resources to defense expenditures and the general policy and planning vacuum in the state sector, until very recently there was very little public investment in new infrastructure and maintenance of basic urban services. Combined with rapid population growth, the situation deteriorated by the late 1980s to being an environmental crisis for Luanda and especially for the population living in the peri-urban musseques (about 75 % of the total). The few services that exist are available largely in the Luanda=s city core.

Water supply

Water is the top priority need for Luanda=s residents and access to water is something residents are willing to invest resources in. Roughly 50 percent of all water piped into the city is estimated to be lost in leaks and illegal connections to the system. In 1994 there were less than 50 functioning standposts for over 2 million people (World Bank, 1995). By the end of 1997, this had increased to about 220 standposts (about 85 % of which were built through the Development Workshop-EPAL Peri-urban Water and Sanitation Programme). Each standpost provides treated water for about 60-100 families (600-1,000 people).

An estimated 30 percent of all of Luanda’s water is delivered by trucks into the city from the River Bengo, 20 kilometers away). The poor pay up to 8000 times more for untreated water bought by the bucket than the official price residents in the city core pay for piped water ($17.00 U.S. per cubic meter versus $0.002 U.S. per cubic meter, Development Workshop, 1995)


A 1989 baseline survey by Development Workshop in Sambizanga municipality showed that an estimated 70 percent of the population had some type of household sanitation (i.e., a specific structure such as a latrine designed for the disposal of excreta). But since water was a problem many of the latrines (predominantly of the pour flush type) were poorly maintained. A follow-up study in May 1996, showed that the population had grown by a third and the number of families with on-site sanitation had decreased to less than 50 percent of the population. Many of the families interviewed commented that those who had not built latrines before the 1992 crisis were no longer able to afford to build them due to the worsening economic conditions.

The beneficiary assessment study (Development Workshop, 1995) showed an unexpectedly high number of people were aware of the dangers of fecal-oral transmission of diseases and latrines were identified as a basic necessity, families that did not have a latrine were considered very poor. Since 1993 Development Workshop has managed a household sanitation programme promoting the construction and hygienic use of improved dry pit latrines.

Where they exist, most septic tank systems flow directly into the storm water drains (piped and open ditches) and from there, untreated into the sea and Luanda Bay. In the musseques raw sewage backing ups from overflowing septic tanks and flooded latrines pose life threatening environmental problems.

Solid waste disposal

Residents view the accumulation of rubbish as the most pressing sanitation problem but they are wary of investing in rubbish removal services because they doubt the capacity of the government to maintain such services in the long term (Development Workshop, 1995).

In 1992, Luanda=s population generated 2,000 m3 of solid waste per day while the average daily collection by provincial sanitation company, ELISAL, was 1,000 m3 (DENCONSULT and Projectos de Consultoria AUSTRAL, 1995). Based on these figures, the volume of uncollected solid waste amounted to over 100 dump trucks per day. Since 1992, Luanda=s population has doubled from 1.41.5 million to around 2.8 million without an accompanying increase in the removal capacity.

Musseque residents usually start the day by sweeping their yards and cleaning their houses. The sweepings, consisting of mostly sand are then collected and stored in a container. Waste produced during the day (food scraps, paper, plastic) is then added and every second day or so, the container is taken, usually by children, to the informal dumpsite and emptied. Doortodoor collection has been non-existent since the colonial days.

Because the musseques have no regular solid waste removal, an ever-increasing volume of untreated, unmanaged solid waste has grown in informal dumps close to densely populated areas. The dumps also serve as open-air defecation areas for those who have no latrines. The rotting heaps become quagmires during the rainy season and are all too often the only playgrounds for children Most areas have no extra space for storing garbage, residents can walk as far 500 meters to throw their waste.

Although there is no formal organisation of where the waste should be deposited, people use the best locations given the few options available. Empty lots or the sides of the street away from dwellings are the sites of choice. These sites become well established and are seen as the proper disposal place.

Accumulated solid waste also blocks drainage ditches which further compounds the difficulties in the rainy season. In the drainage valleys, the garbage is carried out to the sea. When ELISAL does occasionally remove waste from the dumpsites, front-end loaders and dump trucks are used. In many musseques, however, poor road conditions prevent entry of this heavy equipment into the community.

A 1994 ELISAL study found about 900 informal dumpsites across the city of Luanda. The dumpsites covered an area of 40 hectares with an estimated volume of around 170,000 m3 (Fillatre and Gubler, 1994). To eliminate this backlog would require ten dump trucks making three trips a day to the landfill, working seven days a week for two years.

Conditions have improved, particularly in the urban core areas, since a private company was contracted to manage ELISAL (see details in section 2.5 Institutional Context). But still, in the musseques removal lags far behind the pace of waste production due to lack of sufficient equipment (trucks and excavators) which are only available for removal on the weekends.

Policy context

Land policy

Land ownership in Luanda is currently governed by a confusing (often, contradictory) set of laws, policies, and procedures. Portuguese colonial (pre-1975) land laws and registration system supplanted African traditional forms of communal land tenure. Land was nationalised by the state in 1976 through a series of presidential confiscation decrees, but there is no formal system of laws to regulate these acquisitions. Since 1991 the private sector has gained increasing access to land but a land registration system and qualified staff are not yet in place to allow individual informal settlers to legalise their tenure. This has meant that informal occupation is accepted by majority of people. The lack of security of land tenure and ability to freely buy and sell property is a key factor that continues to inhibit investment in the urban sector today.

Development policy

In the past the Government had been reluctant to invest in the musseques as these were seen as transitional settlements destined for replacement. Currently, no specific central government agency has particular responsibility for the development of the musseques, but the programme for Luanda Province in the National Community Rehabilitation Plan underscores specific priority interventions for the under serviced peri-urban areas.

The Government of Angola=s National Community Rehabilitation Plan aims at assisting communities rehabilitate roads and other basic infrastructure, and restore basic services such as potable water supplies, basic health services and primary education. Promoting popular participation and building capacity for management of rehabilitation and development by government authorities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the private sector are related objectives (Government of Angola, 1995). The plan puts emphasis on community-based reconstruction and rehabilitation, using foodforwork, local labour, skills and organisation. The programme for Luanda Province underscores specific priority interventions for the under serviced peri-urban areas. Recently, the Government has also adopted a policy of private sector participation in service provision.

Institutional context


Waste collection and disposal were previously the direct responsibility of Servicos Comunitarias (Community services department) of the Provincial Government of Luanda. In 1990, the Provincial Government set up a para-statal company, ELISAL, to take over solid waste removal for the city of Luanda including the peri-urban areas. The Government’s capacity to maintain a sanitary urban environment deteriorated over the years since independence and reached crisis proportions by late 1980s as cholera, malaria, and diarrhoeal diseases had become endemic.

ELISAL received external support from the European Union in 1992 and managed to improve the environment in the city core , but made no impact in the huge peri-urban zones of Luanda where the majority of the population live (Austral Projectos e Consultaria, 1995 ). ELISAL remains technically weak. Between 1994 and 1996, ELISAL’s operating capacity was drastically reduced from 12 trucks (7 m3 roll-on/roll-off) to two and from 140 containers of seven cubic meters capacity to 24 (Austral Projectos e Consultoria, 1996).

ELISAL was in effect servicing only about 500,000 people, or just under a fifth of the 2.8 million population. The poor road conditions mean long travel times to the landfill and high costs for equipment repairs and upkeep. Beyond the management and infrastructure problems, ELISAL has to deal with other hazards: occasional armed attacks and theft of ELISAL vehicles while en-route to the city landfill, and unexploded ordinance buried in the dumpsites in the musseques.

Following the new policy of private sector participation in service provision, the Provincial Government of Luanda in August 1997 awarded Urbana 2000, a private company, a three year contract to manage ELISAL. The private management contract is to provide better collection service to the city of Luanda but does not cover the peri-urban areas. Urbana 2000 has drawn up a work agreement with the respective local administration authorities of peri-urban areas. On specified weekends, Urbana 2000 makes equipment available for a specific administrative jurisdiction. The Department of Community Services for the area indicates the priorities and Urbana 2000 will work with them to maximise the use of the available resources.

Since the Urbana 2000 programme, there have been marked improvements: a noticeably cleaner central core of the city where new 1.1 m3 containers have been distributed and regular collection occurs. But, in peri-urban areas there is only weekend removal of some of the informal dumpsites on a rotating basis.

Local government

Local government administration has tended toward strong centralisation. The Salazar regime of the colonial Portuguese, which itself lacked any democratic tradition, left a legacy of a centrally controlled government. This was further reinforced by the one party state, centralised planning model pursued after independence.

National elections were held first in September 1992 but fighting was renewed thereafter. Provincial governors are appointed by the President and have the status of a Minister of State. The management of the local administrations is the responsibility of the Ministry of Territorial Administration. There are some current pilot projects in decentralising local administration but these do not apply to Luanda province. By and large authority over decisionBmaking and resources flows from the top to the base.

The province consists of several municipalities (in the urban context, these are equivalent to townships or districts). The province coordinates budgets for provincial and lower levels and channels them to the central government for approval and financing. In two provinces (Luanda and Benguela), para statal companies provide water and sanitation services to the cities of Luanda, Lobito and Benguela. In all other provinces, water and sanitation services, where available, are provided by the local administrations.

Municipalities are, in turn, composed of comunas (the equivalent of urban wards, previously known as bairros), which is the lowest level of government administration. The comuna is divided into sectors (normally 10,000B15,000 people) and the sector, in turn, into quarterao (groups of 15 to 20 families). The sector and quarterao normally have a coordinator chosen from among the residents. Both the municipal and comuna levels have meager resources to implement any development initiatives. Both have limited capacity to mobilise financial resources as there is no resource base such as local and property taxes. A small amount of revenue is generated from local fees (e.g., market permit fees).

Civil society

Outside of church based organisations, non-governmental and popular organisations in Luanda have had a very recent history. Workers, womens and youth groups were designated and dominated by the party as the main organisations of civil society shortly after independence. National NGOs, political parties, and community based organisations only mushroomed after the introduction of the law on associations in 1991, which allowed for the first time the formation of independent civil institutions.

Remnants of former residents committees exist throughout the city. Committees are headed by locally chosen coordinators, who are usually elected from among the residents but without formal procedures or mandates. The local government administrations are trying to re-energise the community level residents committees. Regulations governing local assemblies and residents committees for Luanda were published in 1993. It is likely that in the future, local residents committees will be key organs for community representation

Within the musseques residents have spontaneously organised themselves around specific tasks to meet a particular need but there is not a strong tradition for cooperative community activities. Much less evident is joint action between the government and community as for example in detecting illegal connections to the water supply. This is in part due to the lack of resources for local administration to undertake projects with the community and in part due to the fact that local administrators receive their orientation from their superiors in central government, rather than being accountable downward to their constituent communities.


To achieve the objectives of the pilot project, the following actions were implemented:

social mobilisation;waste reduction;waste reuse for musseque improvement initiatives; elimination of the dumpsite; creation of a new collection depot; collaboration and partnership development.

In choosing specific project activities, preference was given to simple technologies, the use of local resources, and the involvement of local organisations. Planning of activities also had to allow for flexibility in the face of continually changing conditions affecting the project and its collaborating organisations.

Social mobilisation and advocacy

One difficulty in working in the musseques is motivating the communities to engage in improving conditions in their environment. Demoralised by the prolonged war and the lack of services in their neighbourhoods, communities are reluctant to expend their energy in supporting new initiatives. Much is talked about but little is done, is a commonly shared sentiment.

The social mobilisation efforts for the project were built on Development Workshop=s successful intervention in the water sector which had the following key elements:

strengthening local participation for community development; raising awareness and demand for improved services among the residents; mobilising community resources for the project, and developing support for project actions among organisations, key actors beyond the immediate project area.

Social mobilisation efforts were aimed at three groups: 1) the community leaders made up of appointed officials at the municipal and comuna and the sector and quarterao leaders; 2) project area residents, and 3) supporting or collaborating organisations such as other NGOs, community based organisations (CBOs) in the project area, Kwanza market authorities, ELISAL, Urbana 2000, provincial government, and donors.

The project formed a partnership with a national NGO, Aco para o Desenvolvimento Rural e Ambiente (Action for the Development of Rural Areas and the Environment, or ADRA). ADRA had been working in the comuna of Hoje-Ya-Henda on a sanitation and health education project. Two ADRA personnel with experience in community mobilisation were seconded to the pilot project and worked as mobilisers. These mobilisers (subsequently increased to three) worked exclusively in the community and were responsible for all liaison with the community, the local government authorities and the local leaders down to the level of quarterao (groups of 15 to 20 families). They also coordinated with a number of community groups who were involved in community education related to the latrine component of the broader programme.

The training for mobilisers was part of Development Workshop=s integrated training with the water and general sanitation program, which includes actions focused on solid waste management. The training covered such skills as planning and management of meetings, participatory techniques for working with communities, and gender approaches to problem definition in the communities. In addition, mobilisers were also trained in observation techniques and facilitation of focus groups. Staffs of other NGOs and community organisations were invited to the training programme.

Working with local leaders

Despite their lack of confidence in the state, the musseque residents do recognise the authority of their local leaders. Getting the community to participate involves working with the local leaders (see sections2.5.2 Local government and 2.5.3 Civil society for details of structure).

The project began by contacting the local authorities starting with the municipality of Cazenga then all the way down to the comuna level (the lowest level of government administration). Project objectives were discussed, explained, and the municipal administration gave its support. Next the project met with the comuna administration of Hoje-Ya-Henda which offered its support and cooperation. The municipal and comuna administrations have little resources to contribute to community development, but it is important to engage them very early on in the process to:

ensure that they feel some sense of ownership of the project; ensure that lessons learned are institutionalised and applied in other appropriate situations, and promote the pro-active engagement of the local administrations in community development.

The mobilisation campaign concentrated on working with the community leaders at the sector and quarterao levels. These are coordinators of residents committees normally found throughout the city. As mentioned previously, these coordinators are usually elected from among the residents but no formal procedure or mandate governs their selection. The communitys traditional or respected leaders often assume the coordinators role. While speaking from the authority of their constituent communities, the coordinators actually have no formal role in local government administration, which is appointed from the top-down. But they do carry influence and are consulted by the local administration on a regular basis.

The appropriate leaders were identified and contacted by the project. Monthly meetings with these leaders were held; meeting minutes from each were distributed. The meeting invitations were directed to the leaders of each sector, quarterao and to the Hoje-Ya-Henda comuna administrator but meetings were open to the public who were encouraged by the project to attend.

The meetings were the main venue for the local leaders and the residents to be involved in the decision-making process as project activities were organised on a sector or quarterao basis. Deciding on project priorities and planning for project activities were done during the meetings. In addition, the meetings provided regular updates of project progress and obtained feedback on various project activities. To assist in disseminating information, committees were set up within the existing structures.

Mobilising the community

Mobilising the community used a combination of popular theatre performances and interpersonal communication through motivational efforts by mobilisers during houseBtoBhouse visits.

At project start up, houseBtoBhouse visits were made so community mobilisers could meet with residents and to discuss the project=s objectives and activities. The visits also collected baseline information for the project. Subsequent visits were made to follow up on specific activities in sectors or quarters and as a follow up to messages communicated by the theatre group.

A local community theatre group, Perola REAL, which emerged out of earlier project collaboration in social mobilisation with Development Workshop, was contracted to assist in education and mobilisation activities. The group prepared a repertoire of skits, songs and dance about the benefits of better solid waste management; the health impacts of untreated or improperly disposed solid waste; the need to reduce waste and the importance and benefits of waste separation. At a later stage of the project, the pieces focussed on identifying the new appointed waste deposit location at INDAP and promoting its use by the residents.

Local leaders arranged locations for theatre performances; the mobilisers advised the residents when the pieces would be performed. On the day of the performance, the group announced their arrival and drew a crowd through drumming, singing, and dancing. When a crowd had collected, the group began their performance. Audiences of around 60 to 100 people were common. In total, 40 performances took place.

Community response to the theatre group was enthusiastic and discussions on solid waste often followed the theatre piece. The mobilisers were present at each presentation and were available to discuss issues and to answer questions. Feedback from residents during follow up houseBtoBhouse visits done by mobilisers the day following each performance indicated that the pieces were well received, informative, and the messages were communicated and understood.

Working with supporting organisations

Information and promotion activities were carried out to ensure that the project=s objectives are understood and accepted widely and to share the project=s experience.

Visiting donor missions, international, and national NGOs were regularly taken to visit the project and raise awareness and support for community based interventions in solid waste removal. Provincial officials were invited to special project events. Other NGOs and CBOs were invited to participate in training programmes such as those for mobilisers. (Note: discussion of the work with the main state utility company responsible for solid waste, ELISAL, is covered under the section 3.5 Collaboration and partnership development).

Waste reduction

Given the backlog in solid waste removal and problems of solid waste collection in the musseques, reducing the quantity of waste generated is clearly a priority. To find ways to reduce waste, the project needed to first understand of the mechanics of waste generation and disposal in the musseque. Preparatory research activities were done from October through December 1996.

Current practices

Development Workshop researched existing waste practices, attitudes and perceptions about garbage using a combination of questionnaires, interviews and observation. Information was collected through the houseBtoBhouse visits by mobilisers.

Salient information collected from the community included:

About 360 families or an estimated total population of about 3,000 people use the main dumpsite. The maximum distance traveled to get to the dumpsite is 300 meters.

Sixty percent of those in charge of bringing rubbish out of their homes are children between 10 and 15 years of age. Over 50 percent of the people using the dumpsite throw out their rubbish one or two times per week, an average of five percent throw out their rubbish daily.The majority of people go to the dumpsite in the early morning or late afternoon/early evening.

People generally recognised that existing dumpsites were not acceptable but maintained little hope that the problem could be solved since ELISAL was not providing containers nor hauling waste out of the musseque. Residents were not opposed to the idea of separating yard sweepings from other household waste

Waste characterisation study

A waste characterisation study using Flintoff’s (1984) methodology was done to determine the current and future quantities generated densities, moisture, and composition characteristics of solid waste in the project area. The study was the first in Luanda to focus on solid waste from lowBincome musseques. The waste sampling was carried out using the refuse from 60 households over an eight-day period. A local team was trained in the methodology.

The results of the waste characterisation study show a great potential for waste minimization at the source. About 78 percent of the waste stream is composed of organics and yard sweepings broken down as follows: organic/putrescible waste (24.3%) and stones, bricks, tiles < 75 mm (6.9%), and fines less than 10 mm (46.6 %, i.e., mixture of fine silt, sand). If waste reduction strategies were introduced, then the need for collection would only be in the range of 22 percent of the present waste generation rate of 0.56 kg/capita/day. Savings of as high as 78 percent in real collection costs (of hauling the waste out of the musseque and into the landfill) can potentially be realised. The reduction also makes it easier to manage the wastes.

The challenge then was to find uses for the organics and sweepings portion of the waste to improve the landscape within the musseques. The options considered for the reuse of waste and the corresponding advantages and disadvantages of each were as follows:

1) Producing compost or organic fertilizer: the skills for doing this would need to be introduced in Luanda. The demand for organic fertilizer would likely not be high within the musseques nor the rest of Luanda for that matter, as there was very little green space available for urban gardening.

2) Producing building bricks or blocks made up of a mixture of soil, cement and sand: brick production skill exists in Luanda and is a thriving industry. This could provide income opportunities for the large number of unemployed. However, the quality of the fines mixture would have to be tested (overseas, as inBcountry facilities are limited), the appropriate mixes tested, and production units organised.

3) Using the stones and fines portion of the waste for improving roadways and road reconstruction: Development Workshop had previous experience in using rubbish (unseparated) as infill material to improve roads. Road improvement was a priority for the residents and could provide employment. Improved road access would make removal of waste easier. Methods of separating the stones and fines from the rest of the waste would have to be developed. Teams to work on road improvement would have to be organised.

The third option was determined as the most feasible. Thus waste reduction efforts were directed at eliminating stones and fines (hereafter referred to as sand/ rocks/ bricks) that comprised 54 percent of the waste generated.

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