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Waste Management in Mali: Training Small Scale Enterprises Improves Incomes and Environment

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31 May 2013

By training informal workers in the waste management industry, the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation is helping to formalise waste management economy in Mali, and to generate incomes. Using the High Impact Training (HIT) method, the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation successfully trained 276 waste collectors and waste managers in Mali in 2012, and plans to train a further 150 in 2013.

The programme aims at getting waste collectors to bring the recyclable waste they collect from households to waste managers in order to sell it to local plants. It does not, however, address the management of non-recyclable waste, which is an area that also needs sound investment.


“Waste has value. With our programme, we worked with the Economic Interest Group (EIG), which are the enterprises in charge of collecting the waste produced by the households,” explained Alice Pénet, Associate Adviser with the HIT project.

“We linked them with local factories that are buying waste to transform it. While doing their job of collecting the waste from households, they started to pick out the valuable waste and to sell it to local factories. They thus can improve their salary by 25% on average,” she continued.

Until this programme was set up, Mali’s waste industry was largely left unchallenged, with waste piling up high in unauthorized dumps, in and around the main urban centres of Mali. There is only one official waste dump, in Mali’s second largest city Sikasso, with improvised waste recyclers - some very young - looking for valuable waste.

The EU €300,000 funded HIT programme brings long term capacity reinforcement to the key stakeholders of the sector.

The courses that have been developed by SNV, in collaboration with Malian experts in waste management, use training methods based on the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation).
The waste collectors take a six-hour course, while managers take an eighteen-hour course over three days, Alice Pénet explained.

The courses go beyond the practical information on the waste market, such as the type of waste that is recyclable and the prices that are practiced on the market, but it also tackles security issues, organisation methods, and negotiation skills.

The main challenge is to get managers and employees to work together in the new activity. The employees are low paid workers who are mainly illiterate, whereas the managers are often graduates, Alice Pénet explained.

“In this course, however, the employees have the knowledge, because they already pick up waste to sell. The challenge is to have them collaborate in order to increase the quantity of recyclable waste picked up, and to increase its value by selling them directly to the plants and not to any intermediary. Several options are being studied, among which is the sorting at source directly with the households,” she added.

A survey conducted by HIT three months after training on 37% of their trainees, shows that the training has led to an increase in waste recycled and an increase in the incomes for managers and employees of the Economic Interest Groups (EIG). It showed that more than 60% of the groups who had been trained had started recuperating waste and 40% are selling it to the plants. “Several tonnes have already been collected and sold to the plants,” Ms Pénet explained.

The training has also enabled regional EIG networks to develop by linking them together and making the networks attractive for newcomers.

Building on the success of this project, The World Food Programme (WFP) is funding a “cash for work” program that will mobilise 100 EIG in Bamako to hire 7800 people for waste recuperation.

The High Impact Training for Jobs and Income programme is being implemented in seven developing countries (Benin, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique in Africa and Cambodia, Nepal, Vietnam in Asia) and aims to provide adapted and locally relevant training courses to informal workers - this time the focus is in sectors related to tourism (HITT) .

Funded by the European Union, its goal is to increase income and employment of the workers through market-based trainings, built with the participation of key private actors. Until the end of 2013, 8000 informal workers will have been trained in the seven countries through this methodology.The commitment of the private sector in the whole process has already led to interesting partnerships, such as the recruitment of dozens of the trainees.

By working with the National Vocational offices in partner countries, HITT aims at getting an official recognition for the curricula developed to pave the way for the continuity of its training programmes after 2013.

This collaborative piece was drafted with input from Alice Pénet and Monica Oliveros Delgado (SNV Netherlands Development Organisation), Laura Giappichelli and Anemari Ciurea (EuropeAid), with support from the Coordination Team.

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided in the interests of knowledge sharing and capacity development and should not be interpreted as the official view of the European Commission, or any other organisation.

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