Waste removal in Tanzania

Youth unemployment accounts for nearly 60 per cent of Africa's jobless population. But in Dar es Salaam, women and young people have found the road out of poverty not only littered with waste, but with opportunity. ILO TV explains…

Date issued: 11 December 2003 | Size/duration: 00:02:49 (2.77 MB)
If the video is not displayed, download the free RealPlayer™

Youth unemployment accounts for nearly 60 per cent of Africa's jobless population. But in Dar es Salaam, women and young people have found the road out of poverty not only littered with waste, but with opportunity. ILO TV explains…

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s “haven of peace” or so it was named by the sultan of Zanzibar. But the peace was disturbed by epidemics caused by uncollected waste. As job seekers migrated to town looking for work, the city was soon overwhelmed by the demand for shelter and basic services like waste collection.

The garbage piled up as high as the unemployment figures until some of the local women decided to take the matter into their own hands… literally.

There are now 52 small enterprises involved in removal of solid waste in Dar es Salaam. Collection rates have gone from 4 to 40 percent. And it is not only waste that’s being removed – more unemployed youth are off the streets, too. 2,000 jobs were created for women and young people.

It may be an unpleasant business, but business it is as Alodia Ishengoma of the International Labour Organization’s Solid Waste Management Program explains.

Alodia Ishengoma, Coordinator of the ILO SWMP

Waste stinks with money, it stinks with value, and trying to extract that value from waste you get employment and you get some income.

The municipality has been key in setting up a city-wide system of franchising waste collection. It is a public-private partnership that has not only led to cleaner streets, but improved livelihoods as well.

Mercy Kinenekejo, Acting Environmental Managing Officer (Municipal Officer)

The partners have played a big role in the refuse collection in their respective areas. So we can say it has assisted in increasing the financial capability of the community.

Waste not, want not, or so the expression goes. But the sculptures that Ali Kasare creates from recycled waste are wanted by so many tourists that he has been able to start his own business.

He came to Dar es Salaam to work as an unpaid houseboy. Fed up, he joined a local waste-collection group. Through an ILO sponsored course paper waste became papier maché and the Kimara Paper Maché group was formed.

Ali Kassar, 25

This activity is very useful to us. We are earning a living from it. I have been able to buy a farm.

With more than half of Africa's youth unemployed, a future in waste management is a viable alternative to a future wasted.