Chief Allocates Land to Waste Management Project
December 16, 2022
Chief Zembe Dvuba of Mpolonjeni, west of Eswatini’s capital, Mbabane, has allocated traditional land at no cost to a group of women and youth recyclers to earn livelihoods and contribute to waste management.
The chief allocated the two-hectare land to the recyclers who collect waste bottles from Mpolonjeni Landfill, which belongs to Mbabane Municipal Council and crush them before selling them to Ngwenya Glass Eswatini. The recyclers benefitted from the UNDP Waste for Livelihoods and Resilience project, which awarded six NGOs a total sum of E3.9 million ($210 000) to start community-based waste management initiatives. The project resulted from a partnership between UNDP and the Eswatini Environment Authority (EEA) under the Ministry of Tourism and Environmental Affairs. The project also partnered with Catalyze Swaziland to select the six project proposals and work closely with the grantees to ensure they meet their objectives.
Women Unlimited is one of the grantees awarded E507 640 ($29 000) to support the recyclers who did not have protective clothing and used their hands to crush the bottles before sending them to Ngwenya Glass. The recyclers who have since registered as a company called Waste Life Investments received protective clothing, wheelie bins, and a bottle-crushing machine, which speeds up the work and reduces labour. They also rented the land from the municipality where the recycling facility is located at E1000 ($57) per annum.
During the official handover of the recycling facility from Women Unlimited to Waste Life Investments, the chief said he allocated them the land because their work is improving livelihoods which will reduce poverty. He noted that most of the recyclers came from different parts of the country and rented accommodation in his area to access the landfill. He encouraged his community members also to join the initiative.
“I will also ask the community during the new year address to allow this group to work in peace and not disturb them,” he said.
He expressed his appreciation to UNDP and partners for supporting women and young people to earn income while taking care of the environment.
Speaking at the same event on 15 December 2022, UNDP Economic Advisor, Mr Souleman Boukar, applauded Women Unlimited for supporting an initiative that reclaims glass for making new products instead of selling them for reuse.
“The economic potential of recycling glass also does not get as much attention as other popular waste streams such as plastics, cardboard, and metal,” he said, adding: “Therefore, there is room for you, Waste Life Investments, to scale this initiative into a sustainable business venture for improving livelihoods and resilience.”
Mr Boukar stood in for UNDP Resident Representative Ms Rose Ssebatindira at the event. He said the project also has the potential to bring about great direct and indirect benefits for the community through employment opportunities for the youth and vulnerable groups, improved standards of living, cleaner streets, and an increased understanding of the notion of waste as a resource.
Women Unlimited Director, Ms Vimbai Kupurura, expressed her gratitude to UNDP, EEA, Catalyse, the municipality, Ngwenya Glass and all partners for supporting women and youth to improve their livelihoods. She also expressed her gratitude to the chief for the piece of land, which she said will ensure that the bottle recycling initiative extends beyond the project cycle.
“We need a coordinated effort to ensure that development is realised,” she said.
EEA Executive Director Mr Gcina Dladla noted that emaSwati are learning to earn livelihoods through waste material, which is encouraging. He said EEA does not consider the work done by Waste Life Investments as waste management but as material recovery.
“As you can see, all the recovered material still has a value at the market. As you have started with bottles, I, therefore, challenge you to reclaim all the material at the landfill,” he said.
Indeed, Waste Life Investments has confirmed that they will scale up their initiative at the new land and include other waste streams such as paper, plastic, and metal to get more people involved in reducing waste while earning an income.
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