By encouraging citizens at all community levels to participate in dialogues and advocating for an effective and more sustainable approach towards domestic waste management, MADANI’s civil society partners have introduced an innovation, now being institutionalized, and promoted by the local government, that will serve to both reduce waste management issues and enhance the local economy.
In developing societies, waste management is increasingly challenging, and improper treatment carries severe consequences for the economy, environment, and public health. For years, Palopo has been trying out various solutions on how to manage its daily 70 tons of domestic waste, out of which only 60% can be recycled by conventional methods – the rest is thrown away or burned. According to the Municipal Environmental Office, households contribute 40% of the total waste produced and the city’s landfill can only accept a fraction of the trash.
This situation challenged Yayasan Bumi Sawerigading (YBS), MADANI’s partner civil society organization (CSO) in Palopo, to help find a solution to the city’s waste problem. To increase its impact, YBS involved the community and other local key stakeholders as a critical element in their approach. In September 2020, YBS engaged the government, civil society, and academia through the multi-stakeholder Learning Forum they created, called Mappacing, with MADANI’s assistance. Together, they have developed a recycling program using black soldier flies (BSF), which can be used as a biowaste treatment that turns organic waste into liquid fertilizer, compost, and protein for animal feed. YBS had piloted this method many years ago in a couple of neighborhoods and saw its economic value potential. Farming BSF larvae is useful not only for reducing landfill waste, but also as a profitable business opportunity for the community, as the dried larvae fetch a good price in the market as a source of feed for fish and livestock.
Recognizing the potential of this innovation, the Palopo government included it into its submission for the National Community-based Total Sanitation (STBM) Award, issued by the Ministry of Health to recognize regions for their improved sanitation and hygiene achievements. In October 2021, Palopo was announced as the winner of the 2021 STBM Award under the sustainability category.
During 2022, YBS and fellow CSOs in the Mappacing Forum have hosted numerous trainings to increase citizens’ understanding of how to independently process household waste in their neighborhoods while at the same time helping the city avoid the accumulation of trash and landfilling. In addition, YBS established village-level community-based waste management forums with MADANI’s support, with members including youth, women’s groups, as well as community and religious leaders. Through the Mappacing Forum, YBS was also able to influence the Municipal Environmental Office to provide bin trollies that can carry trash in all housing areas and light pickup trucks to transport trash further to a larger facility. Furthermore, the sub-district now accepts recyclable waste (bottles, cans, cardboards, and metal) at new collection points in each village government office.
“We look forward to collaborating with YBS and supporting their innovation as a way to solve the city’s waste problem,” said Andi Muh Asnawi, the Head of Palopo City Waste Management Unit.
As YBS and Mappacing continue to strengthen their relationships with communities and the local government, the city is recognizing their contribution to the promotion of community interests and local voices in municipal waste management innovation. On July 14, 2022, Palopo enacted a Mayoral Circular Letter and a Municipal Environment Office Technical Decree to bolster the role of citizens in the handling of the city’s waste problems. MADANI’s partner CSO and multi-stakeholder forum contributed to drafting the orders by providing the main components of the community-based waste management strategy.
The Regional Agency for National Unity and Politics, in charge of civil society empowerment in Palopo, hopes for greater participation from the city’s residents once the local government has replicated the innovation throughout the city’s wards.
Meanwhile, MADANI’s technical assistance has reinforced YBS’s organizational capacity, allowing the CSO to better manage the Mappacing Forum, secure funding, continue advocacy work, and expand its networking with the media, universities, and private sector.
YBS’s contributions in Palopo is an example of how MADANI can help enhance its partners legitimacy and leadership and promote the interests of the community and local voices in public sector innovation on issues such as municipal waste management. The circular letter and decree demonstrate that the city government in Palopo is now placing greater value on CSOs’ participation in community-led development activities and their contributions to policy formulation.