Chikwawa District Community Clean up Campaign

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The challenge that the project addresses

Every person has a right to a clean and healthy environment which has not been the case for most people doing business and living in various communities of Chikwawa district council. The piled up of wastes in public places eg markets, road sides and public drainage systems remits unpleasant smell and harbors disease vectors, making the environment unhealthy and also prone to communicable diseases like cholera and diarrhea. However, despite several recommendations from government officials, there is continued negligence on hygiene and sanitation in public spaces. The major issues remain; public littering, unwarranted disposal of domestic and industrial waste in undesignated areas, zero public commitment in waste segregation by the market users and community members hence leading to accumulation of garbage at the district landfill that is not suitable for organic manure production.

What is your project doing to respond to this challenge?

The “Clean up campaign” was originally launched by the State President but looking at the positive impact of what it could do for our community we decided to adopt it at local level (village level) and launched it in our district on 9 November 2020. The aim is to address the above social and public health nuisance challenges by advocating for cleaner and safer environment for all under the theme “clean environment is our right and our responsibility”. The clean up days are held on the second Friday of every month, during this time the communities with the guidance of local leaders are asked to join hands in cleaning public places that have accumulated waste. Through the continuous efforts of holding these clean up campaigns we have since observed an improvement in waste management and littering behavior and this is due to ongoing support from local communities.

Describe the project's impact

Cleanliness (cleaning, greening and beautifying) is vital for one’s good health; but also, clean neighborhoods in the district has over the years helped to provide a better value for market for the neighborhoods. The clean up campaigns have further helped to create positive environment and brings fresh air to the communities, there is a reduction in the awful smells coming from blocked drainage systems which was as a result of piling of wastes. Since the launch of the clean up campaign initiative, there has been support from different stakeholders that aim to change the negative attitudes of communities and market users towards management of their own environment in regards to generation of waste. Furthermore, the district council through the department of environment we have been able to mainstream waste management issues into our development plans and village level action plans.

The resources will help me and my team kick start the implementation of Chikwawa Waste Management Strategy which was developed in 2022 but implementation has been slow due to lack of funding. Among the many strategies that we aim to implement is to support sustainable waste management in the district with emphasis to promote youth and community participation in some of the waste recycling and reuse initiatives. Promoting the Maximization of value from the generated wastes which can also address issues of economic hardships among various young people, there is currently a booming market demand for organic fertilizer, which can be done through the recycling of organic wastes, if people can be trained in this then we will likely achieve the mindset change in regards to the need of sorting and separating of wastes at disposal sites. This can also help more people to see value in proper waste management since the initiative will further help support them financially this can be the best way to compliment the clean up campaign efforts and maximize the adoption of the initiative.