Welcome to this module on community members in solid waste management. By now, you should be aware that keeping a solid waste service running is financially demanding and requires know-how and infrastructure. Public and private solid waste service providers often fail or are unable to supply an adequate service, especially in areas that are difficult to access by conventional services such as low-income neighborhoods or in rapidly growing residential areas. Consequently, in many cities around the world, neighborhoods organize themselves to find a solution to the waste problem and obtain services for their own benefit. Members of communities, for example residents, are key stakeholders in the solid waste management process, since they generate and store waste, benefit from the service, and in many cases are also the client, the payers for the service. In this module, we will focus on the involvement of community members in the solid waste management service, which is of utmost importance and is often neglected. Let's start clarifying some terms. What is a community? In this context, a community is a group of users of a service who live in the same area and have access to and use the same service. This could be households in a neighborhood, for instance. When these communities share social features, such as cultural and religious ideas, or have similar socio-economic interests, the concept of community becomes even stronger. This often helps to stimulate participation of people. Community members can play different roles and present different levels of involvement. Let's see some examples. Community members can change their sanitation behavior. For instance, adapting to the collection timetables, keeping their house and immediate surroundings clean, or source separating. Problems arise when residents give low priority to solid waste management and have low willingness to co-operate. Often, residents had bad experiences with solid waste services and do not want to have any of these activities next to their homes. This is also called "Not In My Backyard". These issues have often been tackled organizing competitions at city, neighborhood or household level or providing discounts for those who participate in solid waste management. This was done in SIRDO Recycling Projects in Mexico, for instance, where vegetables were sold cheaper to those households separating organic waste. Community members can also contribute directly by paying the fees regularly, donating equipment, or contributing in labor. Concerning payments of fees, low ability to pay and low willingness to pay are common issues. The second one occurs especially when communities perceive that fees are unfair, or that the waste service is unreliable or not satisfactory. Three possible solutions for this are paying the collectors based on their performance, to change the ways fees are collected. For instance, combining them with other utility bills, such as the water or the electricity bill, or to cross subsidize. They can also participate in service and consultation organized by CBOs to talk about the needs and problems of the community regarding solid waste services. And finally, participating in administration and management, which is the highest level of community participation. To this end, community members may take part in a city-wide stakeholder meeting or committees, become members of CBOs directly involved in the provision of waste collection services or environmental education, or participate in decision-making during meetings. We would like to point out three types of community members. These are leaders, women, and youth. Let's have a look to how they can influence the solid waste management system. Community leaders might manage solid waste services by becoming members of committees or CBOs established for this purpose. They can also keep in contact with the municipality in order to communicate about the co-ordination of primary and secondary collection systems or exercise political pressure or forward complaints. And finally, they are the key stakeholders to keep in contact with the community. In many cultures, women are responsible for keeping the home and it's immediate environment clean. But their voice is seldom heard. And their participation in community decision-making should be improved and highlighted. Unemployed adolescence discovered the income generating potential of solid waste services. Normally the youths want a material reward for their participation or effort. Children, too, often carry out daily tasks such as bringing waste to the communal collection point, as shown in the movie. Until now, we talked about the community and some specific community members, such as leaders, women, and youth. But what happens when they organize themselves? Then we talk about community-based organizations also abbreviated as CBOs. These are formed when some community members organize themselves to provide, for instance, a solid waste service in a specific neighborhood or village in a rural context. They can be driven by different motivations, such as cleaning up their neighborhood, or earning an income from solid waste. The most common example is the primary collection of solid waste. Other examples may include the sale of recyclables, recycling on its own, and composting activities. CBOs can present different organizational structures. They can work together with micro enterprises, where generally, the CBO has a management and supervision task, while the micro enterprise is responsible for operating the service, driven by its income generating aspects. Government institutions can assist CBOs by providing them supervision, financial control or support. While the CBO carries out the operation and management of the service. Or CBOs can be combined with NGOs. In this case, NGOs usually set up a CBO as a development project. which later they supervise, provide financial assistance and technical support, and also train and recruit members of the management committee and operators. CBOs operate the service. Setting up a CBO is often not a hard task. The difficulty is to keep it ongoing. Why? Because various problems might arise. Here we distinguish management problems, operational problems, financial problems, and failing co-operation with municipality. Management problems occur when there is low willingness to manage, which was often solved by training and providing exchange visits of the management committees, increasing their motivation or by ensuring assistance and moral support on behalf of the municipality. This is an issue of particular importance. Often CBOs are a voluntary activity carried out by a motivated individual. Voluntary actions by experience show not to be long lasting since these schemes often stop when the individual gives up the activity. However, solid waste management needs to be ensured in the long run. That's why an enterprise approach is often more sustainable. Problems might also arise when the management board is not representative of the community, ethnic groups, there is gender imbalance, or it consists of outsiders. Having seen management problems, now let's have a look to operational problems. Operators are often unsatisfied due to low salaries, the low status of the job, and bad working conditions. Possible solutions to these issues include increasing collected fees by using cross-subsidizing schemes for example or by providing special benefits to the operators, such as medical assistance, food, accommodation, etc. And providing them, of course, with facilities, gloves, boots, collection carts, etc. On top of being unsatisfied, operators often have no or little expertise in solid waste management issues and are, therefore, unprofessional. This can be solved by providing them with training. The previous two problems often lead to an unreliable service on behalf of operators. Involving them in decision-making appears to be an incentive for them to perform better. Also, paying them based on their performance improves the service. Other operational problems might arise from competition on behalf of the private and the public sector. And finally, space seems to be an important constraint for waste treatment and sorting projects. Financial problems might arise due to the following issues: low ability to pay on behalf of households, which could be avoided by cross-subsidizing schemes, or due to inadequate fee collection. This is often due to the lack of rigorousity of fee collectors. Other reasons could include the absence of sanctions for non-payment and lack of legal obligation to pay. Both issues involved lead to cost recovery problems, which are discussed in the modules about financing mechanism. Problems might also arise when co-operation with municipality fails. Many times it is difficult for big municipalities to connect and co-ordinate with hundreds of tiny CBOs. However, sometimes a municipality or solid waste agency can also obstruct CBOs in various ways. Either directly by hampering the performance of community-based services. The bad co-ordination between primary and secondary collection is one of the most common examples. Or indirectly by refusing assistance to provide legal, financial or promotional support. Why is community management desirable at all? Several benefits exist of having communities manage their solid waste service. First, it creates social cohesion and networks among residents. Second, it can trigger some peers social pressure to participate. Third, it facilitates cross-subsidies for those that cannot pay. For instance, in Karachi, Pakistan, widows that have very little income, are exempted from payment but still got service from the CBOs. Fourth, it adapts the service to the local needs and conditions. And with the priorities and capacities of the men and women concerned. And ultimately, when co-operating with the private and the public sector, it allows to provide solid waste services to a larger population. This is the end. In this module we learned about community members and the roles in solid waste management. Community-based organizations are formed when residents of a confined area are organized. These CBOs can provide different services to the community including solid waste management. They can be driven by different motivations, such as having a clean neighborhood or earning some money. We also saw different organizational structures of CBOs. They can partner with micro enterprises, local government agencies and NGOs. Finally, we mentioned several social and management problems CBOs face, as well as some of the benefits of community management. We hope you learned something. This module was prepared using this document shown here. Those of you who would like to get more insights on the topic, I recommend you to have a look to it on the Internet.