Today three volunteers of our Challenges Worldwide Community Action Day (CAD) Committee accompanied me to a meeting at the Busega Muslim Girls Primary School. The meeting took place with a number of chiefs of the Wakiso districts and with the Kampala Capital City Association (KCCA). This Saturday the KCCA will be organising a ‘Go Green’ Community Clean up day, on which the community is to clean the garbage of the street. Furthermore they will be offering free medical check ups on that day. An estimation of around 500 comunity members were encouraged to join the clean up of 9 different districts in Wakiso.
Apart from participating with the KCCA to clean the streets and offer medical check ups by Buganda Bulungi Bwansi, CWW is planning to add two more activities: tree planting and basic business training seminars for CBOs (community-based organisations)
Through participating in this Community Action Day, Challenges Worldwide aims to encourage sustainable business and to support CBOs in Wakiso and to promote long-term environmental consciousness in the community by helping in both tree planting and street cleaning.
It was interesting to attend their meeting. Apart from getting an insight to how the KCCA organises their work, they showed us their willingness to make street cleaning a more regular and therefore sustainable activity. It seems not to be easy. Street cleaning is something that comes paired with the community’s mentality. The KCCA mentioned that volunteering is not as popular anymore and therefore the state needs to make better arrangements. To be honest, not everyone in London or Rotterdam wants to be involved in street cleaning either. State arrangements by the KCCA have however not yet been very successful. For example, the KCCA would pay selected cleaners to keep the streets clean, however the experience is that the cleaners pocket the money, and do not clean.
Even though 80% of this meeting was in Luganda (partly translated), our Challenges Worldwide CAD Committee tried to exchange experiences and knowledge with the members of the district. For example, one of the chiefs said: “nobody wants garbage in their garden, why not have everyone in one district contribute for garbage pickup?”. We explained that this might cause the community to dump their garbage somewhere else for free. The KCCA suggested to set up a system in which the wealthy make a contribution, and in which the less privileged pay less contribution. However, we tried to make clear that garbage pickup could also be arranged for everyone, through using tax money. KCCA’s response to this was you still have the difference between the rich and the poor. We suggested that the more wealthy could then pay more tax. The respond to this in the meeting was very positive. The KCCA has the budget, now it is up to them to work hand in hand with the community in order to change their mentality. We will help them try to bring about this change on Saturday, I imagine this will only be the start of a long way to go.
In terms of tree planting, it was the experience of the KCCA that trees that were planted in the past, did not survive. Either because nobody looked after them, or because animals would get to them. We all agreed that the trees should be fruit trees, which were to be planted at public spaces, such as schools and churches. This way the community can protect the trees. After Saturday I will let you know how it all went!