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ENDA-ETHIOPIA

P.O. Box 278Addis AbabaEthiopiaTel. (251-1) 51 21 86Fax: (251-1) 51


45 80
E-mail: enda-eth@hotmail.com
WHAT IS ENDA-ETHIOPIA?
ENDA-Ethiopia is the Ethiopian branch of ENDA TW (Environmental Development
Action in the Third World) based in Dakar, Senegal. Its aims are to support local initiatives
to fight poverty, preserve or improve the environment and promote active citizenship in
Ethiopia. Its present activities center on urban popular economy and ecology,
environmental education, sustainable farming and communication.

WHAT IS ENDA-ETHIOPIA’S APPROACH?

Enda-Ethiopia acts as a facilitator


In dealing with grassroots groups (women, youth, craftmen, urban farmers, etc.), Enda-
Ethiopia definitely refuses to come up with its own projects for implementation by or with
the members of these groups. All actions or projects are expected to be generated by the
group members. Enda-Ethiopia’s approach is to help the local people to seek appropriate
solutions to their problems, make the most of local resources, negotiate and identify means
of action, organize their activities and assess their own methods and results.

Enda-Ethiopia does not work in isolation


Enda-Ethiopia believes individual efforts have a sustainable impact in so far they combine
with the actions of others. All endeavors initiated by Enda-Ethiopia are therefore
undertaken in association with other partners. The participation of all those involved at
different levels in the development process is sought.
WHAT DOES ENDA-ETHIOPIA DO?

1. IMPROVED LIVING CONDITIONS IN THE KEBELES

Supporting the efforts of grass roots groups in Addis Ababa to improve living within
their environment
Enda-Ethiopia works in different kebeles in Addis Ababa to support the undertaking and
implementation of development efforts by kebele residents, especially women and youth.
Actions undertaken are those which ENDA-Ethiopia’s partner groups in the kebeles
consider to be a priority and are willing to tackle on the basis of their means, resources and
efforts.
Enda-Ethiopia intervenes by bringing technical support, providing information, introducing
experiences from elsewhere, helping groups to get organized, arranging training, promoting
exchange with other groups, fostering interface with existing institutions, introducing
saving and credit schemes and raising funds.

The activities in which ENDA-Ethiopia presently participates include


 saving and credit schemes with groups of destitute women and girls
 income-generation schemes with destitute women
 construction of access road.

2. URBAN AGRICULTURE

One of ENDA-Ethiopia’s approach in the fight against poverty is to promote urban


agriculture, so that bare plots in the cities can be used to produce nutritious food.
Enda-Ethiopia’s present activities in urban agriculture include:
 collaborating with a vegetable producers’ cooperative to solve their problem of water
supply;
 introduction of bio-intensive gardening techniques;
 support to a youth group starting vegetable production and planning to start dairy
farming.

3. SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Enda-Ethiopia’s programme for the promotion and expansion of sustainable agriculture in


Ethiopia has 3 major components:
Training

Arrangements are underway for launching a training programme for farmers and
extension workers in sustainable farming techniques.
Networking

This entails developing links between individuals, institutions and programs carrying
out sustainable agriculture activities in Ethiopia, with a view to optimize sharing of
expertise, know-how, resources, data and research findings on sustainable agriculture.
The establishment of the Forum for Environment, of which ENDA-Ethiopia is a founding
member, is part of this effort.
Communicating

This includes documenting experiences, and collecting and disseminating information


on both indigenous knowledge and modern approaches supportive of sustainable
agriculture; the magazine on environment and development is part of this effort.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

Publication of a magazine on environmental and development issues


in Ethiopia

This magazine, which is now endorsed by the Forum for Environment,


is designed to
 discuss and reflect on environmental and development issues in Ethiopia;
 facilitate dissemination and sharing of information on indigenous knowledge and on
environmental activities and initiatives in the country; and
 increase access to information for people working in the regions.
It is mainly intended for agricultural extension workers, community development workers,
teachers, health workers and local government officials working in Ethiopia’s different
regions.
5. URBAN ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMY PROGRAM

The Popular Urban Environmental Economy Programme is an ENDA programme


conducted in different countries where ENDA is operational. The programme focuses on
urban waste management as an entry point into urban management. The programme has an
operational component and a research/capitalisation and dissemination/communication
component. ENDA-Ethiopia is involved in the second component.
Action-oriented research was conducted in
Three catagories were made for the study.

1. An assessment of waste generated and thrown from households and other


contributors.
2. Waste disposal from industries and other institutions
3. An assessment of the recycling sector in Addis Ababa.

The part of the solid waste generated from households and business areas was taken as the
largest assessment of all the others. It is presupposed that the assessment includes young
actors as enumerators and action performers to record a lively experience of waste
management in identified areas.
It is more than clear that a study to cover the whole of Addis Ababa could
not be undertaken. So it was decided to carryout the study in selected places. There was
no intention to develop criteria to select where to conduct the study. It is understood that
waste is being generated from each and every household in Addis Ababa. The only
opportunity we wanted to exploit was to work with target groups we know most. This was
decided mainly for two reasons:-

1. The feeling of responsibility and sincereness is more in group with


already
contacts has been made.

2. The work is easier for target groups from the same area than to bring
and
introduce some other new faces to undertake a study in an area which they

don’t know before.


Based on the above mentioned understanding, we identified the areas where two of our
most releveant groups are found.
One is located in the center of Addis Ababa called zebegna sefer where as the other is at
the southern sub-urban part of the city called Akaki.
The survey was started in early October 1998 in an action oriented manner.
Three sets of functions were designed together with target groups as viable approach for an
action oriented exercise to see into waste situations in Addis Ababa. These were:-

1. Taking pictures of the most fascinating places of waste accoumulation together


with interviewing the affected citizens found in the vicinity as a matter of coincidence
by going around the villages.
2. Compile the interviews and arrange the pictures to serve as suppoting
testimonials for the compilations of the interviews.
3. Convey the outcome of the survey in an impressive way in styles (like in dramas,
debates) to win the attention of the audience to be able achieve targeted goals.

As an introduction to the exercise orientation was given to both the youth groups at the
ENDA Ethiopia’s office. Each group was provided with a camera and the necessary
stationery. There was no questionnaire or any format developed to guide the survey. This
was deliberately done to encourage the groups use their own talents and approach to be able
to maximize their gain from the interviews.
Deployed in different directions for the survey, the groups brought interesting information
within almost ten days.
Each group was able to conduct upto 50 interviews and make upto 30 slide filmed
photographic records of improperly desposed wastes.
Representative historical happenings ascertaining the seriousness of problems of waste in
Addis Ababa.

1. A man who lost his wife because of an ailment brought as a result of solid and
liquid waste desposed very closed to his house, was a real agony to
him and to all who heard about it.
2. A women who prepares local bread for sale but is using paper and other dried
bio-degradable waste from the nearby waste desposal site as fuelwood. Because
of the proximity of the waste thrown to where she bakes bread, flies were observed
disturbing her.
3. Some households are observed desposing their waste into the river basin because
of absence of skip in the area. This practice has contaminated the river water to
the extent of restraining the movement of the water.
4. Wrongly placed waste collection skips along the asphalt road were observed
dangerous to children crossing the road to dump their waste.
5. A man living nearby waste desposal skip was found psychologically affected for the
reason that he found his son (small) blowing used up “ condom “ from the skips.
6. A situation where the local administration constructed a common latrine for a group
of households but the people didn’t want to use it because of mismanagement and
even went to the extent of asking the local administration to close it for there was an
incident where one of the children of the village was about to be drawned into the
latrine well. Another situation observed was that the recklessness of the villagers
which went to the extent of throwing dead animals into the latrine.
7. Wrong allignment of open drainage ditches and misuse of the ditches by the
community has also been a cause for waste accumulation. In some places it
was observed that the liquid waste doesnot move through the ditches. Rather,
it stands still. On the other hand, the community does not also use the ditch for the
purpose it was designed. Even dry solid waste was being dumped into the
drainage ditches. To check on the acceptance of ditch construction the people were
enquired whether they appreciate the construction of ditches or not they prefer if
ditches were not consturcted.
8. The community pays very little attention to waste management. This was proved
as a result of the survey in the habit the people have developed in sending small
boys and girls for waste desposal whose ages couldn’t allow them to either
carry the solid waste or even dump the waste in the skip which is too high to
them to empty the waste into the skips.
9. A woman who used to make her livelihood from sale of a local beverage called
“ Tela “ has now stopped her business since all the people come to dump their
waste in the skip placed infront of her house and her customers
refused to take drinks in a dirty place where all garbage is seen right infront.
10. Victims of any circumstances are always the disabled. A cripled young man
told enumerators that of all the places in the vicinity, his place is very diry.
This is because, the others have all the energy to tell people not to dump
their wastes infront of their house. But, since he is disabled and can not see
them or even has no force to stop them from doing it, he is affected more
than anyone in the surrounding.
These are events extracted from the study to show the worsening trend of
waste management in Addis Ababa.

What after the groups finish with the survey?


The survey is a way of getting the feeling on the status of waste in Addis Ababa. Once,
we feel that enough material has been collected from the survey, a series of steps to raise
the awareness of the community in meetings to be arranged with the respective Kebeles
will be undertaken.
In due course of the process, diferent styles of presentation are being agreed upon with the
groups we are working in both the places. Mainly we have identified three functions:-
1. Prepare a script for a drama play to depict the real situation in an action
supported style.
2. Based on an identified topic a debate will be performed by the groups
themselves to inculcate the realization about waste in the minds of the
community.
3. The third function is showing the slide film to the community and make oral
explanation for further clarity.

The preparation is on course but, since especially, the Akaki youth are still students in the
high school the finalization on some of the functions to be performed is taking more time
than expected.
As preparatory to debate performance the youth group identified the awareness level of the
community as a topic for the debate. They divided themselves into two groups and
performed the debate one group being in favor and another against. This is based on the
real situation they have observed during the survey.
One of the groups, putting its arguements in favor, had the following points made to
strengthen its position that people are aware of waste problem in the city.

1. People have responded positively for the study. This shows that they are
aware of the problem and have some ambition may be these surveyors will
take this issue to the attention of those who can resolve it.
2. They argue that when the drainage ditch is clogged by dry waste they have
reported the situation for the near by local administaration, these shows that
they are very well aware of waste problem.
3. In some places, some people are observed to take the initiative to burn some
dead animals thrown in the waste collection skips. This is a good example
which shows that the awareness about waste and its dangers is high.
4. What ever the community does is knowingly because of lack of the enabling
alternatives to solve the problems. Some of the inhabitants have boldly spoken
of their purposeful breach of sanitation rules for they don’t have proper latrine
and waste accumulation skips in the area.

Those who wanted to argue that people were unaware had the following points against their
opponents.

1. Most people do not care about others. If they clean their compound, they
prefer to throw their waste not too far from where they live. They don’t even
realize that the open space where they throw the waste is also a play ground
to their children.
2. Waste management at household level is taken to be the task of women at
home. On this, there exists a very serious gender issue in the Ethiopian
situation.
Some male household members were asked on why they don’t want to
participate in waste management at household level. What they replied was, it
is not meant for men. Though the answer seems to be chauvenistic it is
connected to egnorance and unawareness.
3. Small children whose height is by far less than the collection skip and who do
not have force to carry the waste baskets are given the responsibilities of
waste desposal to the skips. What makes it more interesting is in the first place
they drop almost half of the waste before they reach the skips and secondly, even
after reaching nearby the skip the clearance of the skip from the ground is too high
that the children are unable to empty their waste into the skips. This is done,
according to the debaters, because people have less awareness about waste and
its proper management.
4. Even grown ups bring their waste and throw it around the skip knowing that
the skips are already full. This shows according to debators, that they have
some egnorance and could not realize that it is oweful to dump waste on a
skip which is already full.

Follow up of the waste cycle study


The waste cycle study will end up with its action oriented performance after results of the
assessment have been presented to the respective communities at Akaki and Zebegna Sefer.
The need for a further follow up has been realized. This situation was also very well
understood by the youth group who were taking part in the assessment that follow up is
needed to promote the results of the asessment to practical measures to be taken by
comunities ready for action.
A series of discussions were made with the youth groups on this issue. They all agreed on
the necessity for follow up and came out with suggestions on the best mechanism for follow
up. Two ideas were brought forward.

1. Consider the youth groups to act as representatives of the community and


serve as bridge between ENDA-Ethiopia and the community.
2. Representative from the community be nominated to serve as deligates of
the community for further steps to be taken.
The first option of taking the groups themselves as repesentatives of the community
was assumed to have its own problems. Problem of recognition by the community
as they have not been elected by them is mentioned as one of the core problems.
Not only because they were not elected by the community, but also for the reason
that they are children of the community they will not have recognition in convincing
and organizing the people to dedicate themselves for practical activites. This is a
cultural barrier in the Ethiopian society that elderly people should not be told or
guided by their children. Rather the elders are considered to be informed of many
things better than the young generation. Because of this the first option has not
recieved unanimous support from discusants.
The second idea of encouraging the community to elect some recognized
representatives from among themselves was supported by almost all
participants of the meeting. The logic in favor of this option was, people usually
respect their own nominees provided that the nominated people are socially
recognizeable for one reason or another. If this option is supported, there was a
discussion initiated on what would be the subsequent role of the youth group after
presenting the issue for the community. The fact that the group can act as bridge
between ENDA-Ethiopia and community representatives has not been taken a
simple task. It is owing to lack of communication that gaps are created and the role
of the youth group to link information to and from the community is assumed an
important activity. Aside from this, it has also be realized that the groups should
serve as measuring yards to monitor waste condition in their respective communities
in a consistent manner.
THE CYCLE OF WASTE IN ADDIS ABABA

1. Addis Ababa

Unlike the other African cities of colonized countries, Addis Ababa is characterized by its
spontaneous growth as an indigenous city with very little impact of external forces. The
city began to develop as a political, economic and cultural center in subsequent years.
Services such as piped water, electric light and other facilities attracted migrant population
from other parts of the country. In addition to this rate of rural-urban migration drained
rural labour force from agricultural production created problems of unemployment,
congestion and strains on existing inadequate social services in Addis Ababa (Solomon
Gebre, 1996)

Geography
Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, was founded in 1887 by emperor Menelik II(and
his wife). It is located in the central highlands of Ethiopia, covering an area of 530 km 2.
With an elevation ranging from 2000-2800 m a.s.l. it is the highest capital of Africa. Its
topography is constituted by hills, valleys, rivers and streams. The air temperature is fairly
constant throughout the year, with variations between 20 to 25 ∞C during the day, and
between 7 and 11 ∞C at night. Average rainfall is 1200 mm per year, with the major rains
occuring between July and September.

Population
Addis Ababa accomodates about 30% of the total urban population in Ethiopia. It’s
population amounted to 2.1 million in the 1994 population census1, estimated to reach 2.3
million in 1997 (CSA, 1995). Other sources give higher estimates (3.5-4 million). The
population census of 1984 gave a population at that time of 1.4 million, revealing an
increase of 60% over a decade, at an annual growth rate of 3.79%. Most of this growth is
due to in-migration.

1 All statistical data are taken from official sources.


Population density reaches 632 inhabitants/ha in the slum areas and 5 inhabitants/ha in
Addis Ababa rural.
32% of the Addis Ababa’s population is below 15 years old and 1.7% is above 64 years old.
There are over 78 ethnic groups in the city, the major ones being the Amharas, Oromos,
Gurages and Tigrays. 81% of the Addis Ababa population follows the Christian orthodox
religion, 13% are muslims, the remainder following various other religions.

Social aspects
A characterisitic feature of Addis Ababa is that rich and poor live together without
segregation. Slums are found in well-to-do areas, while wealthy residences and high
buildings are standing in the midst of slum areas.
The literacy rate in Addis Ababa is 83%. Net enrollment ratios in primary, junior and senior
secondary school are 73, 35 and 36% respectively in total, with a very similar
respresentation for both boys and girls.

Economic aspects
The economic activity rate for Addis Ababa is 53.08%, with 65.22% for men and 41.89%
for women. These figures include all persons engaged in household chores, food
preparation, house cleaning, daily labour, taking care of children, collecting fire wood.
Income is below the poverty line for 60% of the households, according to UNDP.
The biggest employer is the public service sector, which employs 42% of the economically
active population. 67% of Ethiopia’s industries are found in Addis Ababa, but the sector
accounts for only 13% of the city’s economically active population. The so-called informal
sector, which is defined as household type of establishments/activities
- which are mainly engaged in marketed production, and
- which are not registered companies or cooperatives, and
- which have no full written book of accounts, and
- which have less than 10 persons engaged in the activity,
and
- which have no licence
employed 166 405 people in 1996 according to the sample survey conducted by the Central
Statistical Authority and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. This represents 26% of
economically active population in urban Addis Ababa. One-fifth of the total income is
shared by 63% of the city’s population, while less than 2% share another quintile (Bigston
and Negatu, 1995).
Women and children small economic activities are the main source of income for 41% of
the households belonging to the poorest segment of the society (CRDA, 1997). As a matter
of fact, the population considered to be “economically active” starts from age 10.

Access to basic services


The rapid population growth in Addis Ababa has put a severe stress on services and
infrastructure.
According to the 1994 population census 4.4% of the houses have tap water inside. More
than 45% obtain drinking water from outside their compounds (standing pupes and water
vendors).

Administration
In 1991 (?) Ethiopia was divided into 14 regions. Addis Ababa, which is located in the
Oromia State (Region 4) was granted its own autonomous administrative status, and named
Region 14. Region 14 includes both an urban and a rural part, known as Addis Ababa urban
and Addis Ababa rural in statistical documents.
As an autonomous regional entity, the city is vested with legislative, executive and judicial
powers. It is governed by a city council, known as the Addis Ababa City Council (?),
representing the 6 zones into which Addis Ababa is divided. Each zone is divided into
weredas, and weredas into kebeles, or neighbourhoods, which form the smallest
administrative unit of the city. There are 28 weredas and 305 kebeles in Addis Ababa urban
and 23 farmers’ associations in Addis Ababa rural. A kebele has at least three elected
officials who are paid by the City Council.
Since Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia, modern economic activities, social and
infrastructural services are found relatively in a better situation than other cities of Ethiopia.
However the existing socio-economic and infrastructural development of Addis Ababa is
too slow to meet the demands of the increasing population from time to time due to both
natural growth and rural-urban migration.
The increase in population growth in urban areas which resulted in concentration of
population followed by the generation of all wastes. Together with the development of
cities and increase of population, the amount of waste disposal is increasing from time to
time. The city has not been able
Among other many urban problems, the poor solid waste management system existing in
Addis Ababa or other cities of the country is the main one of which our city population are
suffering from.

Liquid and solid waste


Addis Ababa has a limi.ted sewerage system, designed for 200 000, but presetnly covering
only 6000 households

Waste in last 20 years


The amount of waste generated by the city in 1996/97 is estimated to be 1386 m2/day. Out
of this, 750 m3 is collected by the municipal services
Initiatives (cf. CERFE 118 - 6%)
Accroding to a study by Mesfin ((1996), solid waste is rankest top of environmental
Problems in Addis Ababa, scoring 26.47, and immediately followed by sewerage (20.59),
then population congestion (14.71).

2. What has been researched and how was the study


conducted? Why the focus on recycling? (cf.
integrated or disintegrated?)

Four major components have been researched for this study:

a) Management of solid waste at home


b) Waste collection and diposal by the municipal services
c) Recycling aspects
d) The policy and legislative environment in which entreprises have to
operate

Waste management in Addis Ababa is totally disintegrated. The municipal services run a
waste collection and diposal service, which is under the responsibility of the Region 14
Health Bureau. The concern of this Bureau is, obviously, health, and waste management is
therefore considered from the point of view of its impact on health only. Several practices
exist which contribute to the management of waste, but these are not considered as one of
the mechanisms that helps alleviate the waste accumulation in the city.
The focus here is on recovery and recycling, as practised at home and as economic activity.
Although the existence of these practices is acknowledged, their importance is disregarded
by the society at large, by the municipal services and by other local authorities. This being
the case, interventions aiming at improving environmental santitation in the town never
include operators and people involved in recovery and recycling sectors. On the contrary,
some interventions go completely against the interests of this sector, thereby aggravating
the solid waste problem even more.
Concern about the urgency of the waste problem has been growing steadily in the last years.
Promoting the recycling and recovery sector and integrating it into a
Complains about “lack of means” are commonly heard in Ethiopia. On the other hand,
Ethiopia prides itself to be a country “of great potential”. If it is true that a country has a
potential, it means that resources do exist, but that they are not exploited and valued. This
study intends to show, for a very restricted sector, that different resources are available.
Ignoring them is wasting them. Using them in complementation and mutual reinforcement
with will contribute in tackling urban development problems more efficiently.

2. Waste management at home

Methodology
Two areas were selected for collecting data on the management of household waste. The
first area is Akaki (wereda 26 and 27) and the other around the center of Addis Ababa called
Zebegna Sefer (wereda 9 kebele 12). The reason for selecting these two areas is the
availability of groups with whom Enda-Ethiopia has been working in the past year. In Akaki,
Enda-Ethiopia works with a group of 25? Youth, both boys and girls aged 16-19, most of
them still students and members of the Akaki Red Cross Environment Club. The first links
were created after an Enda-Ethiopia staff had participated in their school’s Envrionment
Day and presented a talk on urban waste management. Since then, urban agriculture
activites were started in the area, both in the sshool and in the youth’s households, and a
campaign for collecting waste plastic bags was conducted in June 1998.
All in all, 523 households were interviewed, 367 in Akaki, covering several kebeles in the
two weredas, and 156 in Zebegna Sefer, covering one single kebele. A statistical analysis
was done for the data collected in both sites..

Separation of waste
Separation of waste at home differes between well-to-do and poor households. Strict
separation of household waste is practised in poor households, since they make a varied use
of their waste. Cowdung is used to plaster the floor and walls of the houses, or processed
into dung cakes and used as fuel. Pieces of paper, thread and plastic bags are used burned
to initiate three stone fire burning. Used paper, such as paper from old exercise books of
their children, are reused as toilet paper by the family. The only item which poor
households have for sale to qorales are their worn-out slippers.
The well-to-do families responded that they don’t separate household waste at source.
However, the children at home collect some of the saleable used bottles, glasses, and nail
paint containers to sell when the “ Korales” come.
The responsibility of household waste collection and separation also varies between the
well to do and the poor families. In poor families, it is the mother assisted by her daughters
(if she has), who handles the household cleaning and separating of the waste. The male
members of the family do not participate in these activities, except that they sometime
involve themselves when the waste is bulky and some physical help is required to transport
it to damping places.
In case of the well to do families, it is servants who collect and despose off household
wastes.

Common salvaging and recycling practices


At household level, especially in low-income groups, waste is widely used as an economic
ressource. If there is the least advantage to be gained, housewives, maids or children will
sort the waste and make sure that they get the benefit, whether in terms of cash (koralie),
equipment (lewach), bio-fertiliser (vegetable gardens and vegetable growers), cattle feed or
energy. Such practices have to be encouraged because they contribute to reducing the
quantity of waste that needs to be carried to the collection containers and transported to the
landfill.
The dung cakes sold as fuel are an appropriate means of recovering the manure and supplying
fuel to Addis Ababa’s population. This practice surely has an important impact on the city’s
environment, yet it has not been thoroughly researched. Without a thorough comprehension
of how this and other common practices affect the urban environment and the livelihood of
Addis Ababa’s more than 2 million residents, there is a risk that inappropriate decisions
will be taken.

3. Appraisal of situation at kebele level (A-R stories)

Methodology
The information on the waste situationin the neighbourhoods a participatory survey was
conducted by youth groups in two areas of Addis Ababa: The first group came from Akaki
(wereda and ), and was composed of the members of the Red Cross Environment
Club. The second group was composed of 10-12 young women (age 20-25) from a
neighbourhood in the centre of the town, known as Zebenya Sefer (wereda , kebele 09).
This part of the programme was expected to be conducted as research-action, with the two
groups presenting the outcome of the surveys to their respective communities, identifying
with them which of the problems they would address first and planning the actions to be
taken. Because of the border conflict between Ethiopia and Erythrea, and the ensuing
impossibility to mobilise communities for anything else than support to refugees, displaced
populations and soldiers on the front, it was not possible to complete the programme as
expected. The two groups were able to conduct the surveys, analyse the data they had
collected, prepare different forms of presentations of the waste problem in their respective
neighbourhoods. They could not go beyond this stage, because local authorites in the
kebeles and woredas would not allow community meetings unless they were for a patriotic
purpose. Environmental sanitation was not considered patriotic.

Outcomes
In due course of the process, diferent styles of presentation are being agreed upon with the
groups we are working in both the places. Mainly we have identified three functions:-

1. Prepare a script for a drama play to depict the real situation in an action supported
style.
2. Based on an identified topic a debate will be performed by the groups themselves to
inculcate the realization about waste in the minds of the community.
3. The third function is showing the slide film to the community and make oral explanation
for further clarity.

1. Major issues identified


From the pictures taken by the youth in their respective neighbourhoods, and from the
scripts they have written the pictures in preparation of presenting the waste problem to the
communities,
Representative historical happenings ascertaining the seriousness of problems of waste in
Addis Ababa. These are events extracted from the study to show the worsening trend of
waste management in Addis Ababa.

1. Waste is toxic, it can kill


A man who lost his wife because of an ailment brought as a result of solid and liquid
waste disposed very closed to his house, was a real agony to him and to all who
heard about it.
2. A women who prepares local bread for sale but is using paper and other dried bio-
degradable waste from the nearby waste disposal site as fuelwood. Because of the
proximity of the waste thrown to where she bakes bread, flies were observed disturbing
her.
3. Some households are observed desposing their waste into the river basin because of
absence of skip in the area. This practice has contaminated the river water to the
extent of restraining the movement of the water.
4. Wrongly placed waste collection skips along the asphalt road were observed
dangerous to children crossing the road to dump their waste.
5. A man living nearby waste disposal skip was found psychologically affected for the
reason that he found his son (small) blowing used up “ condom “ from the skips.
6. A situation where the local administration constructed a common latrine for a group of
households but the people didn’t want to use it because of mismanagement and even
went to the extent of asking the local administration to close it for there was an incident
where one of the children of the village was about to be drawned into the latrine well.
Another situation observed was that the recklessness of the villagers which went to
the extent of throwing dead animals into the latrine.
7. Wrong allignment of open drainage ditches and misuse of the ditches by the
community has also been a cause for waste accumulation. In some places it
was observed that the liquid waste does not move through the ditches. Rather, it
stands still. On the other hand, the community does not also use the ditch for the
purpose it was designed. Even dry solid waste was being dumped into the drainage
ditches. To check on the acceptance of ditch construction the people were enquired
whether they appreciate the construction of ditches or not they prefer if ditches were
not consturcted.
8. The community pays very little attention to waste management. This was proved as
a result of the survey in the habit the people have developed in sending small
boys and girls for waste disposal whose ages couldn’t allow them to either carry the
solid waste or even dump the waste in the skip which is too high to them to empty the
waste into the skips.
9. A woman who used to make her livelihood from sale of a local beverage called “ Tela
“ has now stopped her business since all the people come to dump their waste in the
skip placed infront of her house and her customers refused to take drinks in a dirty
place where all garbage is seen right infront.
10. Victims of any circumstances are always the disabled. A cripled young man told
enumerators that of all the places in the vicinity, his place is very diry. This is because,
the others have all the energy to tell people not to dump their wastes infront of their
house. But, since he is disabled and can not see them or even has no force to stop
them from doing it, he is affected more than anyone in the surrounding.
11. Taking pictures of the most fascinating places of waste accoumulation together with
interviewing the affected citizens found in the vicinity as a matter of coincidence by
going around the villages.
12. Compile the interviews and arrange the pictures to serve as suppoting testimonials
for the compilations of the interviews.
13. Convey the outcome of the survey in an impressive way in styles (like in dramas,
debates) to win the attention of the audience to be able achieve targeted goals.

Each group was provided with a camera and the necessary stationery. There was
no questionnaire or any format developed to guide the survey. This was
deliberately done to encourage the groups use their own talents and approach to be
able to maximize their gain from the interviews.
Deployed in different directions for the survey, the groups brought interesting
information within almost ten days.
Each group was able to conduct upto 50 interviews and make upto 30 slide filmed
photographic records of improperly desposed wastes on the status of waste in Addis
Ababa. Once, we feel that enough material has been collected from the survey, a
series of steps to raise the awareness of the community in meetings to be arranged
with the respective Kebeles will be undertaken.

2. Awareness
As preparatory to debate performance the youth group identified the awareness level of the
community as a topic for the debate. They divided themselves into two groups and
performed the debate one group being in favor and another against. This is based on the
real situation they have observed during the survey.

Arguments in favor
1. People have responded positively for the study. This shows that they are aware
of the problem and have some ambition may be these surveyors will take this
issue to the attention of those who can resolve it.
2. They argue that when the drainage ditch is clogged by dry waste they have
reported the situation for the near by local administaration, these shows that they
are very well aware of waste problem.
3. In some places, some people are observed to take the initiative to burn some dead
animals thrown in the waste collection skips. This is a good example which shows
that the awareness about waste and its dangers is high.
4. What ever the community does is knowingly because of lack of the enabling
alternatives to solve the problems. Some of the inhabitants have boldly spoken of
their purposeful breach of sanitation rules for they don’t have proper latrine and
waste accumulation skips in the area.

Arguments against
1. Most people do not care about the others. When they clean their compounds, they
dump their waste anywhere, as long as it is not too far away from where they live.
They don’t even realize that the open space where they dump the waste is also a
play ground for their children.
2. Waste management at household level is taken to be the task of women at home.
Men do not participate in waste management at household level, they say it is not
meant for men.
3. Small children are sent whose height is by far less than the collection skip and who
do not have force to carry the waste baskets are given the responsibilities of waste
disposal to the skips. They drop almost half of the waste before they reach the
skips and secondly, even after reaching nearby the skip the clearance of the skip
from the ground is to high that the children are unable to empty their waste into the
skips. This is done, according to the debaters, because people have less
awareness about waste and its proper management.
4. Even grown ups bring their waste and throw it around the skip knowing that the
skips are already full. This shows according to debators, that they have some
ignorance and could not realize that it is oweful to dump waste on a skip which is
already full.

4. Collection of waste

Municipal services
Management of solid waste in Addis Ababa is handled by the Solid Waste Management
Team, in the Environmental Health Department of Region 14 Health Bureau. The Team is
responsible for arranging collection and disposal of waste, street cleaning and organising
sanitation campaigns.

Collection
Municipal waste collection is handled in three ways: door-to-door, block and communal
collections using three types of collection vehicles: side load trucks, closed compacting
type trucks, and container lift trucks (Environmental Health Department, 1997).

1. Door-to-door collection. In this collection system, which covers less than 15% of the
total amount of waste collected in the city, households living along accessible streets
dump their waste in the trucks at a specific time in the day. It is used in accessible
areas where 8m3 transfer stations are lacking. Trucks should pass 2-3 times per week
but because of , it is much less than that.
2. Block collection. The municipality provides 8m3 refuse containers to clients upon their
request. Clients using this type of service are: large hotels, entreprises, institutions.
These clients dump their waste in the containers and call the zonal health office for
collection and disposal when the containers are full. Clients are charged 11 Birr/m3 for
this service. There are about 100 containers serving the block system in the city
(Environmental Health Department, 1997). Even though this is a service for which
clients will pay, the municipality is not always capable of answering calls promptly.
There is a number of privileged clients (ECA, Ethiopian Airlines, Hilton, etc.) which get
rapid service, but other clients complain of delayed response.
3. Container system: Large 8m3 refuse containers are placed at accessible sites in the
kebeles. Residents are expected to carry and dump their waste in the containers. These
containers are taken by municipality trucks to the dump site where they are emptied.
Currently, there are 516 metallic containers distributed in the city (Environmental Health
Department, 1997), with 63% of the existing kebeles having a minimum of 2-3
containers each. Approximately 85% of the waste collected by the municipality is
collected through this system.

The refuse containers serve the community at large, without any direct charge. It is
assumed that they will be filled within 3 days, and the objective of the Solid Waste
Management Team is to service them every 2-3 days. In places where containers are
filled fast, the intention is to have a servicing once or even twice a day. In practice,
refuse containers are emptied every 3 weeks on average.
In 1996 there were 102 trucks for waste collection (Alfonsi, 1997). Not all the trucks are
operational. In 1994, only 60% of the trucks were operational, the remaining 40%
needed maintenance (UDP, 1994).
 How much and how well does it cover waste management needs

In 1996/97, the amount of waste generated per day was an estimated 1 386 m3 of waste are
generated per day (Alfonsi, 1997; Assefa Hagos, 1997). The collection coverage rate for
solid waste in Addis Ababa is 54% (Assefa Hagos, 1997). This figure will baffle anyone
who lives or has walked around in Addis Ababa. Perhaps the discrepancy is due to
inconsistencies in statistics. According to the municipality, an while according to a study
made by a consultant (UDP, 1994), the amount generated per day is as high as 2 165 m3.

Inefficiency of the system


The present solid waste management system in Addis Ababa relies entirely on the
municipality, or more specifically on the Region 14 Health Bureau, which is expected to
provide the full range of waste collection and disposal services. This is proving an impossible
task, and, except for privileged areas, the services offered are found to be largely inadequate.
Complaints are heard at all levels. When the Region 14 Project Implementation Office
wanted to build hard standings for the collection containers, the kebele residents did not
accept the facility because they feared that the municipality would badly manage the service
(CERFE, 1997c). The same has been experienced in several kebeles and by the NGO which
has concretely looked into solutions to the sanitary problems in one of the poorest part of
town. The CERFE study (CERFE, 1997a) cites several cases where agreements with the
municipality to come and take away the waste was not respected. It is also a common
experience that after people are encouraged to participate in a cleaning campaign in their
kebele, the waste collected from households and ditches remains accumulated on the side of
the road for several days.

Inappropriateness of the system


It is known that the desired walking distance to waste collection points should not exceed
150 m from the housing units, in order for household members, usually women or children,
to bring their waste to the collection point. A large majority of households in Addis Ababa
live away from accessible roads. For such households, the walking distance to a collection
container may reach 0.5-1.00 km. It is unrealistic to expect anyone to carry the waste over
such a distance. Clearly, the container system is not adapted to households living in congested
areas. Other systems have to be devised to solve the waste collection problem in these areas.
All the equipment used for collecting waste in Addis Ababa comes from industrialised
countries, where the waste characteristics, the climate, the existing infrastructures, and the
socio-economic context are different from what is found in Ethiopia or in low-income
countries in general. It is not surprising, therefore, that the system does not work efficiently
once conditions are not the same. The means and mechanisms for collecting and disposing
of waste in Addis Ababa should be based on the reality of the city’s environment and its
socio-economic context, rather than on practices and equipment used in the developed world.
The problem is a complex one, because of the interaction between several components in
waste manangement and because different stakeholders have conflicting interests. To give
only one example, the rotating Kuka compacting trucks recently imported by the
municipality have lower operational costs, thus decreasing the collection costs. On the other
hand, these same trucks affect the livelihood of hundreds of waste pickers and their families
because the trucks grind all the waste together, and saleable materials can no longer be
recovered.
Contrary to what many appear to believe, it is unlikely that the use of smaller trucks will
alleviate the problem of collecting waste. Since one of the major constraints with the present
system is its dependency on trucks - because they are costly, break down and do not get
repaired quickly - one may reasonably doubt whether the results are going to be much better
with smaller trucks and smaller containers. The system would still be highly expensive and
rely on the availability of vehicles, petrol, spare parts, and drivers.

5. Duties and responsibilities of the kebeles

It is the responsibility of the kebele to keep its district clean. The kebele administration considers
it has the following obligations:
11. to penalise dwellers caught throwing their waste around the containers;
12. to take its time to visit the area and observe how dwellers manage to collect
their waste;
13. to conduct a campaign and clean the area, and contact the municipality to
empty the bin frequently, and
14. to construct latrines for those who do not have such facilities.

Kebeles are not in a position to penalise residents for throwing the garbage in ditches and
other open spaces, because this is usually done at night or when no one is around.

Services expected from the Health Bureau


The kebele administration is often confronted with residents complaining about the garbage
scattered around the containers, the bad smell and the hazards it poses for the children. It is
of the opinion that solid waste collecting containers have to be emptied frequently but has no
power to put pressure on the municipality. The door-to-door collection must be on a
specific date and time, so that every body will be ready for the services. When there is an
urgent call, e.g. if a dead animal or so is observed, there ought to be a response. The kebele
administration wishes the kebele health committee (if any) to have a meeting with the Region
14 Health Bureau at least once in a while and discuss the problems.

Major problems of the kebele in connection to waste management


Asked to list their five major problems, representatives of kebele administration stated that:
11. Some distant kebeles do not have enough space to put a container, as a result residents are
obliged to go to the neighbouring kebeles, and hence walk long distances to dump their
wastes.
12. The collecting skips are not emptied frequently.
13. People throw their waste in sewers and ditches.
14. Whenever the area becomes muddy, people do not go close enough to the container, rather
they just throw the garbage around the container.
15. The waste collection trucks only go where there is access road. This means only those
people who live along or near the road get the service.

Actions taken to solve these problems


In an attempt to solve the waste problem in their areas, some kebeles have taken a number
of action, including:

11. Training health inspectors to control any mismanagement. There is penalty for those who
disobey.
12. Planning to make concrete stands for the containers.
13. Maintenance of the roads inside the kebele.

In general, kebeles suggest that if everybody cleans his/her surrounding, the city will be clean.
They believe that a concerned body for waste management has to be created in the kebele.
The kebele administration has to support this body and co-operate with its programme. One
kebele intends to suggest to the municipality to buy smaller vehicles which can easily move
into each corner of the village.
There is a need to conduct a campaign to clean the kebele once or twice a month, including
clearing the ditches. Some kebeles have decided to discuss the problem with the community-
based organisations, such as iddir, and have an awareness raising program in schools, if there
are schools in the vicinity of the kebele.

6. Services offered by the private sector and NGOs

Out of 118 urban sanitation projects conducted in Addis Ababa by Government agencies and
NGOs, only 8 (6.78%) had a component on waste management (CERFE, 1997a). Three of these
were NGOs, the others were government projects. None of these projects were from the private
sector. In each case, the solid waste management component was limited to the distribution of
dust bins to households and/or placing containers in the kebele. Only one (local) NGO has been
especially active in seeking solutions to the waste problem in the area where it is working.
Several lessons can be learnt from its achievements (see box).
As to private entrepreneurs, they may deal with excreta disposal, but none of them handles solid
waste management.

Disposal of waste

Disposal
In Addis Ababa all the solid waste collected by the municipality is brought to a single
landfill at Repi. A fee has to be paid to be allowed to dump waste at the site. This means
that even if an agency or entreprise would collect the waste in a particular neighbourhood
and transport it to Repi, it will still be expected to make a payment, even though it has done
the work of the municipality.
If the waste is known to be hazardous, the Region 14 Health Bureau takes a number of
precautions before dumping it at the landfill, including using a specific truck for carrying
this type of waste and having it protected by police force, burying and digging waste known
to be hazardous, and informing scavengers at Repi of the dangerous nature of the waste.
Whatever precautions are taken, they will never completely prevent the scavengers to
scratch through the waste in search of something they can eat or sell (Rahel Shiferaw, 1997).

Medical waste
Medical waste, such as used syringe, soiled bandages and other unwanted materials, is
usually burnt. Some clinics have a special incinerator, while others put the waste in a barrel
and burn it using kerosene. Expired medicines are also burnt. Some clinics take expired
medicines to Zewditu Hospital on a specific date in the year, while the others burn theirs in
their own compounds in front of a representative from the Health Bureau and concerned
committee members.
Even so, scavengers at the Repi landfill report that they find different medical waste at the
dump (Rahel Shiferaw, 1997). This shows that not all the clinics comply with existing
regulations. Especially when amounts of waste to be disposed of are too big, they are dumped
at the Repi landfill instead of being burnt in incinerators.
Costs
The total expenditure for solid waste management in Addis Ababa does not exceed 5% of
the total municipal revenue (Mesfin Tilaye, 1998). In 1994/95, the municipality spent 5
million birr/year to collect and dispose of 50% of the city’s waste (UDP, 1994). Labour
accounted for 13% of the costs, while vehicle and plant cost accounted for 79%.
Calculated in terms of cost per household, this represents 13 birr/household/ year, or a little
over 1.00 birr/household/month, for a total of 374 742 households in Addis Ababa (CSA,
1995). If the average amount per kebele2 is calculated, the amount spent for each kebele on
collection and disposal would be total 16 393 birr/year, or 1 366 birr/month/kebele. This
figure is not representative, of course, since it is an average calculation which does not
account for kebeles receiving more services and kebeles hardly receive any. It does, however,
gives an idea of the budget supposedly necessary for collecting and disposing the waste in
one kebele.
The budget for the city’s waste management comes from the central Government. No taxes
are levied from households for waste collection, but industries and hotels are charged a fee
of 11 birr/m3 of waste collected. In 1994/95, this was a little less than the cost per m3. Today,
this does no longer cover the full collection and disposal costs, which is about 20 birr/m3
(Environmental Health Department, 1997). Taking this last cost as a basis, it means that the
municipality would need approximately 10 million birr to cover its solid waste collection and
disposal costs, which amounts to about 26 birr/household/year or 2.2 birr/household/month.

7. Waste from industries and institutions

Industries and institutions have different practices to dispose of their waste, but none of them has
any functional waste treatment facility. For many industries and institutions, the waste is handled
jointly with domestic waste by the municipality. Factories built along streams and rivers discharge
their untreated waste into these water systems, thus adding to the pollution of the river water3.
The waste disposed of by factories is refuse considered to be useless or which the factory or
enterprise has no capacity or skill to recycle. For instance, all the waste from the poultry enterprise

2 Given 305 urban kebeles in Region 14 (1994 population census).

3 The other major cause of the water pollution is the city's sewage which is drained directly into the river.
is buried, even though part of it, such as egg shells and feathers, can be useful. Some tyre factories
have heaps of rubber which they do not know how to use or get rid of. These entreprises stated
they would welcome expert advice on how these waste could be made profitable.
When they can, some factories do recover and recycle part of the industrial waste generated during
manufacturing:
11. Thee by-products (oilseed cakes) of the edible oil processing industries are sold as cattle
feed (by-products from cereals) to dairy producers or as fuel (by-products from cotton seed)
for injera baking.
11. At the Addis Ababa Abattoir nowadays, nothing is thrown, except for the digested food
from the cattle’s stomach and the jaw bone which are too hard to crush. All the other
products are processed into useful products4.
11. The plastic factories recycle the waste plastic generated during the production process.

Few institutions have an organised waste disposal system. The ECA has a paper shredder and
all the waste paper is shredded and marketed for recycling. At Ethiopian Airlines, the
untouched food returned from the aeroplanes is given free to Mother Teresa Charity. All the
other waste is ground on the premises of the company and disposed of in bulk by the
municipality.

8. Recylcing in Merkato

Methodology
The study on the recycling sector in Merkato is entirely based on the written work done by
the operators in the sector themselves.
The operators have had a bad experience with a project that attempted to help them solve
their problems. Although the project helped them in several aspects, the major expectations
of the operators was not fulfilled. Mainly, they had been expecting to receive micro-credit
from the Project, and when this was not forthcoming they became extremely defiant Right
from the beginning, we therefore insisted that we did not come to “help” them, but on the
contrary that we were looking for their assistance to prepare a document on recycling. We
proposed that they would be the ones to prepare the document on the specific recycling

4 The heap of bones still found in the abattoir is composed of old, dried bones which are now too hard to crush.
activities they were engaged in. We gave the a broad outline of what was to be included
in the document, but further than that they were given complete freedom on how and what
to write about themselves.
Groups responded positively to this proposal, feeling this was an opportunity for them to
express themselves without intermediaries and tell the society whom they are in reality.
Two young recyclors, one young man and one young woman, took the responsibility of
recording and writing down what the others had to say about themselves and about their
work. They were given a photo camera to take pictures for illustration of the written text.
We received papers on Ö recycling. These papers are written in Amharic. The language
conveys the messages in such a forceful and imaginative way, that we find it difficult to
translate it in English and communicate their ideas as powerfully as in the Amharic text.
The Amharic writings will be published as such (with some editing) and we have used the
information to write the section on recycling in the Merkato.

Recovery and recycling


The majority of the households in Addis Ababa are in the low-income bracket and the amount
of waste generated is small. Materials are already widely recovered at household level and
again by the waste pickers from the bins and trucks. Thus, as far as large-scale recovery is
concerned, there is little room for profitable and viable investment.
On the other hand, it could be rewarding in several ways for an industry to invest in small-
scale waste recovery: it would save on imports and energy; it would also have a very
beneficial effect on the environment.
What happened under the former regime is a case in point. As there was no access to foreign
exchange for the purchase of raw material from abroad, more material was recovered and
recycled by factories. For instance, plastic was collected throughout the country and brought
by truck to the capital city, where it was cleaned - thus providing employment to women -
and re-used in the manufacturing process.
Today, access to foreign exchange is made easier, hence factories can import raw material
and bother much less to recycle waste material. This is not because they reject the concept of
recycling per se, but because it is to their immediate advantage to import material that can
directly be used in the manufacturing process, without the need for intermediary upgrading.
A recent study (ENDA-Ethiopia, 1997) has shown that plastic factories would be ready to
use recovered waste plastic as long as it comes in a form which they can readily use, i.e.
sorted, cleaned and shredded. Many more waste material could be recycled if the machinery
and facilities were available. Investment could be oriented towards setting up small
enterprises for upgrading waste material that can then be sold to manufacturing industries.
Several enterprises have waste which they do not know how to use or get rid of. For example,
more oil can be extracted from cotton waste using a special solvent machine (as already done
in Modjo). The oil residue can be used as one of the ingredients in the manufacturing of soap.
Likewise, the waste from fruit vendors and juice houses (banana and orange peels), if
properly managed, can easily be decomposed to make organic fertiliser.

9. Enabling environment
 General policy (environmental, privatisation of urban public services,
waste management, water supply, sanitation, means)5
 The Master Plan
The Master Plan of Addis Ababa has divided the city into 5 zones, with the last zone being
the one located farthest away from the centre of the town. Each zone is divided into 3 grades.
The rent paid for land use varies according to the zone and grade of that land. The range of
land rent for different uses is given hereunder. The maximum price is for 1st grade land in
the 1st zone, the minimum is for 3rd grade land in the 5th zone. The land rent for the recycling
sector falls under land rent for business activities. This rent ranges from 4 to 0.80 Birr/m≤,
according to the location of the land.

5Taken from the paper "Policy legislation and instituional framework for solid waste management in Addis
Ababa, by Dessalegn Mesfin.
COLLECTORS

Introduction
Collection of scrap metals, old car parts, old rubber sandals and boots, car tyres, bottles, tin
cans, etc. is carried out all over Ethiopia. The merchandises are brought to Addis Ababa
and sold to small dealers and wholesalers who in turn sell them to the recyclers and artisans
in Addis Ababa and to merchants from the different regions of the country.
In Addis Ababa, there are various types of collectors that provide recyclable materials to
wholesalers and small dealers:
 Individual collectors, usually women and children, collect scrap metal, all
sorts of plastics, bottles, anything that can be re-used and recycled from
the streets and neighborhood to sell it to wholesalers in Merkato.
 Scavengers at the Repi dumping site separate similar recyclable
materials from the waste in great quantities and sell them to dealers,
qorales and wholesalers.
 Materials sorted at household level are sold to qorales, or itinerant waste
buyers who go from house to house to collect and buy the used articles
discarded by individuals, organisations and industries as a waste.

The term qorale is short for “Korkoro yaleh, or, in English, “Have you gotten any scrap
metal?” which is what the young boys shout when going round for collection. In fact, they
collect all sorts of old re-usable articles, not only scrap metal. The trend probably started
with collecting scrap metals, which was the first material available until plastic and other
materials were introduced.
The qorales are an important body of the urban society in conserving the environment from
pollution. Even if their main objective is making money and living by it, they are indirectly
involved in conserving the environment. They also provide the society with affordable used
articles at a lower price and thereby show the public that some of the used articles should
not be discarded instead recycled and reused.
However, the society as a whole has no clear understanding about the work of the qorales.
No recognition is given to their contribution in to the society. Therefore, the society has to
change its attitude towards the Qorales and their job and the government also has to give a
serious attention to these people.
Methodology
The research on the itinerant waste buyers is entirely the result of primary data. No relevant
secondary sources could be found on the subject. The study is based on focus group
discussions with 15 itinerant waste buyers, delaers and merchants. These discussions were
held after 2:00 p.m. This is the time qorales are back from the different areas where they
collect recyclable articles, have sold them to the wholesalers or dealers, and start
entertaining themselves.
The target area of the study was Merkato-Korkoro Terra6 where the qorales as well as the
wholesalers and dealers can be found in large number. This was found to be the most
convenient place to approach the qorales, who do not like to be talked to while they are
walking around. In general, qorales are very suspicious towards strangers asking them
questions about their job and background, because they have fear of government control,
taxation, eviction and finally loss of their jobs.
Merkato-Korkoro Terra is the main disposal area of the recyclable solid waste of the city.
There, the whole group of qorales feels more unfettered and safer than any other places.
They are available in large number and have time for discussion. At the beginning they
were aggressive or indifferent, but after the second and third visit, they were most willing
to discuss even their most personal issues.

2. Background of qorales
Origin
The majority of the qorales are young men from the Guraghe ethnic group. The Guraghes
occupy the southern range of the central Ethiopia plateau, and speak Guraghigna, a Semitic
language. The Guraghes are known to share their activities between the countryside and the
city. Turn by turn, the male members of the extended family come and work in Addis Ababa,
while the others remain in the countryside and take care of their land. After a year or two,

6 Merkato is the central market place in Addis Ababa. Korkoro-Terra (literllay: the location for tins and
corrugated iron materials) is located within the Merkato, behind Mirab Hotel.
the process is reversed. Those who were in town go back to the countryside and those who
were working on the land come to town.
Even when working in town, Guraghe people visit their families or relatives in their
homeland once or twice in the year. If visiting is difficult to them, they send them some
money. They are constantly in touch with on-going affairs and home relatives of their
homeland.
Young Guraghe boys are traditionally expected to leave their homes and search of work
and education in the city. Many come to Addis Ababa with high expectations, believing
“money can just be picked up from the streets”. but life in Addis Ababa What they find is
completely different. Their dream is out of the reality.
The age of the qorales ranges from 15 to 50 years, with most of them being between 18 and
25 years old. Most Guraghe boys work as qorale for 4-5 years. If they do not find a better
job or manage to become a merchant, they return to their homeland to work on their farms.
A few are still in the qorale business 16-20 years after they have started. They never “had
a chance” to change, and they never wanted to go back to the land.

Gender
Collecting the used articles from different areas and bringing them to Merkato-Korkoro
Tera is the work of young men. Women are not participating in this collection activity. This
is because of the lack of security, qorales always running the risk of being attacked and
robbed.

Education
All qorales have some education. They have left school after completing any grade up to
12th after the 6th grade. There is a small number of qorales who are university drop outs or
who are taking university extension classes.

On-the-job training
The newcomers are trained by qorales who are one the job. The newcomers might be
brothers, friends, relatives, neighbours, and/or at least from the same ethnic group of the
qorales. Whoever wants to become a qorale is accepted, without pre-requisite or
discrimination. That also holds true for the ex-soldiers who joined the qorale community.
The newcomer gets a training on how to shout, where and when to shout, what and how to
buy, how to transport the collected articles, etc. After a few days of training, the newcomer
becomes an independent qorale who does no longer need the assistance of his colleagues
on how to work.

Housing
Most of the qorales live in a daily rented houses paying 0.50 cents to 1.00 birr or monthly
rented houses by forming small group, 3 or more in number. Few of them live with their
relatives or parents.
Nowadays the number of qorales is multiplying. Increasing unemployment and poverty
existing in the country is the main reason for this. Especially some of the ex-soldiers from
the previous regime are also engaged in this activity. The work does not need large amount
of money to start and immediately provides a little money to cover basic needs such as food
and shelter. The work of qorales do not need special qualification, therefore, anybody
without special skill or qualification join it. This is the reason why we see a huge number
of people engaged in this activity.

3. Organization of the Work

Work schedule
Carrying their sacks on their shoulders, they leave their center between 7 and 8 in the
morning and disperse to different areas of Addis Ababa. Some of them travel to nearby
cities. They leave early in the morning, when the air is still fresh they themselves have
plenty of energy, and organise their working day so that they will not have to carry the
goods when it has become to hot. After work, in the afternoon, most of them meet at some
place for entertainment, chatting together, chewing khat, playing games (especially the
younger ones). Some attend church programmes and attend school or university.

Transportation
Usually qorales take buses to go the areas where they will be collecting materials, but to
come back to Merkato with the collected articles they use a taxi. They pay 0.20-0.50 for the
bus ride in the morning, depending on the distance, and spend 1.75-2.75 Birr on the way
back, out of which 0.75 is for their own fare, and the remaining for the goods they are
bringing back.

Working conditions
Because of the nature of the work their cloth is full of dirt and grease, therefore, when they
use public transport the other people are uncomfortable with them. Therefore, after
collection, they put off their working cloth at one corner of the road and pack it in the same
sack that holds their collected articles.
Qorales work throughout the year, but business slows down in the rainy season, and
working conditions worsen because o flack of protective clothing.

Initial fund
Before they leave for collection, the qorales go to the wholesalers in the Merkato and take
some money for buying the used articles they will collect from the households. The
wholesalers give them a certain amount of money, totalling 20 Birr or more, depending on
how much the wholesaler kows about the honesty of the qorale.
A qorale who has been working for several years for a specific wholesaler develops probity
and a trust-base relationship is built between the qorale and the wholesaler. This gives the
qorale a chance of receiving relatively more money from the wholesaler. A qorale who has
a good relationship with a wholesaler will get up to 100 Birr. In addition to the money that
qorales receive from the wholesalers, they may add their own money for buying articles. If
a qorale finds expensive but profitable article from his client, then his colleagues coming
from the same place he comes from, cooperate by lending him money.

Control
A qorale may use the money he received from a wholesaler for the business for other
purposes. Under any circumstances, if a qorale uses the money he received from one
wholesaler for other purposes, it becomes difficult to work with other wholesalers. Then,
he may stay without work for days or weeks until he gets back the money and continue his
work. The wholesaler who lost his money will inform the other wholesalers, and stop the
qorale from receiving money. However, if the qorale is very active and other wholesalers
know him that he makes good business, then he might have a chance of receiving money.
This is one of the informal controlling methods of the group.

4. Areas mostly visited by qorales

A qorale walks all round in Addis Ababa for collection. There are no specific areas where
he has to go at a specific time. He decides every time whenever he wants to go somewhere.
He uses his judgement to estimate where he has the best chances to get the material that is
much in the demand on the market. From discussions he has had the previous afternoon,
during entertainment time with his friends, he knows which articles are on demand.
Three major factors are determinant in his choice of place:

1. Availability of articles fetching a good price on the market.


2. Security.
3. Familiarity with his customers.

Most of all, however, qorales prefer to go to the areas where they have been going for
several times. This is because they feel safe in the places where they have become
familiar. If they knows the place, the possibility of being attacked by groups of robbers
is minimum. For a qorale, being robbed by village gangs is his main daily worry. So
safe arrival to his end is usually seen as a good luck.
When a qorale finds used articles on a specific place, he returns to the same place on
the next eight days. He also makes appointments with his clients to come on another
day and buy articles from them.
When a qorale repeatedly goes to a specific place, then the people from that area know
him well and their suspicion on the qorale may decrease. Areas with high-income group
of people, hotels and restaurants prefer to sell their used articles to qorales they see
repeatedly. These people hoard their used articles over a long period, and sell once at
specific time to the qorale they know well.
There are some specific areas where qorales would like to go more often, and others
they prefer to avoid.
Akaki, Kaliti and Saris, important industrial areas in Addis Ababa, are the places
preferred by the qorales because in these areas they can find more scrap metals. Scrap
metals fetch a higher price than any other used item.
They do not go to places such as Repi, the landfill where Addis Ababa’s waste is
dumped. Other waste pickers are working there and have a tight control over the place.
No one is allowed to pick wastefrom the Repi landfill, also known as “Kore” or “Koshey”,
unless s/he belongs to the group. The areas known as Kerra, Bulgaria and Cherkos
are also avoided by qorales. These places are known to be places where groups of
hooligans attack qorales and rob them from their belongings.
There is no difference on the availability of saleable used articles among the people of
low-income areas and high-income areas. According to the qorales, they may get a big
amount of used articles from the low-income areas or a small amount from the high-
income areas.

5. Regional Collections

The business of recovering used articles is not restricted to Addis Ababa. There is a
continuous exchange between the capital city and all the other regions of Ethiopia.
Qorales go and collect used articles from the regions and bring them to the capital city.
Merchants come from the regions to Addis Ababa to purchase cheap recycled items
which they will retail in the regions.
The recovery of used articles was especially flourishing during the Derg regime. In
those days, the lack of foreign exchange made it difficult to acquire raw material from
abroad, and the only way for some factories was to recycle waste material.
The need to collect waste material for the industries is less urgent nowadays, since
access to foreign exchange and import of raw material is no longer a problem. However,
the recovery and recycling is still good business, and used articles continue to be
collected from the regions and brought to the capital city.
Regional collections are done in two ways:
1. There are qorales who travel to regional cities and do the collection work. It could be in a
group or a single person renting a house from private house owners and may stay upto 6
months or more in a particular town. Articles are collected the same way they are collected in
Addis Ababa and brought back, by bus to be sold out.

Qorales travel to any part of the country, except their area of origin, as they would feel
uncomfortable to be seen by their relatives carrying a sack on their shoulders and shouting
“Korkoro yaleh”.
2. In some areas there are agents who are permanently residing in regional cities and do the
collection work. These permanent residents collect the articles and bring them to Addis
Ababa or send the articles with a driver or somebody who is working as an agent.

Only experienced qorales travel to the regions. They need to have a good relation with a
wholesaler, who will advance them a large amount of money (in thousands) and they need
to have contacts in the regional towns they will stay in and which can be anywhere in
Ethiopia.

6. Articles collected
Qorales collect all sorts of used articles, without distinction, as long as they know the
artilces have a monetary value and can be sold in the Merkato. Items purchased by
qorales include bottles, tin cans, parts of old cars, rubber and plastic shoes, papers and
magazines, scrap metals, flasks, rags, etc. On average qorales collect 15 kg of
materials a day. These are collected from households and more rarely from
organizations, factories or industries. Households are the best sources of used articles
for individual qorales. Most organizations and industries sell their used articles by
auction, therefore these places are not visited by the qorales. Only wholesalers, who
are in a better economic position than the qorales or the dealers, participate in auctions
because they have enough money for making bids.

Origin of articles purchased by qorales

Item Origin
Househol Hotels & Garages Industries
ds restaurant &
s entreprise
s
Tin can    
Bottle  
Glass jars  
Perfume and nail polish 
containers
Plastic container 
Paper 
Cartons 
Rubber shoe 
Scrap metal  
Old clothes 
Old iron sheets 
Old car parts  

Of all collectable materials listed, old car parts, scrap metals and bottles are the most
frequently wanted by small dealers and wholesalers.
The demand for recovered material is highly fluctuating. It is affected by changes in the
business and packaging and by different regulations issued to protect consumers. The case
of perfumery flask can be used as an example. Until some time ago, nail polish and perfume
flasks were in high demand, both by the informal sector producing forged nail polish, and
by the perfumary enterprises. Qorales used to pay up to 0.45 Birr for one flask. Once the
Government started exercising control on the perfumery products, factories had to look for
containers of higher standard and no longer stpped buying recovered containers. Likewise,
because of the risks of being caught, the production of forged nail polish decreased
enormously, resulting in a shrinking market for the flasks. Once they are no longer
purchased by qorales, such items become waste and add to the amount of waste to be
disposed of by the households.

7. Resale of the collected articles

All collected materials are taken straight away to dealers and wholesalers in Merkato,
since no qorale owns a place of his own to stock collected materials. Collected
materials are not processed - like by washing, cutting into pieces, etc. - before selling.
The wholesalers usually receive bottles, tin cans, plastic containers, scrap metals, old
iron sheets etc. Articles that are not taken by the wholesalers such as parts of old cars,
rubber shoes, clothes and others are sold to the dealers.
Qorales would like to provide the articles directly to the recyclers and fetch a better
price than what they are paid by the wholesalers and dealers, but they lack the space
to store the articles. Being on the road the whole morning, they are not in a position to
sit around, chat and gather information on which products are currently in high demand.
As they come from the countryside, they only have a limited knowledge of Addis
Ababa’s “who is who” where they are located, and how they are to be approached.
The demand for recovered items is quite volatile. It is affected by the amount of goods
coming in from the regions, by the employment situation and whether new people are
looking for a way to make a living, new regulations and legislations issued by the
Government, developments in the regions. Knowledge of the market therefore needs a
constant alertness. Because they are away the wole morning, the qorales are not in a
position to acquire that knowledge.
The qorale first sells the articles he collected to the wholesalers, usually the one from
whom he borrowed money in the morning and with whom he wants to build up a good
relationship. If the usual wholesaler is not interested in the articles the qorale has to
offer, the latter will look for soemone else.
The price at which the articles are sold is a fixed market price, practised by all the
wholesalers in the Merkato, although it does vary according to the demand. Therefore,
there is no point for a qorale to look for a wholesaler who will offer him a better price
for the articles he collected. In place of the bargaining power for the price of his articles,
the qorale but instead he can build a strong bondage with the wholesaler of his choice.
8. Dealers
Samll dealers purchase articles in restricted amounts and immediately re-sell them to
recyclers. More than anyone else, they are the ones who know the small recyclers in
the informal sector. They know which item are in demand on an individual basis at a
specific time, either because they have visited an asked them, of because the operator
came and told him what he was looking for.
Dealers are typically “Addis Ababa boys”. They were born in the city and know all its
places as well as the ins and outs of the market.
9. Wholesalers
Wholesalers are receivers of articles from qorales or dealers. Most of them are older
than the qorales or dealers and have their own families. Usually they are men, but there
are a few women among them, more especially in the old iron sheets business.
Most wholesalers are of Guraghe origin and are in the business from father to son or
to nephew. This is also how women became wholesalers: they took over the business
from their parents or a close relative. Some wholesalers used to work as qorales and
have been so successful they could switch to wholesaling. This is the big “luck” qorales
dream of. It comes if a qorale finds a large amount of goods fetching a high price on
the market.
Economically, the wholesalers are in a better position than the qorales and the small
dealers. They are relatively permanent and have places to store the articles they buy
from the qorales. This enables them to sell the articles whenever the market is
convenient for them. They sell in bulk and on a much larger scale than the smalldealers.
Their clients are factories or merchants from the regions.
These days, however, the wholesalers are in a big problem because they cannot pay
the new rent imposed on them as a result of the latest land holding policy. In most
cases, they built their shops themselves on a piece of land they secured from the
government on cheap terms under the former regime. During the past two regimes,
they used to pay a nominal rent of 2 birr/month, regardless of the size of the plot on
which the shop is built. Presently, rents range from 105 to 1200 Birr per month, an
amount which wholesalers are unable to pay. As a consequence, their houses are
demolished and wholesalers are evicted from their places. There is a place completely
cleared up by the government, because of this problem. Other wholesalers sell their
items on the road along their previous shops. Stocks of articles are piled up in the open
air. These wholesalers employ guards to protect their articles from robbers and thieves.
A few wholesalers who could not sell their stock of accumulated materials started
working as qorales in order to collect materials that are in demand.
More shops of wholesalers will be demolished in the near future. Protests against the
new rental policy were forwarded from this group to relevant government offices for
many times, but to no avail.

Income
If they are not hired by dealers or wholesalers where they will only get the difference from
the initial money that is handed at the start of the day, they get up to 10 Birr on average.
Table shows that qorales makes varying profits, ranging from 0 to more than 100%,
depending on the item.

List and cost price range for all items purchased by qorales
Item Purchasing price range/unit Price range/unit paid by
(Birr) wholesalers & dealers
(Birr)
Tin can 0.15 - 0.25/piece 0.25 - 0.50/piece

Bottle 0.25 - 2.00/piece 0.25 - 2.00/piece

Glass jars 0.50 - 1.50/piece 1.25 - 2.00/piece

Perfume and nail polish 0.10 - 0.40/piece 0.15 - 0.50/piece


containers
Plastic container 0.75 - 10.00/piece 1.00 - 12.00/piece

Paper 0.75 - 1.50/kg 1.00 - 1.75/kg

Cartons 0.50 - 1.50/piece and size 0.60 - 2.00/piece

Rubber or plastic shoe 0.50 - 1.50/piece 1.50 - 1.75/kg

Scrap metal No unit price 0.50 - 15.00/kg

Old clothes 2.00 - 10.00/type 3.00 - 10.00/type

Old iron sheets 12.00 - 20.00/piece 15.00 - 25.00/piece

Old car parts 10.00 - 13.00/type 10.00 - 20.00/type

The work is done based on chance and hope. If they get some money today, they may work
less or not for the next three days so that they use all the money they are out of money.
There is no constant price for specific article. Like the other businesses, the price of the used
articles changes from time to time. An article that is expensive at one time becomes cheap at the
other time or becomes worthless. Changes in the model of production regularly affects the price
of used articles. When the soft drink factory stops producung one brand and replaces with a new
one, or when a plastic crates are being replaced by mica crates, any of the old models are no
longer in demand. The first loosers are the wholesalers, but qorales are also affected.
The increrased availability at low cost of manufactured products has also affected the
business for the qorales since, once their price makes them affordable, customers prefer to
buy colourful materials.
Qorales estimated they make the following monthly expenses :

Cost of living of qorales


Item Expense/month
(in Birr)
Food 266

Rent 42

Clothes Only if they have


some surplus income
Transport 80

Entertainment 140

Sent home for family 30

The relationship between qorales, dealers and wholesalers


Qorales usually work for wholesalers. They would like to work for their own, but because
they do not have room for storing the collected articles, they instead work for wholesalers,
usually on a daily employment basis.
The existence of the wholesaler is a determinant factor for the life of the qorales.
There is no a binding rule for him to work for a specific wholesaler. One of the reasons why
a qorale work for a wholesaler is money. Since the wholesalers are in a better economic
position than the qorale or the dealer, they offer some money to the qorales.
The wholesalers also need the qorales who bring them saleable used articles. Unless the
qorales bring them the articles, they are unable to run their business.
The dealers are equally important for the qorales and the vice versa. Some articles which
are ignored by the wholesalers are taken by dealers. Articles such as shoes, clothes, scrap
metals, parts of old cars etc usually are bought by dealers and sold directly to the recyclers.
The problems of space affecting the wholesaler directly affect the qorales also have worried
about this problem, because they are the immediate people who suffer from it.

10. Buyers of the used articles

Whoever looks for whatever finds there.


- There are regional merchants who regularly come to Addis to buy the used articles
from the wholesalers. Bigger amount of bottles, tin cans, plastic containers are sold
to the regional merchants and reach the rural people of Ethiopia.
- There are some companies or industries buying the used articles.
Example: Bottles by soft drink factories,
Used plastic shoes by plastic shoe factory etc.

- Individual users, who look for an article with minimum price and people who want
to substitute their lost articles also come to this place for buying.

11. Social Organizations

Qorales work on temporary base and their income is not regular. This is one of the
major reasons that make them unable to establish formal associations. But, like the
other people of the city they have informal and traditional associations like Equb and
Idir.

Iddir
“Yager Idir” is the big social association which all the members from the Gurage group..
Like any other iddir in the city, “Yager Iddir” also provides support on the death of the
member or the relative of the member.

Equb
The Gurage people are known for their rotating credit association called equb. The income
of qorales is at a subsistence level or less, so that saving is difficult to them. A qorale who
is capable of earning better income can involve in a weekly or monthly Equb. But, still
Equb is difficult for every qorale because of low and inconsistency of the income.
12. Attitude of the society towards qorales

The society in general does not understand what really the qorales are doing. Some of
the informants said that, the attitude of the public towards them is discouraging. For
instance, a client calls the qorale to sell his/her used articles, when the qorale
approaches closer to the client, he/she insists him to stay away. This is because some
of the people suspect that they may rob them after they identify the ways in to and out
of their house. Therefore, this attitude of the public is becoming discouraging for them.
According to them, they are suffering from the corruptive behaviour of some policemen.
The majority of the qorales are complaining about this problem. After a long process of
collection, when every qorales return to the dumping place of their collected articles,
Merkato-Korkoro Terra. At the arrival of the qorales, the policemen who are responsible
on that area catch some of them and examine all their collected articles and may say
one of the articles is stolen one.
Even if the articles are not stolen ones, if the policemen says that they are stolen, they
prefer to give them some money and get their articles back. Because the money that
they get by selling the suspected article might be more than they give to the policemen.
Some times the policemen may send the qorales to prison until they investigate whether
an article is a stolen one or not. In this case, the qorales prefer to give them some
money instead of going to prison and wasting their time until the truth come out.
There are times when some of the qorales are caught and accused of buying stolen
article and the owners get it back. In this case the qorales loose their money and waste
their time in prison. This shows that the place is also a dumping place of stolen articles.
The stolen used articles might be bought by the qorales knowingly or unknowingly.

13. Constraints of the work

Qorales have some difficulties with their job. Eventhough they believe that the work has
provided them a means of living, they are absolutely unhappy with it.
Enabling environment
In Ethiopia, operators of in the popular/people’s economy are categorised as Informal
Sector Operators, or in short ISOs. This is the term that will be used
ISOs are defined (CSA, 1997) as a household type of establishement which

a) is mainly engaged in marketed production;


b) is not registered as companies or cooperatives;
c) has no full written book of accounts;
d) has less than ten persons engaged in the activity, and
e) has no licence.

It is recognized in Ethiopia - at least on paper - that ISOs are the most important source of
self-employment and providers of consumption goods and services for the population. Both
the Government, the private sector and formal commercial banks consider cooperating and
serving the ISOs.

Government
The Government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industries, is working on a Micro and
Small Entreprises Development Strategy, which also caters for the ISOs - considered to be
“the standing block of micro and small entreprises” (Gemelew, 1998) aiming at creating a
conducive environment for enhancing the growth and expansion of the sector.
These policies and interventions are not yet in place, but Gemelew (1998) summarised
tendencies at the National Workshop on Promotion of the Informal Sector for Development
in Africa which was organised by the United Nations Economic Commssion for African in
February 1998.
The strategy will focus mainly on legal framework, with laws to be issued on institutional
arrangement for micro and small entreprises, inter-linkage promotion, and relationships
with the Chamber of Industry and Trade, on facilitating access to finance, encourafing
partnerships training, access to appropriate technology, market, and information and advice,
and, last but not least, provision of physical infrastructure.
Under the latter, which is the present main concern of the entire waste recycling sector, the
Government intends to:
 consider the establishment of incubators (or business start-up premises)
if these are not established by the private sector;
 encourage development associations and private investors to establish
incubators, develop industrial estates, construct commercial premises
and provide service to micro and small entreprises on a rental basis;
 look into ways and means, other than through the tender system, of
facilitating the accissibility of micro and small entreprises to land at
affordable rates.

Cooperation between private sector organisations and the informal


sector
Theoretically, there is a fertile ground for operators of the informal sector to work with the
formal private sector. Private sector organisations in Ethiopia view the informal sector as
potential partners and have stated their willingness and intention to assist them. In Oromia,
the practice of renting machines by the private sector to metal and wood workers in order
to enable them to cut and machine their parts and assemble them in their own workshops is
already practised, setting an example of partnership which could also exist between the
private sector and the recycling sector in Addis Ababa.

The Addis Ababa Private Industries Association


The Addis Ababa Private Industries Association (AAPIA) is a non-profit making
organisation established in 1993 to promote the development of the private sector in Addis
Ababa. One of its stated goals is to “serve as a bridge between the micro/informal sector
operators on the one hand, and the small, medium and large-scale industries on the other to
create business linkages between them”.
AAPIA’s 1200 members are all registered and licensed entreprises. Due to their obsolete
machinery, shortage of capital and skilled manpower, most of these entreprises are notr
much better than those classified as micro-entreprises or informal sector operators (ISOs).
As they are formal, they loose some of the advantages they would benefit from if they were
classified as ISOs. Because of this, AAPIA seeks to foster collaboration between ISOs and
the small, medium and large entreprises through various mechanisms (Amare, 1998). A
first such mechanism is helping the informal sector operators to participate in exhibitions
organized by AAPIA. The Association is now considering the possibilities of sub-
contracting arrangements, and have items required by entreprises manufactured by the
small-scale sector, including the informal sector operators The scheme would envisaged by
AAPIA would include:
 the establishment of a database system, including a “search and match”
service,
 facilitation of linkage negotiations,
 forming of a joint committee from the informal sector operators and the
small, medium and large entreprises to manage sub-contracting
exchanges.

The Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce


The Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce (ECC) “views the informal sector positively and
acknowledges its importance as a provicder of employment and incomes to millions of
people who would otherwise lack the means of survival and as a breeding ground of
entrepreneurship”, and has stated its willingness to provide assistance to the informal sector
as a whole (Abera, 1998). This assistance would include:
 Carrying out market surveys for the products of the informal sector so as
to provide potential entrepreneurs with information about outlets and
establish the size and location of the market, distribution centres and
marketing channels;
 Through catalogs, trade fairs and exhibitions, disseminating information
on products produced by the informal sector and offset misconception
about the sector by legitimizing the sector and publicising its capabilities
and potential, promote networking among small producers and serve as
a lobby for micro-entreprise support;
 Establishing a databank and disseminating relevant information on the
use of improved technology;
 Designing a training program to improve the productive potential of the
informal sector;
 Carrying out advocacy work to generate sufficient pressure to bring about
the necessary changes in policies, attitudes and procedures that hamper
the development of the informal sector.

There is an important stumbling block to the implementation of this program, as the ECC
will not implement this program until

1. It is provided with resources to do so


2. Its organisational capacities are strengthened.
3. A conducive environment, with supportive economic, social and political
measures, is put in place.

Support therefore seems a long way ahead

Micro-financal services available for the informal sector


Both governmental and private commercial banks find it difficult to work directly with
ISOs but would agree to work through an intermediary institution (Lakew Alemu, 1998)
Until recently there were no banking facilities for small entreprises and ISOs. Financial
services are obtained from local institutions such as equb, iddir1, money lenders and friends.
In 1992, the Narional Bank of Ethiopia established the Saving and Credit Cooperation
Office (SACCDO) which registers associations engaged in saving and credit operations and
also audits their financial performance. This is now a well-established structure, used by
different groups, especially women associations, to set up their savings and credit schemes
and gain a legal recognition of their association. It does need initial seed capital and
organisational support to be set up, which is part of the reasons why it has not attracted the
recyclers.
In 1996, the Ethiopian Government issued a proclamation on Licencing and Supervision of
Micro-Finance Institutions. Based on this, the National Bank of Ethiopia issued directives
on the licensing and supervision of the business of micro-financing institutions (MFIs). A
declared aim of this initiative is to alleviate poverty by encouraging income-generating
activities and employment generation schemes. Another reason was the need felt by the
Government to regulate the business of micro-finance which was practised by several
NGOs in the country without clear guidelines and procedures
After the proclamation and directives were issued, only registered micro-finance
institutions are allowed to provide credit and other financial services to disadvantaged
groups of the society.

1 Equb is the Ethiopian rotating saving and credit association; iddir is an association whose members save
to cover costs of funerals and weedings.
There are now three such licensed micro-finance institutions operating in Addis Ababa: the
Specialised Financial and Promotional Institute (SFPI), Gasha, and African Village
Financial Services (AVFS). All of them started operation in 1998 and have their own way
of selecting their clients and accepting alternative collaterals. Lending interest rate is 12%.
When the directive was issued, the lending interest rate was fixed to a maximum of 2%
above the interest rate charged by formal banks, but this was later (August 1998) liberalized
and MFIs are free to fix their own interest rates. As per regulation, loans to a single borrower
may not exceed 5 000 Birr and must be reimbursed within a period of no more than 12
months.
SFPI was the first to be set up and start operation (early 1998), and will normally cover any
requester, but as it is still in its intial stage, it cannot cover the whole of Addis Ababa at
once. It proceeds zone by zone. Potential clients who are not within the zone cannot, for the
time being, access the services offered by SFPI.
Gasha works in a specific neighbourhood in Merkato. All its shareholders are members of
the community within that neighbourhood. Nothing prevents them in future from opening
the institution to people from other neighbourhoods, but in these early days of its existence,
it caters only for the people in the neighbourhood.
AVFS provides its services to clients recommended by an iddir which serves as collateral.
It is therefore accessible to any recycler as long as his/her request is supported by iddir
members. has only just started operation. The informal sector is
Essentially the efforts of the formal sector, whether Government, private sector or, is to
integrate the informal sector into the free market economy. This has led the ISOs to
formalise their associations, be trained in
This has not yet brought the expectged results, to the great disillusion of the ISOs. Access
to capital and credit funds is still not available, even to associations that are now legally
and formally registered and therefore pays taxes to the Government
Policy

Methodology
The section on policy and legislation come from secondary data. Especially the paper on
policies was written for the workshop on solid waste management in Addis Ababa, which
was organised in October 1998 to provide base-line information on the status of waste and
waste management in Addis Ababa to local authorities and representatives of the private
sector.
The issue of environmental sanitation and solid waste management is addressed in several
policy and strategy documents.

Policies
1. The 1994 Constitution of Ethiopia incoporates a number of provisions relevant for the
protection, sustainable use and improvement of the environment. Under Article 44, it
provides that all persons have the right to a clean and healthy environment and
Government and citizens shall have the duty to protect the environment. The
incorporation of those important provisions recognizes and uplifts environmental rights
to the level of fundamental human rights.
2. The issue of solid waste management is also addressed in the Envionrment Policy of
Ethiopia and in the Conservation Strategy of Ethiopia. Basic policy elements on
sustainable city development, polluters’ pay, preventive approach, recycling, and
sound waste disposal and treatment are included in those documents.
3. In line with Procalmation 4/1995, various Federal Sectoral Institutions such as the
Ministries of Trade and Industry, Public Works and Urban Development, and Helath,
have been provided, in their fields of activitiy, with the right to initiate and implement
policies and laws that will have a significant impact in promoting a sound solid waste
management programme.
4. At the regional level, the Government has, according to the Addis Ababa City
Government Charter, Proclamation 41/1997, Article 3, a duty to formulate and execute
economic and social develoment programmes, administer land and other natural
ressources within the territory and conserve and develop the natural environment. In
particular, the duty to conserve and develop the natural environment implies that the
Government is generally responsible to ensure the provision of solid waste collection
and disposal services.
5. In line with the Proclamation that defines allocation of powers and duties of the Central
and Regional Executive Organs of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia:
- The Public Works and Urban Development Bureau has a
duty, among others, to look into the provision of adequate
housing to the city dwellers.
- The Health Bureau has also a mandate to prepare, on the
basis of the health policy of the country, the health care
plan and programme for the people of the Region, and to
implemetn same when approved.
- The Natural Ressource Development and Environment
Protection Bureau has a duty and power to:
- cause the implementation, within the Region, of the
country’snatural ressources development and environment
policies, and
- supervise the implementation, within the Region, of
directives issued regarding the contral of damages caused
by depletion of natural ressources, and the prevention of
water, soil and air pollution.
- In conformity with the decentralisation approach, as
enshrined under the 1994 constitution, the conservation
strategy of Addis Ababa (draft) is prepared by the Addis
Ababa Administration Environmental Protection Bureau.
This document is meant to implement the relevant federal
environmental and natural ressource development policies

1. Volume II of the Conservation Strategy of Addis Ababa Govenrment has addressed


critical issues in relation to solid waste management, notably in its sections that deal
with Environemntal Helath, Master Plan Development, Waste Wanagement and
Pollution Control.

Legislation
1. The then Region 14 Administration issued regulations on sanaitation and
environmental health. These regulations repeated a number of public health
regulations that had been enacted in the country starting from 1943.
2. According to Sanitation and Environmental Health Regulation No. 1/1994 of Region
14 Administration , all persons, be it natural or judicial, have a duty to store their
garbage within their premises and by their own containers untile it is collected. Added
to this, no one is allowed to throw or deposit any solid waste at a crossing or public
place or any other place that are prohibited.
3. The Addis Ababa Administration Health Bureau has a mandate to appoint and assign
inspectors. The main functions of a designated inspector is to follow up and inspect
the compliance of the particulars mentioned under the regulantions. After inspection,
if the inspector is convinced that the provisions of these regulations are violated, he
shall order the ffender to remove and dipose the waste ha has thrown or deposited.
4. The same Bureau has a mandate to follow upthe disposal of waste and collect service
fee, the amount of which is to be determined by the Addis Ababa Administration at
some time to come yet.
5. Enforcement mechanisms sought by the Addis Ababa Administration Sanitation and
Public Health Control regulations include an administrative decision and penalty. The
financial penalty ranges from Birr 15 to 200 and in serious cases the administrative
decision may results in the closure of the premises. Moreover, the Public Prosecutor
Office of Region 14 could also initiate a public interest suit, and the penalities will be
as provided under the Penal Code of Ethiopia.
6. In connection with public health protection, the 1948 penal Code of Ethiopia has
anumber of prescriptions and penalty provisions. The impairment of public safety in
particular, by depositing or throwing at a crossing or a public place accessible to the
public, materials, garbage, refuse or objects or things of any nature whatsoever
capable of causing an appraciable risk or nuisance without observing the relevant
rurels or taking the necessary precautions is punishable either by fine or arrest. In
connection with waste management and disposal by manufacturers, the Penal Code
of Ethiopia provides that whoever contravenes the rules regulating the manufacture or
preparation, possession, handling and transport of inflammable, toxix, corrosive or
dangerous or hazardous substances is punishable by fine or arrest.
7. Individuals aslo have a standing in implementing the Sanitation and Environmental
Health regulation No. 1/1994 of Region 145 Administration. Under Title xiii of the 1960
Civil Code of Ethiopia, if one is able to demonstrate the breach of the relevant laws
issued on solid waste and establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the
damage and the wrongful conduct, one could bring a claim in order to rectify the
damage that is inflicted.

Evaluation of policy, strategies, legislation and institutions


The issue of solid waste management is addressed in several documents. However, the mere
presence of constitutional provisions, policy and strategies both at the Federal and Regional
levels, whose implementation has not been able to improve matters, and the crisis stille
persists.
The reason why the reason is still continuing, in particular after 1994, is that all the policy
and strategies, including the Constitution, are of a framework nature and that they cannot
implement themselves. The implementation further requires the accomplishment of
workers.
They need to be defined concretely by subsidiary legal instruments so that they would be
easily evaluated, understood and observed. In this regard, the first step is to look into the
adequancy of exisiting laws in defining and implementing them.
Over the last five decades, Ethiopia has enacted a wide range of legislations aimed at
controlling pollution, including soil and water pollution as well as waste handling and
disposal. However, these legislations have had an insignificant contribution in controlling
pollution in general and solid waste management in particular. The inadequacy or
ineffectiveness of Ethiopia’s legislation in relation to solid waste management can be
attributed to several factors. While weak enforcement is most often cited as the major
reason why such laws are ineffective, the poor enforcement itself is a result of a
combination of other conditions:

a) The laws enacted in Ethiopia on solid waste impose a general duty of care to prevent
harm on human beings and certainn components of the environment. The advantages
of such kinds of provisions are that they provide basic standards against which conduct
can be measured.

On the other hand, the imposition of a general duty care “such as no one shall ‘pollute’,
‘throw’, ‘deposit’ as provided under the Penal Code and Addis Ababa Adminsitration
Regulation 1/1994, as well as the imposition of a requirement to submit a statement
regarding health and sanitary conditions, environemntal protection” as provided under the
Council of State Special Decree No. 9/1989 is on the assumption that the subjects will obey
the law and follow the prescriptions.
Although such general obligations are useful as broad statements of policy and in some
cases intended to cover those responsibilities not specifically regulated, they are not
enforceable due to their breath. Thus the implementation of a general duty of care requires
the issuance of subsidiary regualtins, standards, guidelines and other similar management
tools.

b) The general trend and consequent approaches towards the development of pollution
control laws in Ethiopia since 1943 exhibit a rule-oriented approach. For instance, the
1948 Penal Code of Ethiopia prohibits activities that will have adverse impact upon
certain components of the environment and public health.

On the other hand, conducive situations to dispose of waste generated in the course of
consumtion and production have not been fulfilled and, from a practical point of view, this
has not helped halt or even slowed down the problem. Because the mere imposition of
criminal penalties is the oldest legal technique of making polluters pay, and that is why the
approach is proved to be ineffective.
c) The other feature of environment related laws in Ethiopia witnesses that they were
primarily concerned to regulate allocation and exploitation of ressources either for
production or consumption. They did not emphasize their sound management and
rational uses. For instance, if a duty to recycle were imposed upon pulp factories, one
could imagine the extent of its contribution in minimizing the depletion of forestry
ressources. In addition, the laws did not require the rehabilitation of environmental
damages nor the undertaking of positive measures to enhance environmental quality.
d) The existing law on solid waste management does not have a deterrent effect. As a
genral rule, the sanctions or provisions on criminal and administrative fines may not
be effective when their magnitude or level is modest compared to the gains that accrue
from non-compliance. To be effective, those levels must be regularly revised to
conform with the actual environmental cost incurred by the existing and upcoming
generations.

In Ethiopia, at various times various laws on waste management have been enacted.
However, the criminal and administrative fines have not been revised. And this failure not
only reduces the deterrent value of the penalties but alos imposes an unacceptable
environmental cost on the society.

e) Within the context of the existing legal regime, various categories of wastes are
construed to constitute one and the same thing: nuisance. Discharge of toxic matter
or other wastes from premises todrainage channeles, public streets or water courses
as well as accumulation of refuse and dangerous or hazardous materials that are
offensive, inurious or dangerous to health are treated in the same way. The laws make
no clear provision for licensing procedure for the generation of wastes and the
operation of disposal site, waste treatment and recycling.
f) Furthermore, the Addis Ababa Adminsitration Health Bureau which is responsible for
solid waste management is under-staffed and ill-equipped to keep up with increasing
workload. Wherever such a problem comes into the picture, the possible solution
would be looking for other alternatives.
g) The other major drawback in providing waste collection and related services is the
inaccessibility of some areas. This problem mainly results from policy failures in
addressing the issues of urban land and housing. In this confusion, the most affected
parts of the urban dwellers, particularly inrelation to solid waste management, are the
low-income groups.

Cobsequently, in Addis Ababa, it has become very common to find dwelling houses without
toilets, bathing and water supply. In order to minimize this problem, the CityAdministration
needs to design a workable strategy that should primarily focus on improving the living
standard of the low income groups and implement a sustainable city development
programme.

h) The other factor for the absence of a sound solid waste management system in the
city may be attributed to a lack of public pressure even when the Government fails to
take the basic first move. If there were pressure from the public or interest groups on
the Government to do something in order to protect land contaminatio, to stop pollution
or to improve the waste disposal system, the Government would act either by
applyhing and using existing laws and institutions or creating new laws and institutions.

Public pressure has been proved to be the most effective mechanism in introducing a
sound environmental management practice. However, the absence of public pressure,
despite the existence of serious problems, entails the presence of some other problems.
Such problems could be the absence of awareness, lack ofaccess to justice for
individuals and associations, or the failure of the prosecution office or government
officials.
Possible approaches towards an appropriate solid waste management framework for the
city of Addis Ababa
As far as the Constitution, the Federal Environmental Policy and strategies both at the Addis
Ababa Adminsitration and Federal levels are concerned, there is a conducive environemtn
to introduce a sound solid waste management programme. Environemtnal concerns are
legally recognized as one of the fundamental human rights. Added to the suprome law of
the land, the Envitronemntal Policy and Cosnervation Strategy of Ethiopia and the Addis
Ababa Adminsitration have laid a firm and solid foundation for the protection and
sustainable use s of the environment.
In this regzrd, the role and content of laws in connection to waste management should be
designed not only to establish prescriptions or prohibitions, but also implement other
positive intervention mechanisms such as incentives and the creation of management tools.
The on-going waste disposal practice is not good enough. In this connection, the health
impacts will become more acute and severe for the urban poor and low-income groups. In
order to curb
Informal Recycling in Merkato

Introduction
Like in most developing countries recycling in Ethiopia is practiced informally. There are
no specific data to be found on recyclers. They are part of the informal sector manufacturers
which also includes artisans, weavers, service providers etc.
Some of the statistics for the informal sector (CSA, 1997):
 65% of the ISOs started operations with an initial capital of less than 250
Birr.
 ISOs produced goods and services worth 2 billion Birr in 1996, of which
manufacturing accounted for 29.3%.
 99.1% (almost all!) own their business.

The sector provides goods that are substitute to conventional products produced in
industries which basically are beyond reach to most customers. Moreover, it provides
employment and income to many.
The culture of recycling seems to have taken naturally from collection to the final stage of
producing recyclable materials. It is a common practice to separate solid waste at
household level for sale, which for most low-income groups is a source of income.
The collection of recoverable waste is highly organized with its huge network of dealers
and wholesalers throughout the country. Then there are the craftsmen who recycle metal,
wood, rubber, clay to provide essential goods to great number of customers nation wide.
The nucleus of all this activity is Merkato, from where almost all collectors are dispersed
to collect recyclable materials, then bring it all to sell to the merchants and dealers. It is
also where most of the recyclers are based.
As we know, 95% of Ethiopia’s population is agrarian, and it is this sector that greatly
benefits from the works of these recyclers - craftsmen and artisans. Blacksmiths are
common in all parts of Ethiopia providing farming and gardening tools, and household
utensils. Rubber recyclers make sandals, rubber boots, ladles, straps, harnesses out of old
car tyres. All these and many more goods are standard commodities appreciated within this
vast community.
The crafts sector, particularly that of blacksmiths, weaving, tanning, shoe making and
pottery making, is not practiced by everyone for cultural reasons. Until recently these
communities were casted out, and their contribution towards the country’s development
was overlooked. However, the CSA survey (1997) indicates that, in terms of total
employment by urban centers and occupations, the majority of the workforce in Addis
Ababa is in the crafts and related trades workers, accounting for 47.17% compared to other
nine major occupations. This shows how this sector has absorbed a large number of the
labour force into employment.

Commonly recycled materials


Metals:
 Ferrous ( iron and steel) from:
Construction sites - reinforcing
steel rods and mesh, wire, poles, girders
Demolition sites - joints, drain
covers, pipes, railings, grills
Garages - disused motor cars,
scrap cars
Households - scrap cars, cooking
utensils

 Non ferrous (brass, copper, lead, aluminum etc.)


 Plastic: bags, food and drink containers; bowls, bottles, piping, jerrycans,
toys; electric cables, insulated covering, transparent packaging
 Bones and horns from the abattoirs and butchers.
 Glasses/Bottles, cullets (broken glasses), from breakage from glass-
making workshop, bottling plant, used bottles & jars, vases.
 Paper/newspapers: office papers, school and letter-papers, printers’
trimmings, pamphlets and magazines, computer punched cards etc.

Recycling in Merkato
The percentage of recyclable materials in Addis Ababa is said to be very low. Waste
generation rates of Addis Ababa city with respect to combustible and recyclable materials
shows that only about 15% of waste disposed are salvageable compared to 85-90% in
household waste from developed countries (Nor Consult, Nupi; 1982)
Still, a variety of products and articles are produced from recycled materials to satisfy a
large number of community not only in Addis Ababa but in all the regions of Ethiopia.
Recycled materials may be scarce but the sector manages to make ends meet from whatever
is available.
The heart of all these activity is Merkato, a place where the network of the recycling
business is rooted but there are recyclers in many other parts of Addis Ababa. Ketchene
Medhanealem, for example, is a place where most recyclers and artisans of metal, brass and
clay are residing. Around Ayer Tena, there is a group of sheet metal recyclers which was
organized in a cooperative during the previous regime. Now, with the help from UNDP, it
has established a factory producing household goods. Called the “ Del Berhan Household
Goods Factory”,
Recyclers who manage to pay rent for a workshop and a shop for their products move to
Merkato to be near the dealers and wholesalers, and, of course, the vast number of
customers.

Stakeholders of the recycling sector in Merkato


Recycling in Merkato is done by an extensive network actors, who pick collect and
transport the waste materials; who deal and wholesale selected materials to small recyclers
or large industries.
It is difficult to totally categorize the recycling sector in Merkato as informal because some
of the operators, such as the wholesalers of recyclable materials, could be classified as
established business dealers. Yet, there are informal dealers as well who a play major role
in bringing together informal recyclable material salers and huge merchants. Almost all
collectors and recyclers can be categorized within the informal sector, except for some cases
where some recyclers used to be organized into cooperatives and receive certain privileges
from the Government. At present, because of the free market policy, these cooperatives
have dissolved, leaving individual recyclers to fend for themselves.
In general their working condition is appalling. Often a room or a space is informally rented
from private owners from where they are evicted whenever the landlord says so. At the
moment, this is their major problem. Since their income is just enough to survive, and
sometimes it is not, they do not pay taxes to the Government. Thus, appropriate authorities
do not recognize their existence. As a result they are deprived of the access to credit to
improve their income and living conditions.

Stakeholders of the recycling rector in Merkato


Industrial Commercial enterprises Institutions
Households
Enterprises
Industrial waste
Commercial waste
Institutional waste
Household waste

Itinerant collectors

SmallStreet pickers dealers & wholesalers


Dump pickers

Small-scale recycling

RECYCLERS

The metal and sheet metal recyclers


Recycling waste metal is not a traditional skill. It was started in 1973, according top the
metal recyclers. Few people realise the goods they purchase are made out of products that
have finished their primary purpose. Although they widely use their products, people look
down at the metal recyclers, whom they call “ketchkatch” (blacksmith) and whose work
they consider menial and petty.
Started less than 30 years ago, the skill of recycling recovered metal has developed
tremendously. The metal recyclers claim it would have developed even further if proper
instruments (tools) were available.
“Korkoro Terra” (Wereda 5, Kebele 22) is where sheet of used metals, tin cans, oil
drums, old sheet metal, old roofing are made into buckets, cement and sand mixers for
builders, watering cans, coffee roasting plates, kettles, sieves and colanders, metal stoves,
multi-purpose bowls, pots and pans, scoops, etc.
The recyclers also produce the improved, fuel-saving stove called “Laketch”. This stove was
devised by the Ministry of Mines and Energy and is made out of old metal sheets and clay. It
was the Ministry itself which gave the recyclers the opportunity to manufacture the “Laketch”
stove, using the sector as appropriate production and dsitribution channel. No support or
help was given, to the disappointment of the recyclers, who are eager to improve their
situation.
The old sheet metals are flattened with a hammer and cut into desired sizes and designs.
Simple tools are used, including hammers, metal cutters and pincers.
In this same area (Wereda 5, Kebele 22), there are artisans making ornamental souvenirs,
rings, religious articles like crosses of different designs, bells, chalices, out of brass and
aluminum. Raw materials are obtained from metal wholesalers in “Breta Bret Tera”.
Recyclers pay up to 8 Birr/kg for brass and around 5 Birr/kg for aluminium. But the best
raw material for recycling into religious articles is Ö old bullet shells.
Two systems are used to recycle brass. Some of the recyclers use flat brass which they cut
out in the shape of the desired objects and polish to finish. Others use wax to prepare a
design, then cover the wax with a special clay mud and put it into fire to dry. The wax will
melt leaving the required design on the clay. Then they fill the space with melted brass
mixed with aluminum to get the final product. It is polished and filed to finish.
Equipment like, hacksaw, chisels, metal file (belt grinder), sand paper, crucible, cutter are
used.
“Serategna Sefer” (Wereda 5, Kebele16). Here parts of old cars like springs, cylinders,
iron rods and reinforcing bars are transformed into farming and other tools, including hoes,
rakes, shovels, tongs, mattocks, axes, plough blades, hammer, pincers, hooks and chisels.
Recovered materials are obtained form merchants in Merkato, and at times a group of
recyclers form a temporary partnership in order to buy large amounts of scrap metal at
auctions. They pay up to 5.00 Birr/kg for recyclable scrap metals.
In order to shape a piece of solid metal it is heated till red at which point it becomes softer
and more workable. It is required a bed of charcoal as fuel, a source of draught to acquire
an intense glowing fuel to heat the metal, tongs and pincers to remove and handle the metal
from the heat, a sledge-hammer and an anvil, metal file, and chisels to finish.
It takes some 20 minutes to make a knife, and an hour to make a plough. On average these
recyclers earn 20.00 - 30.00 Birr per week.
Their main customers are butchers, farmers and merchants as well as individual customers
who put orders for specific products.

Tyre recyclers
Tyre recycling dates to the time cars emerged in Ethiopia. It is said to have started in
Asmara in 1928. During the Italian invasion an Italian individual, whose name is difficult
to trace today, introduced the technique of using waste tyres for recycling. Two individuals,
Ababa Gebru Fesahaye and Ababa Abdo, brought the technique to the capital city in 1962.
An elderly tyre recycler recalls that there were only two types of shoes produced from old
tyre: bale’kertas kene’matcha and sandals
He tells: “At the time, tyres were very expensive. Therefore, they were mended. This was
done by sewing. One tractor’s tyre was sold for 35 000 Birr. If one bought a large new
tyre, like a tractor’s tyre, a small car was given for free”.
The bale’kertas kene’matcha is a special type of shoe made to resist hard surface in the
countrysides. In 1972, its price was around 200 Birr whereas now it costs from 20-25 Birr
a pair.
A sandal is a type of shoe with a buckle. It is strong, durable, and expensive. It costed
more than 15 Birr at the time. Then an Italian introduced a cheaper kind giving the name
berebaso. The berebaso sandals tyre were worn during the Italian invasion. Even today it
is still a popular shoe. It is given different names in different parts of the country (chefere,
legibe, anekew, shebet etc.). In Oromigna, berebaso means “ for passing the hard times”.
Today, the way these sandals are made is changed. It is made in a simple way with
traditional tools. Therefore, the price is cheaper. A pair costs 1.50 – 2.00 Birr. In the
countryside, the price varies according to the type of shoes and the distance of the place.
“Goma Tera” (Wereda 5, Kebeles19 and 06) is where old, large and small tyres are
recycled. They pay between 30 - 60 for old tyres. Old tyres are obtained from car
owners selling their old tyres, tyre repairing garages (Gomistas), auction at Addis Goma
Factory, governmental and non governmental organizations.
Out of these old tyres they make shoe soles, heels and straps, sandals, doormats, stool and
chair seats, conveyor belts, ceiling divider. The wires are used for fencing, making egg
holders (containers). The strings out of the tyre are used for musical instruments, thread
(seer) coming out from the tyre is used for sewing shoes, bags, etc. The left-over bits and
pieces from recycled tyres are bought by road constructors and used as fuel to melt the tar
(asphalt). Thus each and every part of old tyres are either recycled or recovered.
RELIGIOUS CANDLES
Background
Traditional candles, made out of pure or recovered wax and waste bits of threads from weavers,
are widely used in Ethiopia’s churches during religious celebrations. People use them as a gift or
offering to God, and to come closer to God during their prayers. These days their use has diversified.
These candles are cheaper than ordinary candles and are nowadays used as lighting in the house. It
has also become fashionable to use them during weddings.
The people involved in the making of such candles come from Addis Ababa, but there a lot more
in various parts of Ethiopia involved similar activity. It is an activity that does not require special
training to start with. It is learnt by talking and looking at people who are already engaged in the
business. It is practised in group or individually. It is is easy to practise at home, because it does
not require much space. This is the one recycling activity for which the society’s attitude is positive.
Girls going into the business are given support in the form of advice and moral support.
Raw material
The candles are produced using wax, bits of thread and die. Pure wax is difficult and expensive to
obtain. There are a few businesses producing candles The operators use both pure wax and waste
wax. The pure wax is obtained from the Merkato, the waste wax from tedj houses7. The operators

7Tedj is honey mead, a traditional and highly appreciated beverage in Ethiopia, served at home on big
occasions and sold in special bars called tedj houses.
often pass a contract with specific tedj houses to supply them with the wax. For 2 kg of waste wax
bought, 1 kg of pure wax can be afforded.
Production
Bits of tread are cut in lengths required; the wax is melted andsifted through sackcloth. In a big pan
the melted wax is mixed with orange dye; the tread are held together and immersed into the melting
wax, taken out and stretched to dry. Candles can be of more or less good quality. In the Merkato a
place called Aroge metsehaf terra is known for selling good quality candles.
One can produce 60 candles out of 1 kg of wax. With pure wax, it takes 3 hours to produce candles
out of 1 kg. With waste wax, which needs to be purified, 5-6 hours are needed.
Market
Given the religious life and proactices of the Christian Ethiopia, there is a high and sustained market
for religious candles. For micro producers who lack space and capital, the production is easy but
the marketing is not. They sell to wholesalers because they themselves do not have the right space
and place to sell and store their products. Other options are to take the candles to different churches
and sell them themselves or have them sold in the churche’s shops. However, this kind of
arrangement is not always easy to organize.
The price of candles is fixed. They cost 0.1, 0.20, 0.50 aned 1.00 Birr. However, individuals may
place orders for a specific size and type of candles and at that time the producers can bargain.
Merchants often bargain, complaining the candles are not thick enough or the colour is not bright
enough. However, they buy whatever is available without complain during feasts.
The profit margin is very low. It actually appears that the producers have never calculated their
exact production costs
JUBA – WASTE OF ENSET (FALSE BANANA)
Background
Enset, or false banana tree, is a plant growing in southern Ethiopia. It produces the two major staple
foods in the Sidamo Administrative Region and the Gurage community, kotcho and bulla, which
are also consumed in Addis Ababa.
The dough for preparing the kocho (a kind of bread) and the bulla (a sort of porridge) is processed
in the regions where the plant grows, and traded by women in the market. The large, fibrous leaves
of the tree are used as packaging material.
In and around Merkato, the kotcho and bulla traders are involved in an activity that supplements
their income. For a small amount of money, they buy the enset leaves used to wrap up the dough
from the wholesalers, and use this to make jubas, or mats used to flatten the kocho into cakes, and
coffee pot stands. When requested they make different kinds of mats. The articles are easy to make
while sitting while trading the dough.

POWDERED CHARCOAL RECYCLING


Background
The charcaol recylcers tell the following story about the origin of producing charcoal cakes from
powdered charcoal:
“There was an old lady who was so poor that she was not able to buy charcoal for cooking. In the
vicinity, there was a woman selling charcoal. She was always throwing the powdery residue of
the charcoal into the nearby river.
The poor old lady was sad about the waste. So, she went to the river and collected some of the
powdered charcoal. She mixed it with black soil and water into a paste, dried it and finally used it
as fuel. She continued to prepare her fuel in such way for a long time for free. Later women around
the area also learnt to prepare the charcoal cakes and started selling them. Today a lot of people
come from various parts of Addis Ababa to buy charcoal cakes.”
The charcoal cake processors are situated in one part of the town, around Aware, Congo Sefer and
Casainches. These are the places where the art of making charcoal cakes was started and is still
widely practised. The practice is not known in other parts of Addis Ababa.
The charcoal cake processors are all women, working outside, in front of their houses. Sometmes
they are helped by their children. The activity hazardous to health because of the blowing powder
of the charcoal. The women used to protect their mouth and nose with a piece of cloth, but found
it was not comfortable and stopped using this protection.

Raw material
The raw material is obtained a few specific places in Addis Ababa, namely Amanuel, Kolfe and
Shero Meda. It is very difficult to transport the powdered charcoal, as it can be heavy and awkward
to carry from places. As a solution a flat wooden material with wills (Kutshinet) is used for
transportation. However, it is difficult to move around as it is not legal to use such instrument.
Off the main road there is about 500 m of rough road, which is difficult to use transportation means,
therefore, carrying becomes the only solution.

Tools
Bucket (to bring water)
A hallowed space to make the pest
A flat surface area to make the cakes
Plastic containers used as mould
Kuchineta – for transportation

Process
First we separate the powdered charcoal from chunks of charcoal which is crashed and mixed with
the powder.
The black soil is stirred in the water then mixed with the powdered charcoal in the hallowed area
to make a paste.
The paste is then made into charcoal cakes on the prepared flat surface where a bit ash is
sprinkled.
Problems

People do not have a good impression on what we do by just looking at our appearance. This is
because the nature of the job makes us dirty.
People are in different levels of living standard. Although we know that we are leveled at the
bottom of society, we are busy doing our job and earning our money to survive. People in the area
are always complaining on what we do. Especially, young operators engaged in this activity feel
inferior to their friends.
However despised, this activity is providing a product that is used by people at all levels.
Price for the powdered charcoal is increasing from 2 Br. per Jonia to 8 Birr.
The price of one piece of charcoal cake is 0.05 cents and .25 for two.

STRAW MATRESSES
Mattress making with straw and recovered sacks has been going on for almost 30 years. It is
widely exercised in around Merkato a place called “Kotcho Tera”. The majority of the operators
are ex-soldiers who are often disabled or defected, and very poor factory temporary menial workers.
An operator said, “ the straw we use now was not even used to feed cattle, therefore, farmers used
to collect and burn it. Now that we have started using it they are bringing it from far away to sell
it to us.
Inputs
Straw
“Madaberia”

Tools
String
A type of thin metal for sawing
Knife to cut the string.

The number of operators are increasing from time to time, therefore, it is very difficult to guess the
exact number of operators. Most of these operators support a large family - a minimum of 8
members. Usually the children do not have the chance to the school, and if they ever have the
chance it won’t be beyond the 8th grade.
In most cases the head of the family is the eldest son. In the day to day struggle to win the bread,
operators do not get what they deserve.
Interventions
There is nothing that has come out in the form of a policy that supports or encourages the works of
these operators. We do not pay tax for the place where we work , but we are told to pay a lump
sum at a certain time otherwise leave the area.
Previously, when fire erupted in the area part of our production space was damaged, however when
other parts were repaired and renovated ours never got the chance to be repaired.
Our product is highly demanded. It is only 10% of the population that is able to afford cotton
mattress or sponge mattress. The rest uses straw mattress.
There are some poor farmers who are not even able to afford this straw mattress, as a result they
use animal skin for bedding.
Our aim is to make available straw mattresses for those who are not able to get it at the moment.
Problems
Our work area is so crowded that it is fire prone.

Gender
Recyclers can be man or woman. For some activities, it is more men, for others it is women.
Especially activities which need little space can be carried out at home (candle making,
charcoal) are done by women. For these femal-dominated activities, carrying goods (raw
material) tends to be done by men.

Reasons for going into recycling


It does not require training and
It quickly provides a daily income

Common problems
1. Lack of suitable working space. Many work on the street. Even so, they have to pay
for space. For some recyclers, such as the metal recyclers who produce tools, the
peak of the matket is in the rainy season and the lack of shelter makes their work very
uncomfortable.
“We do not have a legal space for our production or marketing. Now and then people come
and inform saying that the space we occupy may be required so we should be ready to move
when informed. This puts us in a great tension knowing that any moment we will lose our
space.
And yet this space is very narrow and difficult to work from. There is no cover when the
weather is wet or very hot.”

2. The attitude of the society, except in cases such as candle making


3. Access to raw material - if theres is big business involved (wax) can be problematic
House hold waste management

The survey at Zebegna sefer & Akaki


The survey on household waste collection, source separation, and disposal was done to use
the result as an indicator of the current situation in Addis Ababa and its outskirts.
Two areas were selected, one is at Akaki and the other around the center of Addis Ababa
called Zebegna sefer. The reason for selecting these areas is because of the availability of
groups whom we worked with in the past.
It was planned to obtain information from 400 households in Akaki and from 250
households in Zebegna sefer. It was then possible to achieve 100% in Akaki where as the
achievement in Zebegna sefer was about 67%.
The survey has made a number of issues clearer. A complete survey analysis has not been
done because of shortage of time. Altogether 568 househods were covered. There are
more than 40 questions in each survey for which responses have been given. It was found
that a complete analysis requires more time than given. How ever, some of the highlights
have been taken and these are presented as lessons learned as follows.

Findings of the assessment


Zebegna sefer -- Addis Ababa

1) The result of the survey in Zebegna sefer showed that household waste is an aggregate
of all substances from a household ready for disposal. These include paper, vegetable
peelings, onion seed coats, broken plastic and festal, spider net, soil and dust, pieces
of thread, animal faeces, grasses, used shoes, pieces of cloth, small bottles, soot, used
car parts, etc.
2) The waste aggregate more frequent and most abundant in the whole mass of
household waste is house sweeping, which is composed of soil and dust followed by
pieces of paper and vegetable peelings. The frequency of razor blade appearing as
waste is also shown as high. Ash swept out from kitchens is more in quantity than
other waste, however, it is not removed every day. Households which have regular
chat chewing members have a lot of waste in the form of chat sticks and leaves.
3) It has been learned that there are differences observed between well to do families and
poor households, in as far as household waste separation is concerned. Strict
separation of household waste is done in poor households, since they use some of
their waste. The survey has shown that poor households use their cowdung to plaster
their floor and walls. They also use the cake for household cooking. The survey has
also shown that the pieces of paper, thread and festal are burned to initiate three stone
fire burning. Used paper such as used exercise books of their children are reused as
toilet paper by the family. The poor households do not have much to sell for “ Korales”
other than their over used slippers which are of no further use except recycling.
The well to do families responded that they don’t separate household waste at source.
However, the children at home collect some of the saleable used bottles, glasses, and
nail paint containers to sell when the “ Korales” come.
4) The responsibility of household waste collection and separation also varies between
the well to do and the poor families. In poor families, it is the mother assisted by her
daughters (if she has), who handles the household cleaning and separating of the
waste. The male members of the family do not participate in these activities, except
that they sometime involve themselves when the waste is bulky and some physical help
is required to transport it to damping places.

In case of the well to do families, it is servants who collect and despose off household
wastes.
5) The survey showed that household waste is accumulated in either a used tin container
( “ baldi “ ) or used up basket until the time that it too will either be thrown any where or
dumped in dump trucks as waste. Few respondents mentioned that used festal are
also reused for collecting wastes.
6) In the survey area, it has been observed that there is practically no land fill to dump the
waste neither is there any container /skip/ placed by municipality. All the waste is
dumped into a river found at a distance of between 10 - 300 mts. Very few of the
respondents in the survey area assured that they dump their waste when the dump
truck arrives for collection.
7) The outcome of the survey indicated that collectors of reusable materials called
“ Korales “ do visit them frequently and buy bottles (big and small), nail paint
containers, used shoes, broken cooking jars, etc. The lowest price is the one given
for small bottles which is 0.10 birr and the highest is the price offered for broken cooking
Jars and used shoes which is birr 2.00.
One of the interesting results of the survey as it relates to “ Korales “ is the money from
sale of used material is put into. In most of the poor households the money goes to
the mother. She in turn buys household consumables such as coffee etc. In contrast
the well to do households leave the money for children for their extra requirements.
8) In the survey area, apparantly there is no regulation, according to respondents,
concerning the distance that household have to keep clean out side their compound.
Most of them agree, that if every one has to keep his/her own compound clean, then
every thing will be clean. Some of the respondents indicated that there is no tradition
of cleaning the area outside of their compound. They further stressed that no one has
so far come to advise them to do so.
9) There was a question on whether or not there is a responsible body for safe disposal
of household waste. They responded that there used to be some inspection in the
past. But, currently there is no one controlling the safe disposal of wastes. They were
further interrogated as to why there is no inspector these days. They said that no
attention is given by the Kebele for safe disposal of waste. Some households blame
paucity of inspection on the physical condition of the village, which they stated were not
amicable for inspection. Whether or not penality is being given to out lawing community
member was also asked. It was replied that previously, monetary penality for
mismanagement of wastes was given and the amount used to be birr 5.00 in most
instances. These days, let alone the penality even that system for inspection is non
existent.
10) The survey showed that no body is responsible for the waste dumped in the
river near by. Some of the waste is taken away by the river water. Otherwise, the
rest remains piled in the river gorge and on its banks. Few households witnessed to
have seen the waste being burnt.
11) Finally, it was asked what would they suggest as a better reuse and disposal of
wastes. Many respondents clearly answered that they don’t exactly know the
advantage of waste and hence can not suggest any thing on the reuse of final wastes
dumped. The safe disposal can be handled if skip / containers / would be placed for
the villagers so that every body would dump his/her waste in the containers, which
was the suggestion of most households. Surprisingly, there were few households who
feel that dumping the waste in the river is still the best solution.

The Akaki area.

1. The survey on household waste in Akaki has shown that the type of waste is more or
less similar to that of Zebegna Sefer except that they don’t have as much paper in the
whole mass of the waste as is the situation in Zebegna Sefer.
2. A portion of the respondents said that they don’t separate waste at the household level.
On the contrary, there are households who replied that waste is separated at the
household level. The type of waste separated at the household level usually is the
manure and dried grass and leaves of “ chat. “ The purpose of the manure is to
plaster walls and floors, whereas the grass and chat leaves are fed to domestic animals.
3. The municipality gives service to the town of Akaki. The survey showed that skips are
placed in some neighborhoods. However, the number of skips is not enough and a
portion of the neighborhoods are obliged to throw their garbage into an open area.
Some of the households, who are not enjoying municipal services, have their own way
of household waste disposal.

The survey has discovered that every household has its own pit dug in the compound
for day to day waste disposal. The most interesting activity after dumping the waste
in the pits is the burning process. All waste dumped will remain in the well during the
monsoon rains but will automatically be burnt when the dry season starts which is
September in the present case.
4. Another discovery during the survey in Akaki was the information on the absence of
inspector responsible for safe disposal of household wastes. Many of the respondents
confirmed that they haven’t seen any sanitation inspector in their area. They further
made mention of the presence of sanitary guards as members of the staff in the Kebele
offices in the past.

What are the reasons for poor efficiency in general?


Who is the culprit for the inefficient collection and disposal of household wastes is still a
big question mark. Government has assigned the responsibility to the Health Bureau of
Region 14, which is making its utmost with the limited available resource. On the other
hand, there is practically no effort by the community to assist in this regard. Private sector
involvement is not also that significant. Government has issued the following
prohibitions and restrictions to facilitate the safe collection and disposal of solid wastes
under Region 14.
The regulation for hygiene and environmental health states that:

1. It is prohibited to despose off dry wastes in the streets, squares, rivers, drainage
channels and other unauthorized places.
2. Every person is bound to collect dry waste into the skips prepared for waste
accumulation or into his/her own container meant for the purpose, till such time that
assigned workers would come and take the waste away.
3. It is not allowed to accumulate solid waste by any interested party unless the container
designed meeting the following specifications.

 Water tight ;
 Easy to clean ;
 Provided with a light cover ;
 Well protected against rain and rodents.

4. Any waste, found within 20 mts. outside one’s compound is considered to belong to
the same household.

Local authorities, in collaboration with Health Bureau of Region 14, tried to enforce the
regulation by employing sanitary guards and inspectors to punish violators. But not much
was improved through enforcement of regulation.
The small survey done by ENDA, for the only purpose of this workshop, showed that the
regulations are not at all obeyed by the households visited during the survey. The survey
result pointed out that even the sanitary guards and community health inspectors, who used
to surpervise in the past, no more exist.
A case study done in Region 14 (1997) indicated that the problem is not solved because
the central problem has not been touched, which is the inadequacy of the waste collection
structure in general.
The same study indicated some of the management problems as follows :-
 refuse accumulate because the containers are emptied infrequently;
 the lift over height is quite high, which made it different for women and children to
empty waste in the container;
 people often have to travel more than 300 meters to reach the nearest containers
which means that containers are spread thinly and this apparently discourages
households from dumping waste in the containers.

According to ENDA 1997, the responsibility for garbage collection is wrongly placed
within the Health Bureau of Region 14. It is considered a burden to Health Bureau of
Region 14, with all the additional and complex health problems that need be attended by
the Bureau.
Poor road system, connecting the different neighborhoods in Addis Ababa, is also one of
the limitations mentioned in the study.
Limited community participation has also been mentioned as one of the central problems
for the inefficient garbage collection and disposal.
Looking at the problem in general, the very first move required appears to be improving
the system of garbage collection by forming a different body responsible with all the
capacity to operate full-fledged.
Without tackling the core problems as mentioned above, it is needless to expect solutions
from either issuing regulation or blaming the community for poor collaboration.

Concluding remarks

1. The survey made by ENDA-Ethiopia has revealed some facts which other studies didn’t
go into details especially in separation of wastes. There was a general and biased
understanding that separation of waste at source is not done except for the most
usable ones to sell to “ Korales.” This was disproved by the survey results and in fact
there is practically separatrion of waste at source by households.

But, which portion of the society is doing separation at source is the issue. The result
of the survey showed that well to do families do not separate their waste, except for the
most important ones, which are separated before being mixed up with wastes.
Waste is separated in Addis Ababa by low income groups, especially focusing on the
ones needed as fuel for cooking, that is paper, broken festal, grasses, leaves of chat
etc.
2. There is very little involvement either by CBOs or the responsible government body, for
household waste collection and its safe disposal. The reality in the different surveys
showed that there exists a new regulation issued but never implemented. Inspection
and control have totally been abandoned.
3. People, if their awareness is up graded, are more than committed for such
responsibilities. In fact, involving communities, with delegated responsibilities could
have been the best step towards efficient waste collection and disposal. This has not
been done and the problem is worsening.
4. There is a good lesson to learn from the experience in Akaki about safe waste disposal.
The tradition in many neighborhoods, in Addis Ababa is throwing waste either in rivers
or on any available open place. However, some of the neigbourhoods in Akaki have
the culture of preparing pits where they dump their waste and burn it when dry.
5. None of the investigations made revealed whether there is any practice to compost
household wastes. This shows that there is literally very little experience in
transforming household waste into composts. There is practically very little attention
by either government or households for composting. The reasons for this could be
lack of awareness and training in this technique, or the little recognition given to the
subject by the responsible government body.
6. It is learnt that the burden of the responsibility from cleaning the house up to storing
and throwing it into either containers or dump trucks is mainly the responsibility of
women. The participation by men is in transporting the waste to distant collection
points. Even this is a rare situation otherwise everything is left for mothers and their
daughters. Some respondents replied boldly that such work is not meant for men.

Recommendations
1. The efforts being made by the Health Bureau of Region 14 to collect and dispose of
wastes is encouraging. This is entirely government effort. In line with this, it is highly
important if other partners, interested NGOs, the private sector and community
participate in waste management in general. To involve the community in the whole
waste management venture, two things are important:
i. Strong awareness creation undertaking to win the commitments of the
community for such activities.
ii. The use of existing social infrastructure ( Edir ) for the purpose of informing, or
even involving the community in the system of safe solid waste
management.

2. People are not encouraged at all to have their own means of waste disposal. The
experience in Akaki is a very interesting lesson where people collect waste into pits
dug for the same purpose in their compounds and burn the whole thing when the dry
season comes. It will be wise to encourage such a tradition.
3. Attention should be given for reusable household wastes. Strengthening the
recycling sector is a way of managing household waste. The informal recycling
sector is dependent on many circumstances in as far as household reusable wastes
are concerned.
Informal recyclers have to be encouraged through abolition or reduction of sales taxes,
and by providing them space to produce their materials etc. and with other incentives.
4. The possibility of using the biodegradable wastes for energy purposes is not known in
Addis Ababa so far. There is, therefore, the need to encourage the private sector to
involve in waste generated energy production and this also entails strengthening
research on appropriate technology to produce cookers and stoves operated by waste
fuel. The biodegradable waste can also be used as natural fertilizer, if composted.
Composting has to also be promoted by all actors who have the concern in poverty
alleviation’s and environmental protection.

Manure
With its over 58 000 cattle heads and more than 9 000 sheep and goats, Region 14 produces
a lot of manure. No data are available for the production of manure in Addis Ababa and it
is difficult to evaluate the total production.
The manure is being used in two major ways: the greatest part of the manure is dried into
flat dung cakes (known as kubet in Amharic) and used as energy source, another part is
used as fertiliser, especially by the vegetable producers and the rest, especially the dung,
is disposed of as waste through the sewrage canals. The cattle’s urine is evacuated through
littles gutters which join the sewerage system.
Vegetable producers systematically use manure on their vegetable farms, together with
chemical fertilisers. The organis manure is for the soil, the chemuical fertiliser is to quickly
obtain green “luxuriant” plants
The dung energy concumption in Addis Ababa is estimated to be 43.2 Tcal.
These cakes are used more especially for baking a the thick Ethiopian bread, known as
Abesha dabo, as it provides a slow regular heat allowing for regular baking without burning.
The bread is wrapped in false banana leaves which protect it against bad odours due to the
manure. Dung cakes are sometimes used to bak e injera, which is part of the staple food in
Addis Ababa and many parts of Ethiopia, but to prepare the dung cakes, the manure is
mixed with water and dry gras into flat cakes of about 30 cm diamtere. They are left to dry
in the sun. They are easy to transport because of their light weight. They are often stored in
a dry place or under a corrugated metal sheet until tuime comes when they are in high
demand and their price increases, i.e. during the rainy season and when there is a celebration
and the abaesha dabo is prepared for the guests whole will come and visit the family. The
work is entirely done by women.
Preparation of the dung cakes requires sufficient space to put the cakes in the open aire and
let them dry. Dairy producers living in the middle of the town used to have their dung cakes
left to dry on the open roads, but new regulations to protect the urban environment
nowadays forbid this practice, entailing loss of income for the women, addition dung in the
sewers and higher need for fuelwood
The are sold at Birr per unit.
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