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The Environmental Management Agency through the Environmental Planning and Monitoring (EPM) unit has established Community Based Organisations (CBOs). This, is in line with the Agency’s initiative to protect the environment at the same time providing a livelihood option to communities.
When the concept was adopted by the Agency, most groups were involved in awareness and clean up campaigns (advocacy). The Agency then added value to these groups by including a livelihood sustenance component under the theme “Converting Trash to Cash”.
Who are CBOs
CBOs are community groups made up of individuals who have passion for the environment and voluntarily come together with the same objective of managing their physical environment. EMA requires that these organisations be made up of at least 15 individuals including men, women, and youths. These individuals should be drawn from the local community. However, various scenarios exist on the ground. Some groups are smaller and some have adopted these activities as entrepreneurial avenues. Some have actually moved from being community organisations to business units.
Why the CBO approach
EMA having identified the potential that CBOs have especially in waste management has mobilised over 50 community groups to partake in such activities. Waste Management in the Local Environmental Action Planning (LEAP) programme was identified as a challenge to all urban areas. The problem of waste management has significantly affected the country and the authorities responsible cannot manage it alone hence the engagement of communities in waste management. The intended goal is to have reduced amounts of waste going into the landfill by making sure that communities through CBOs reduce waste at source.
What is EMA’s role in CBO activities
The Agency capacitates CBOs through training, provision of protective clothing, equipment and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) development. EMA has also through a number of workshops created linkages with recycling companies, NGOs and other stakeholders whose activities affect CBO operations. CBO activities are closely monitored by the Agency to ensure compliance to the law and safe handling of waste.
How do community groups become CBOs
Any interested groups can register with the Agency and submit their worplans. The groups are also required to establish committees and develop constitutions that will govern their activities. Some CBOs especially in Harare are now registered as Trusts.