The Mayor of Freetown, Her Worship Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr has launched the Waste Collection Management Association (WCMA) at the Freetown City Council Auditorium in Freetown.

The Association which comprises of youths from all works of life including graduates from different universities shared their passion on waste collection and management. It emerged after gaining support from European Union, IOM and MMC through the agenda of Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr’s #TransformFreetown. The groups were supported with tricycles from the mentioned organizations for the collection of garbage in Freetown. With mentorship and training from IOM, it has created thousands of employments for Sierra Leoneans as they play entrepreneurship roles.

The launching was chaired by the Chief Heat Officer for Africa; Madam Eugenia Kargbo and witnessed by EU Ambassador; HE Manuel Muller, Staff of Freetown Council, Mayor’s Delivery Unit, members of the tricycle groups and other stakeholders.

“So excited to host the HE Manuel Muller, EU Ambassador as we launch the Waste Collection Management Association! The EU funded the purchase of 60 tricycles in 2019, the training of about 600 young people as waste collectors and the establishment of a simple internal insurance scheme (osusu) for the repair of their tricycles. Today these young people and the over 500 beneficiaries of tricycles purchased through IOM funding (20 tricycles in 2019) and through Mayor’s Migration Council funding (40 tricycles in 2021), have organized themselves to ensure that their businesses grow as they contribute to the cleanliness of our city!” Her Worship posted.

His Excellency Manuel Muller addressed the youth groups. He talked about the good relationship they shared with Freetown City Council and stated the support they have been giving to youth groups by providing tricycles.

The Chairman of the Association, Abu Bakarr Sesay thanked the tricycle groups for their restless effort. He stated that for the past 3 to 4 months, the youth groups haven’t received their salaries.

Chairman called on the attention of the authorities concerning the payment of youth groups. “We want authorities concerned to take this into consideration that, without payment, Freetown will face challenges and effort we have made over the years, will go do down to drain” – Chairman spoke. He added that, they want to maintain their relationship with Freetonians and to continue creating employment for Freetonians. “Delay in payment is actually a crisis towards the operation.” He cried out. Bakarr pleaded for more support from Freetown City Council and donors to help them achieve the goal of transforming Freetown.

Chief Heat Officer, Madam Eugenia Kargbo congratulated the youth groups for their good work. She commended them for staying strong even without salaries. She presented Her Worship Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr.

In addressing the youth groups, Her Worship Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr stated that the launching of the WCMA is part of the bigger picture of her agenda. “What we are doing here today, is part of the wider plan #TransformFreetown. And within transform Freetown, we have four clusters, eleven sectors and nineteen targets. One of our targets for Sanitation was to increase waste collection to have it safely collected, managed and disposed from 21% to at least 50% by 2022.

Her Worship sensitized the youth groups on how to handle garbage business. “Garbage business is not an event but a system. You cannot effectively manage your sanitation as individual event; you have to build a system. To build the system, you look at behaviour change, rules, enforcement to ensure that there are penalties…” She stated. Her worship talked about the challenges they faced to in managing garbage in Freetown. She said the number of Metropolitan Police is too small compare to the number of Freetonians. “There are 150 Metropolitan Police in the city of 1,500,000 people. So, it’s difficult for enforcement to be efficient.”

Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr also talked about the infrastructure to collect garbage. She said that when they occupied office in 2018, only 21% of solid waste was collected. She commended other waste service providers like Masada, Mr. Klin and others for the good work.

She thanked FCC Staff, IOM, European Union and MMC for their support. She urged the youth groups to continue the good work as she continues to work hard for their payments.