Waste collection at the household level, in Sèmè-Podji, is carried out by people organised as Small and Medium Enterprises (SME, or PME in French). These are actually small enterprises comprised of approximately 3 to 8 people which pass by households to collect waste – called the ‘pre-collection’ step. Last year, a policy has been taken by the municipality to make membership to this service mandatory. However, this policy has not been enforced yet, and, even though the SMEs mention that memberships have increased in the last year, many households do not have a membership yet. At the same time, the capacity of these SMEs are still limited, both in the quantity they can serve, as in the quality they can deliver. These SMEs are organized into a collective called COGEDES, which has an exclusivity deal with the municipality of Sèmè-Podji, and which provides assistance to all the SME members.
However, some important changes are taking place. A project is being set up to take care of the whole chain of waste management in five municipalities in Benin around the Nokoué Lake, including Sèmè-Podji (projet Grand Nokoué). Within this project, which is funded by the national government, a national company will take the main responsibility in the chain of waste management. And, this company has published a call for proposals for waste collection at the household level. At this moment, the SMEs are facing this challenge, and need to respond in order to secure their position. We decided, as the DEALS Project in Sèmè-Podji, together with the Focal Team within the municipality to provide additional support to these SMEs via the implication of a consultant that will accompany them in the writing of the proposals. The deadline is approaching, and the SMEs are working hard to make good proposals.
In doing so, we are continuing to work towards a better functioning waste management chain.