Community Ownership in Action

Published June 15, 2016 by Abdullatif Osman


The two trucks donated by Horn Relief, now Adeso. Galkayo, Mudug, Somalia. March, 2016

Ali, a 42 year-old father of 7 children, and his colleagues collect trash piled by the roadside. This has been a routine he has done for many years. He started the waste management work a time as early as 1998. The whole area, according to Ali, was a very big dump site, with waste piling into small hills.

Today, the site has transformed into one of the city’s sprawling markets, with investments by local businessmen as a market hub, selling different products, from home appliances to foodstuff.

Four years ago, Adeso-at that time Horn Relief, funded the purchase of two trucks for waste management in Galkayo city, with funding from the European Union; in an effort to address the growing burden of poor waste management.

The city council still uses the same trucks for waste management purposes.   

“That is community ownership in action, sustainability at its best,” agreed both Ali Issaq, a waste management worker in Galkayo Municipality, and Issaq Ma’alim, Program Manager and Adeso’s head of Office in Galkayo.

Ali vividly recals how tough it was at the time, and the little resources they had to get it done.

“There was only one vehicle for cleaning, and wasn’t enough to cover the whole city. We would start work in the morning and conclude at 6 in the evening,” he said. “We had to carry garbage with our own hands, and wheelbarrows sometimes. Then came the other two vehicles that helped us clean the city.”

He now finishes his work at noon and has ample time to spend with his family. What started as work done by a few casual laborers, has now grown into a fleet of 4 vehicles and a work force of 39 employees, working all across the city.

“We make sure to maintain the trucks regularly, and use them as if they are our own,” says Farah Omar Osman, head of transportation at the Galkacyo Municipality. “That’s why they have lasted longer. In addition, we make sure not to use them for other purposes.”

After many years of conflict, the communities in Galkayo and the city council join hands in their crusade to keep the city clean, and manage their resources together.