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Siachiyako, Clive Mutame, 2016. Forbidden spaces? : public participation in solid waste management in Lusaka. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Participatory processes are increasingly sought (internationally and nationally) in natural resource and environmental decision-making to embrace different interests, values and knowledge. In Zambia, public participation is anchored on the National Decentralisation Policy (NDP). The decentralisation policy provides for the creation of grassroots structures (herein public spheres) for “people spirited participation.” Public participation in Solid Waste Management (SWM) in the country is thus [supposed to be] premised on decentralisation. Different grassroots structures have been formed to facilitate actors’ participation in waste management districts and zones. However, pursuing participatory approaches has not improved managing waste (particularly in Lusaka) where SWM has faced resistance from households. Hence this study explored practices in participatory processes and strived to understand how actors problematise SWM in Mtendere township in Lusaka. Qualitative data collection methods (interviews –individual and focus group – and field observations) were utilised in the inquiry. Relevant themes and patterns to theories and concepts used in the study were captured from interviews and formed the study results and a basis for analysis and discussion.

Accounts of lived experiences in my study suggest that socio-economic, political affiliation, gender and age are used to exclude actors from participatory processes. Holders of different kinds of power (economic, political or expert) dominate grassroots spheres; making them seem forbidden to others. Politicisation of participatory spheres, information gaps (and rumours) and mistrust among actors have compounded the problem of SWM. However, although actors like households are often excluded from participatory processes, they are required to pay for managing waste. Households’ actions framed as “chikonko” (displeasure) by the waste collecting company and feelings that their (households) ideas are not appreciated typify SWM problematisation narratives. In seeking compliance to SWM systems, the Lusaka City Council introduced the Fast Track Court to prosecute SWM defaulters. Households have counteracted litigation through shielding each other and using dishonest and indiscriminate waste disposal means. Some methods of shielding others include paid-up households adding waste for non-paying neighbours to theirs; and paying workers for CBEs “small amounts” to collect unpaid for waste. The actions of mistrust deprive CBEs finances for efficient SWM. Mistrust in authorities and participatory process seem to have eroded actors’ confidence in participation. Largely, actors’ lived experiences are characterised by exclusion, frustrations, intimidation, arrests or convictions.

Main title:Forbidden spaces?
Subtitle:public participation in solid waste management in Lusaka
Authors:Siachiyako, Clive Mutame
Supervisor:Ångman, Elin
Examiner:von Essen, Erica and Hallgren, Lars
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2016
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM026 Environmental communication and management - Master's programme
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:public participation, public sphere, power, trust, communication
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Nature conservation and land resources
Processing of agricultural wastes
Deposited On:08 Jul 2016 10:33
Metadata Last Modified:08 Jul 2016 10:33

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