Cities Alliance has launched a platform that will afford sanitation companies the opportunity for loans and grants that will make their work more effective and impactful to residents of Monrovia and its suburbs.
Cities Alliance is a global partnership fighting urban poverty and supporting cities to deliver sustainable development. And, to manage its activities, the organization operates a multi-donor fund with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) as a host and trustee. However, the loan and grant schemes are supported by the European Union in Liberia through the project, Delivering Climate Resilient Solid Waste Management Services to Greater Monrovia through Community Based Enterprises.
At a well-attended ceremony for formal solid waste management loans and grants for community-based enterprises (CBEs), small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and NGOs in Sinkor over the weekend, the good news about the availability of loans and grants was disclosed and conditions clearly enumerated for the mutual benefits of the recipients and Cities Alliance, who has secured the money from the European Union.
“It is our hope that we will realize a public-private partnership in ensuring that communities in Monrovia are clean and [that] solid waste is recycled for the common good of the city’s residents,” Andrew Senjovu, Cities Alliance’s Monitoring and Evaluation Analyst noted as he launched the program.
Senjovu said the project is about capacity building and his organization will do all it can to be impartial with all who apply for either the grant or the loan.
“It is about sustainable programs including recycling. We are thankful for the cooperation we are receiving from the City mayors of Monrovia, Paynesville, and others. We are also hopeful that you will do your best to present all of what is required of you, including business registration papers and tax payment receipts in order to inform our judgment on why we should consider you for what you might apply for,” Senjovu added.
“Work hard and meet all of the requirements for you to be qualified for this. We are not here to be selective but to award those who meet the criteria,” he emphasized.
Paulita Wie, Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), acknowledged the challenges facing the government in tackling waste management.
“There has been an overwhelming challenge, but with the support from our partners including Cities Alliance, we are realizing a shift in a positive direction in managing our waste in Monrovia and its environs. Now we can boast of more equipment than before and with concerted efforts and collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), and others, we no longer have huge piles of waste in the streets as they used to be,” Wie boasted.
About recycling, she said Liberia is far behind but, with the cooperation coming from all parties involved in the management of waste, the country could one day be on par with other countries that are doing well in the recycling of solid waste.
“In Europe and other parts of the world, plastics are used to produce cooking gas. Fertilizer and other important things are made from what we see as useless waste around us here. But we, too, can get there if we work together with honesty and integrity,” she said.
From the audience, James Mulbah, head of Green Cities, said he was pleased that Cities Alliance with support from UNOPS and the European Union has come to Liberia to pilot their grant and loan program in waste management campaign.
“We are in the recycling of solid waste products. We now produce geometry sets, rubber cups, including those used by Firestone Rubber Company to collect latex and several other things,” Mulbah said.
He noted that while the loan or grant may not be a huge amount for big businesses, those who will succeed in getting the loan or grant should be honest by paying back in order to pave a way for more opportunities tomorrow.
Established in 2014, Mulbah said his organization has a five-year strategic plan that will begin to extend its programs to other cities, including Kakata, Tubmanburg, Paynesville, Gbarnga, and Ganta next year.
Cities Alliance solid waste management specialist, Garmondyu Zogar, said the loan package will range from US$3,000 to US$15,000 while grants will range from US$25,000 to US$50,000 and interest rate range from one percent to five percent.
Zogar said only CBEs and SMEs who are operating in Greater Monrovia are eligible to apply for either the grant or the loan.