Citizens taking part in administering a better KMC.


Many factors influence the well-being of people in a community, and many entities and individuals in the community have a role to play in responding to community health and waste management needs.

The people see a requirement for a framework within which a community can take a comprehensive approach to maintaining and improving health and waste management: assessing health needs, determining resources to manage dump site.

Critical to this process is give citizens a voice and empower them to monitor the performance of the Council and ensure that appropriate steps are being taken by responsible parties to ensure that those actions are having the intended impact on health and waste management in the community.

It means setting up a community affairs department where citizens can report concerns and engage Council officials on improvement programs, and circumstances, and work together to address health concerns, resources and capacities, social and political perspectives, and competing needs.

It empowers citizens to take part in the decision-making of the Council to address community concerns through a systematic approach.

We are creating a wave of new innovation at the local level of government, and much of it will be coming not from the Council but from citizens.

This will happen through a rapidly proliferating ecosystem of civic innovation labs, platforms that connect citizens with each other and with Council to share ideas, define community problems and find solutions.

We must build a healthy community in which people have access to the services they need in order to live decent and dignified lives.

Services that most people see as essential to community life, that make it possible for a community to exist must be created such as public works, schools, fire stations, and council police. These are considered necessary to the well-being of any community.

The services must exist to prevent problems and to maintain the quality of life in a community. If the problems in Kanifing Municipality are left unattended, especially for health and waste management it will lead to hard to manage problems or deficiencies in the future, such as health, adult literacy, employment training, housing, and the development of youth.

For us, the challenge will be to learn from, adapt to and manage these new pathways to more effective local governance.

The central premise of civic innovation labs is that they are "bottom-up" problem-solving tools.

Their value is in the fact that they live outside of the structured, rule-bound worlds of government and administration. The freedom from bureaucratic constraints on creativity is a central source of innovation.

Photo Maria Langen / Sverredal & Langen AB

Photo Maria Langen / Sverredal & Langen AB

Improving services, as is obvious, isn’t just a job for a single person, or even a single organization. It works best when the community is involved.

It helps to assure, through first-hand information, that the services provided meet the needs of those for whom they are intended; gives members of the target population a voice in deciding what’s appropriate for them, and establishes them as part of a policy-making; cement the support of the target population by giving them a sense of ownership of the services; provides communication channels to those who need to know about services and their availability; and ease the negative impacts of poor human and sanitary services.

Of course, Kanifing Municipality communities continue to face formidable historic challenges to improving public health and waste management.

However, reinvestment initiatives, changing demographics, and growth in urban areas are creating changes that offer new opportunities for improving health and waste management services. All it requires is that we adapt to the needs of our people and direct their tax monies to address them.