New Equipment for Ethiopian Trash Collectors

ICMA provides much-needed solid waste collection equipment to Jijiga City.

ARTICLE | Oct 4, 2011
A member of the Hawl-Wedag Sanitation and Beautification Cooperative wearing one of the helmets provided by USAID and ICMA.

The municipality of Jijiga City, the economic center and administrative capital of the Somali Regional State in southeast Ethiopia, received much-needed solid waste collection equipment from ICMA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). 

Trash collectors in Jijiga City used to move along the city’s unpaved streets and alleyways picking up broken bottles, animal bones, hazardous materials, and every imaginable type of waste material. The 70 trash collectors deployed by two solid waste collection cooperatives have been working under the unregulated, informal approval of the city administration for the past four years. Dressed in tattered clothes, wearing rubber sandals, and lacking gloves or other protective gear to protect them from injury or infection, they represented a very weak and under-funded front line in the city government’s battle against environmental degradation and poor sanitation.

That situation is about to change, however, thanks to a comprehensive performance improvement program for Jijiga City’s solid waste collection service being implemented through USAID's Regional/Municipal Services Strengthening (RMSS) Project, ICMA’s CityLinks initiative for Ethiopia. In September, USAID’s deputy chief for the Office of Democracy and Governance (USAID/D&G), Brian Gilchrest, represented the U.S. Government at a ceremony in Jijiga City at which the following equipment aimed at improving the solid waste collection service was handed over to Jijiga City Mayor Abdi Tahir and the heads of two solid waste collection cooperatives: 

Ethiopia-USAID and Jijiga City Complete the Hand Over



  • 175 "uniforms," consisting of printed and USAID-branded coveralls
  • 175 helmets, caps, boots, rain gear, protective shoes, and masks
  • 175 leather gloves, as well as rubber gloves for handling hazardous waste materials
  • 150 push brooms, shovels, and rakes
  • 3,000 reusable trash collection/disposal sacks
  • 5 wheelbarrows
  • 4 purpose-built trash collection push carts.

Gilchrest thanked the city administration and its technical staff for their commitment and participation in the ongoing efforts to improve service delivery. ”The equipment that we are handing over today is the down payment on additional assistance which USAID plans to provide Jijiga City and its partners - the two solid waste collection cooperatives - to improve the quality and efficiency of waste collection in Jijiga.”He also acknowledged the participation and the contribution of the Hope for Jijiga Sanitation and Beautification Cooperative, as well as the Hawl-Wedag Sanitation and Beautification Cooperative. 

 ICMA’s performance improvement program consists of training, technical support, and delivery of materials which, in concert, are intended to: 

  1. Create the first-in-Ethiopia public-private partnership, which will institutionalize a unified, coordinated, and visible municipal solid waste collection service
  2. Establish an enforceable agreement between the city and two local waste collection cooperatives in which the roles and responsibilities of the two parties are clearly defined
  3.  Improve the business management skills and the operational efficiencies of the waste collection cooperatives so as to foster transparency and assure financial accountability
  4. Develop the institutional capacity of the city to plan and manage solid waste collection services more strategically
  5. Provide the tools and equipment needed by each party to discharge its duties.

Mayor Abdi, on behalf of the numerous city officials in attendance, thanked the U.S. government for investing in Jijiga’s future and helping the city administration carry out its functions. “The American Government’s RMSS Project has been a major resource for us, not merely by providing valuable equipment, as it has here today, but also by sharing with us their specialized expertise in municipal management, finance, and service delivery. Building the skills of our employees and helping the city strengthen the organizations that are responsible for service delivery will enable us to better serve our community.”

The RMSS project is expected to continue to provide assistance to Jijiga and other local and regional agencies until September 2012. RMSS operates through a partnership with Mercy Corps International, a registered NGO legally authorized to operate in the Somali Regional State and in Jijiga City.

To learn more about ICMA’s current work in Ethiopia, visit the Ethiopia section of ICMA International, and the International Development topic page of the Knowledge Network, or email  


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