Last week, Alianza Arkana’s President and Director of Community-Based Solutions, Brian Best, and Jema Jakoanti District Coordinator, Ronal Roque Agustin renewed the “inter-institutional agreement for cooperation” with the District Municipality of Yarinacocha, a branch of local government, to work together on our award winning Jema Jakoanti – Zero Waste program. The main objective for this new agreement is for the municipality to take greater responsibilty of the program and begin promoting and overseeing it themselves.
On Brian’s first day in the municipal offices of Public Services and Waste Management, he was prepared for an ordinary, bureaucratic meeting, but he was surprised and delighted when, upon arrival, an unexpected offer was floated his way. He was asked to be an advisor to the municipality’s technical advisory board, charged with the task of updating their Municipal Plan for Waste Management for the entire district, which includes six of our partner communities!
In this role, Brian and Ronal will provide technical support and counsel regarding how to best serve populations in fringe urban settlements and rural communities in the district. Having seen the successes of Jema Jakoanti – Zero Waste, the municipality is looking to Alianza Arkana’s experience to help them reach marginalized communities with basic sanitation services; beginning with solid waste management.
“We’ve been waiting so long for the day when the government would see the benefits of our waste management programs. I am happy to see them supporting this project and looking to expand the sustainable practices we’ve developed. I’m excited to see where it all leads,” said Brian, adding with a smile, “They have no idea what they’re getting into with Mr. Compost Toilet Man sitting in on their meetings!”
The Peruvian Ministry of the Environment (MINAM) has set a target for the municipality to provide collection of segregated solid waste to 20% of the urban population in the district by this summer. Brian and Ronal will be helping them develop a strategic plan that incorporates the regenerative practices that they have been perfecting alongside our Shipibo partner communities over the last decade working on culturally-relevant, basic sanitation solutions. This is a point of great pride for Ronel, since this all started in his home community of San Francisco.
One of the municipality’s stated objectives is to minimize the deficit that their current program incurs. To help them achieve this, Brian and Ronal hope to help the municipality organize collection services for segregated organic waste and build a central composting center. This would be modeled on San Francisco’s collection and composting facility, which generates one metric ton of compost each month.
The municipality can potentially generate hundreds of tons of compost each year to be sold and/or used for regenerative and organic agriculture, like AA’s new project Shipibo Ecosocial Entrepreneurship Diploma (SEED). They can also use the compost in the city for urban permaculture projects and the maintenance and creation of parks and green spaces. This will also generate new productive employment opportunities from the municipality, with all the benefits that entails.
There are many exciting possibilities that will open from new collaboration between Alianza Arkana and the municipality. Our work has convinced local officials that one person’s trash is indeed another person’s treasure. We envision a range of basic sanitation and livelihood improvements to spawn from this, including: composting public latrines, urban banana circles to treat household grey-water, thriving fruit parks with eco-brick benches for people to enjoy the greenery, and much more.
We are thrilled that we have been asked to strategize with the municipality and together look for ways to restore a clean and healthy environment to this corner of the Amazon.
Monday, 07 April 2014