Helping Madagascans to manage their waste

Working together within the Water Lily association, students in environmental studies are developing an integrated waste management system in Madagascar.

"A wonderful lesson in life!"

Jean-Pierre Le Teneur

In 2005, seven young students in their last year of studies at the "Institut supérieur de l'environnement" (ISE) in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines founded an association, Water Lily, aimed at putting theory learned to some practical use. In Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, they are setting up an integrated waste management system.
Their enthusiasm and professionalism are winning approval from the local environmental authorities and the ministry of public works and transport.
Their wide-ranging project covers several fields.They hope to increase awareness of waste-related problems among inhabitants; train participants in health, safety and environmental issues related to waste; set up the legal framework for integrated management of urban, hospital and industrial waste; improve the collection and sorting system as well as the levels of public sanitation overall.
An ambitious approach to say the least!

To prepare this programme, the chairman of the association spent three months at the project site in 2005.She was followed by the full team, who spent over six months there in order to gain a fuller picture of local problems and identify long-term solutions. For instance, while "embedded" in the Madagascan capital, the students strive to identify the needs of rag and bone men who make a living from sorting waste. In addition, they are setting up a partner Madagascan association, capable of supervising operations when they return to France.
In the second step of the project, in September 2006, once they have qualified as engineers with a specialistation in environmental law, the young professionals return to take this project through to completion, with the sole aim of developing other waste management systems in Madagascar on the basis of this pilot project in Antananarivo. The highly motivated initiators of the project managed to self-finance part of the project with 10 000 €.
The Veolia foundation has participated in the initiative with a grant of 25,000 euros.

Learning about source-separated waste collection

In 2006, for the entire "hygiene awareness" aspect and the need to sort the wastes, Water Lily worked with the NGO Enda Tiers-Monde.Many projects of this type were organized thanks to this partnership.In addition, "twin bins" for its source separation were installed in several districts of the capital and a compost production unit was set up to recycle biodegradable waste.In preliminary experiment that merits further developments.