ZONDA INSILA PROGRAMME OPENS OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE UNEMPLOYED
Many previously unemployed youth in Mpumalanga are showing a growing interest and willingness to be part of the Zonda Insila Programme (ZIP) that aims at creating job opportunities and empower young people to start and sustain their own business in the waste recycling sector.
The Zonda Insila Programme was first launched in Breyton in the Msukaligwa Local Municipality in March 2019, with only four projects. The programme has since grown to a total of 14 projects, with five in Nkangala, two in Bohlabela, one in Gert Sibande and six in the Ehlanzeni District. The youth who participate in the ZIP initiative, whose main objective is to save the environment from harmful pollution, littering and illegal dumping, have since become their own bosses. They run these recycling cooperatives with the support of the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Land and Environmental Affairs, and the assistance from several private companies and local municipalities. Although they receive a stipend from the Department, the participants are also enjoying an income generated from the sale of the recyclable waste material they collect.
ZIP participants have an important role to play in communities. They clear illegal dumping and littering. During that process, they separate residuals from recyclables, sort waste according to the specification of their clients, the Recyclers. This is all thanks to private companies like PETCO, Plastic SA, and other affiliates of the Institute of Waste Management of South Africa (IWMSA), which provide training and workshops on waste and business management. So far we have witnessed these private companies donating baling machines and PPEs to many young people in the sector. Local municipalities also assist with the conveying of residuals in refuse bags to landfill sites.
With the level of interest shown and growing number of informal waste pickers, there is no doubt that ZIP is encouraging more and more young people to shift their thinking towards waste. But the ZIP impact will be more effective if communities change their attitude towards the handling of waste, and must support the ZIP participants by discarding waste responsibly, and avoid illegal dumping. Afterall, ZIP encourages communities and young people in particular, to see waste as the new wealth.