Cover Image
close this bookTraining for Elected Leadership - The Councillor as Policy-maker (HABITAT, 1994, 20 p.)
close this folderPart II: Workshop councillor as policy-maker
View the documentOverview
View the document2.1 Warm-up exercise: policy recall
View the document2.2 Exercise: a policy-maker's quiz
View the document2.3 Trainer presentation
View the document2.4 Case study: Lukasa's waste-management
View the document2.5 Skill practice exercise
View the document2.6 Skill transfer exercise

2.4 Case study: Lukasa's waste-management

Time required: 60-75 minutes


The process of policy-making is a complex business. As a rule, policies are an expression of intent by a local government to fulfil a purpose or goal through specific actions or strategies to overcome a problem or seize an opportunity facing the community.

The case study is to help participants understand the complexity of the policy-making process and how they as councillors can become more effective policy-makers.


Provide each participant with a copy of a case called Lukasa's Waste-management Plan. Ask participants to read the case. When participants have read the case, divide them into four or five small groups. Ask each group to answer the four questions that follow the case situation and report back with its answers in about 20 minutes.

When small groups have reported back, ask each group how it answered each of the questions. Encourage a general discussion and comparison of points of view.


The situation

The city of Lukasa operates an open dump for disposal of the town's solid waste. Last year, the dump reached capacity and the continued disposal of waste material has led to unsanitary conditions, foul odours and growing rodent infestation. The Lukasa City Council discussed the purchase of land as a first step in constructing a landfill to replace the depleted dumping area.

The Council's plan to scrap the city's open dump and replace it with a sanitary landfill operation soon came to the attention of a group of informal sector manufacturers of stoves and cooking utensils. These manufacturers were dependent on the open dump as a source of scrap metal for their manufacturing operation. In a landfill operation, all solid waste collected from Lukasa homes and businesses would be covered immediately with soil, making it impossible to salvage any waste material for other uses. Several of the more influential members of the manufacturing group began to apply pressure on members of the Council to consider another way to handle the waste disposal problem that would not deprive them of the scrap metal.

Anxious to find a solution to the community's waste-disposal problem without alienating the informal sector, the City Council began to explore options. One council member observed that there could be other materials that are being used in the community that would be lost in a landfill operation. This prompted a lively discussion. One council member, critical of recycling, pointed out the added burden of recycling since homes and businesses would have to take the time to separate disposable items.

As a way of exploring the options in more detail and getting input from the community, the Council formed a waste-management committee. The committee was given two assignments: (a) to investigate the market for various Councillor as kinds of waste products (e.g., wet garbage, glass containers, plastic); and (b) to recommend a method for retrieving and segregating recyclable materials prior to disposal (e.g., at the source, at the disposal site, or somewhere in between). The committee was instructed to report on its findings within six months.

Analysis of the case

1. What problems or opportunities confront the councillors in Lukasa, given this situation?
2. What is the City Council's goal or goals for improving solid-waste management?
3. What policy does the City Council seem to be following in this situation?
4. What strategies were implemented by the City Council in furtherance of its policy?