From community-based organization to socio-environmental entrepreneur. The case of household waste collection in Kisumu’s informal settlements
Paper in proceedings, 2015
This paper aims to understand the process by which socio-environmental entrepreneurs providing waste collection services in informal settlements succeed, to consolidate their operations. The entrepreneurs in the recycling sector described in our paper are part of emerging experiences, most prominent in the global South, that fall under the Social and Solidarity Economy and the evolving field of Social Entrepreneurship. These theoretical frameworks offer complementary strategies to address some of the challenges such entrepreneurs face in their everyday context. The paper will combine both theoretical frameworks, which have inspired the two main questions addressed in this paper: What makes an informal waste collection initiative get established, succeed, and grow? And, how can Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Entrepreneurship frameworks support these micro-enterprises?
Methodologically, the paper is based on the case study of three waste pickers entrepreneurs in Kisumu, Kenya, characterized as social micro-enterprises, who have succeeded to consolidate their operations in informal and formal settlements. In-depth interviews, observations and document analysis have been used to collect data. Inspired by Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Entrepreneurship theories we have analyzed our data (mostly transcriptions from interviews) following patterns of creative abduction in back- and-forth moves between sorting, coding, probing of the data, and collecting new data until reconstructing the story of the three socio-environmental entrepreneurs.
Our findings show how these initiatives, born as community-based organizations (CBOs), succeeded to consolidate and expand by developing towards socio-environmental entrepreneurship models. In the paper we discuss this transition process and question its implications both for the entrepreneurs and the communities they serve.