Towards a Societal Transformation - a qualitative study of grassroots innovations within waste management in Zanzibar

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: The issue of waste is an increasing global problem, affecting people, animals and ecosystems. Zanzibar has experienced a dramatic increase of incoming tourists, with a growing waste problem as a result. This exploratory case study provides an analysis of the waste management situation in Zanzibar from the viewpoint of grassroots innovations initiatives. The study explores how grassroots innovations have evolved in Zanzibar and creates an overview of what challenges grassroots innovations within waste management face. The study is based on qualitative interviews, held with respondents on site in Zanzibar. The social context in Zanzibar is considered to provide a unique setting, both in terms of waste and the political situation. The respondents included are grassroots initiatives, governmental institutions, hotels and other stakeholders related to the waste management cycle or grassroots initiatives. The findings suggest that the current waste situation in Zanzibar has sparked the urge of contributing to a change, in regard to waste, among a few empowered citizens. These citizens have started grassroots initiatives based on the willingness to make a change, often with limited support from external forces. The different respondents gives the study an overview of the situation and a multifaceted picture of the development of grassroots innovations in Zanzibar. Treating waste is currently shameful, according to the norm, and grassroots initiatives in this case study have challenged this in order to reach their goals. Along the way, several challenges have been identified in both the literature and collected data, where the most prominent additions from the respondents have been legitimisation of knowledge and collaboration. The study draws attention to grassroots innovation, being a contribution to societal change, that seems to be needed in order to solve the waste management issues and a luring ecological catastrophe. The grassroots initiatives have already seen their efforts contribute to some change in the local environment. The research concludes that there are four major challenges that grassroots innovations face in Zanzibar. However, when the challenges are curbed to some extent, it paves the way for grassroots innovations to reach its full potential and contribute to sustainable transformation. The ambition is to contribute to current theories regarding grassroots innovations and generalise, to some extent, in order to use our findings in other contexts or cases.

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