At the beginning of 1978, a group of families were awaiting access to low-cost housing in Mérida, a city on Mexico's southeastern coast. Some units were equipped with a new drainage system called SIRDO (Integrated System for Recycling Organic Wastes), and families interested in living in the experimental block where the SIRDO was to be installed could be given housing right away. Three years later, families in another community located in the crowded Valley of Mexico decided to try the system in their own neighborhood. Women have played a crucial role in learning to manage the technical, economic, and social aspects of a new, community-based technology and, in so doing, have strengthened their own standing within their families and communities. They also have become the principal managers of a system that both improves sanitary conditions and offers possibilities for community-based income-earning activities. This issue of SEEDS tells the story of these women and their communities, and the changes brought about through the introduction of this new technology.
Schmink, Marianne. 1984. "Community management of waste recycling: The SIRDO," SEEDS no. 8. New York: Population Council.