The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between local governments and community based waste management organisations and the sustainability of voluntary organisations providing basic services. Drawing on analytical concepts of participatory development it investigate factors contributing to a successful relationship. More specifically how cooperation, communication and collaboration relate to the success or failure of community based initiatives. The concept of sustainable development provided analytical tools to measure how used for investigating the level of social sustainability. The thesis draws on an instrumental case study approach using community based organisations in Kibera, Nairobi and the City Council of Nairobi, Kenya. Data was collected through semi-structured and informal interviews together with non-participatory observations. The findings shows a relationship that lacks in cooperation, communication and collaboration and a case where social factors related to income, priority and motivation challenges the sustainability of the community based organisations.