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Stimulating Effective Alliances

Stimulating Effective Alliances and Networking for Waste pickers in Kenya and African Region level

Despite their tremendous contribution in the solid waste management value chain in Kenya, waste pickers continue to operate in insecure informal places and also lack personal protective Equipment. In Kenya waste pickers work in groups that are not interconnected which inhibits their ability to contribute to policy or advocate for their rights like other organizations since they see each other as a competitors and continue to fight for dumpsite territories. 

Globally waste picking is perceived to be an informal venture, which poses a lot of risks to waste warriors like discrimination and abuse by middle men and private sector who purchase their recovered waste at little coins making them to be subdued by an unfair economy.

CEJAD, with the support of SAGE FUND and GAIA seeks to strengthen human rights accountability for powerful economic actors by stimulating Effective Alliances and Networking for waste pickers in Kenya and African level. The project aims to support the formalization of waste pickers in four major cities, Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru to increase their collective action in advocating their legitimate recognition and rights in the economy of waste management, including recycling collection and safe disposal.

The creation of a National Association of waste pickers will be a basis for change to the infringed human rights that waste pickers face and will increase the bargaining power and advocating for corporations to produce materials that are recyclable as opposed to single use items. Nationally domestic waste is not adequately managed and is disposed of at our disposal sites with minimum sorting/segregation. With the circular economy as a top priority for the nation, formalizing waste picking will promote accountability to the private sector to fair prices of recycled materials and protection of other rights of waste pickers like integration into the formal waste management systems.

In Kenya, domestic waste is also referred to as garbage. It consists mainly of biodegradable waste which is food and kitchen waste, green waste paper and non-biodegradable plastics, glass bottles, cans, metals, and wrapping materials. The composition of the domestic waste streams is a function of income, consumption patterns, and recycling opportunities for waste pickers where they can benefit fully when they are organized and formalized.

Most waste picking activity is illegal or unpermitted, so waste pickers around the globe commonly face harassment by police and other authorities. There is also widespread public scorn toward waste pickers due to their apparent poverty, lack of education, and perceived lack of hygiene however if they are formalized, they will enjoy their rights to fair labor practices, dignity, and participation in Environmental waste management committees and through this, they will be recognized as waste warriors and key players in the circular economy. 
At the end of the project, which is currently ongoing, We will have facilitated the formation of a county waste pickers association and an Umbrella national association which will strengthen the institutional framework of the local associations through advocacy, leadership training, and legal provisions for waste pickers.

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