[Kiswahili] Strengthening Waste Picker Organising in Africa

Waste pickers from South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Morocco and Zambia have demonstrated the common need for official recognition from national and municipal governments, better working conditions, PPE, improved payment for their recovered materials and collection and processing service, and an end to social stigmatisation.

The experience of organising shows that these needs are achievable through building representative organisations that will ensure that their voices are heard in negotiations with governments and demonstrate their value to society.

This requires waste pickers to work collaboratively and embed the principles of democracy, equality and environmental justice in their organised structures. Furthermore, municipalities and national governments need to recognise the value that waste pickers play in diverting waste from the landfills, encouraging recycling where materials re-enter the economy and addressing poverty by providing an income for individuals that have been excluded from the formal economy.

In 2021 we made great strides as a movement and continued to spread awareness on our calls for a just, healthy and zero waste society.

To celebrate our victories, we put together this short region review of the year 2021. We recognise that there were many more highlights to celebrate in the movement, but these are a select few that we have been closely engaging on.

In 2019, GAIA Asia Pacific members gathered in Penang, Malaysia for a series of activities, which culminated in a regional meeting where we set our objectives for the next three years (2020-2023).

Just months after the regional meeting, the world confronted the uncertainty and threats of the COVID-19 pandemic, making work on the ground doubly difficult, as the pandemic also exacerbated the already widespread and systemic injustices that we have long been fighting. 

In the face of these challenges, GAIA members remained steadfast in their commitment for a better world. This publication, “POSSIBLE TOGETHER,” is a proof of that.

As written by GAIA International Coordinator, Christie Keith, in her message, “The organizing stories in the publication are a testament to how hard GAIA members have worked since early 2020 – despite great personal risk – to create visionary Zero Waste solutions and oppose toxic pollution. These are stories of cultural survival, fierce resistance, and local transformation.”

It takes a network to have a fighting chance when faced with challenges of this magnitude, and collectively, GAIA members rose to the occasion. They extended each other a helping hand and made sure that their communities would not be left behind. 

The work may be daunting; and the times, challenging. But difficult can become easy; and the impossible, possible when when people work together.

Against the backdrop of a global plastic pollution crisis, a growing number of cities and municipalities in the Philippines have passed ordinances that ban shopping bags and ohter single-use plastics (SUPs).

Why cities and communities play such an important role in the transition to a zero waste resource efficient future.

In this conversation Jack McQuibban, Zero Waste Europe, and Froilan Grate, GAIA Asia Pacific, talk about what zero waste cities look like in each of their regions.

In this conversation Jack McQuibban, Zero Waste Europe, and Froilan Grate, GAIA Asia Pacific, talk about examples of cities successfully implementing zero waste policies in Europe & Asia Pacific.

In this conversation Jack McQuibban, Zero Waste Europe, and Froilan Grate, GAIA Asia Pacific, share some advice for municipalities looking to begin implementing a zero waste strategy.

As we celebrate World Cities Day, let us look back on the work of our members in pushing for single-use plastic ban. Our speakers will talk about pioneering plastic bag ban in Bangladesh, banning SUPs in Jakarta, and going beyond SUPs ban.