The International Alliance of Waste Pickers is a union of waste picker organizations representing more than 460,000 workers across 34 countries
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Safai Sena

New Delhi, Delhi, India


Primary information

Year formed
Registered in
English, Hindi
Type of members
Members are waste pickers
Occupation of members
Itinerant buyers, Itinerant workers, Scrap dealers, Waste pickers
Type of Organization
Membership based organization, Non governmental organization, Non profit organization
Organizational Reach
Local, National
Workplace of members
Collection from companies, Companies, Door to door, Dumpsite, Fixed, Landfill, Open, Other, Recycling center, Slums, Sorting center, Street
Organization Structure
Safai Sena works through local fortnightly meetings, one monthly meeting with leaders, an annual meeting and through various committees, We have voted for leaders from every area. They are responsible to help Safai Sena to solve local problems, to help network with local elected representatives and to share any news that is important, as well as keep our monthly meeting regular. Leadership structure: 1. President 2. Vice President 3. General Secretary 4. Treasurer 5. Ten Executive Members
Safai Sena's objective is that adult waste handlers must be able to upgrade their work to green jobs, which means that apart from being good for the environment, our work should be safe, respected recognized and clean for us.
Education and training
Hygiene education, Leadership training, Learning exchange, Literacy & school, Mobilization, Rights & duties, Risks & health, Waste management
Partnering organizations
Chintan Environmental Research & Action Group
Membership fees, Ngo funds, Self funded
Internal elections
Women composition

Social networking sites



Member benefits
Clean & healthy environment, Education programmes, Id cards, Job creation & source of income, Legal assistance, Occupational health & safety, Social & pension benefits, Training & advocacy
Safety & Technology
Risk training,


What kind of relationship exists with the municipality?
Integrated into formal systems of source segregation
How is the relationship with the municipality?
Excellent and/or friendly
Types of materials
Biodegradable, Biodegradable waste, Bottles, Cans, Clothing, Electronic waste, Glass, Household items, Metals, Organics, Other, Paper and cardboard, Plastic, Plastics, Shoe soles, Tetra brik
Are they selling to middlemen?
Collecting materials, Collecting waste, Collection of recyclables, Collection of waste, Community storage of materials, Composting, Organizing collective events, Selling materials, Sensitization of locals, Sorting waste, Special collections from large generators of waste, Street sweeping, Training and capacity building, Waste collection, Waste management, Waste sorting
Sorting Spaces
Sorting center / sorting workshops
Challenges to access waste
Exploitation, Foul smell & contamination from waste, Harassment from authorities, Lack of education & training, Lack of infrastructure & resources, Lack of recognition, Lack of tools, Lack of unity between organizations, Negative attitude towards waste, Obtaining licenses, Price fluctuations of waste, Privatization

Complementary Information

Information source
Balmukund Kumar, Assistant Manager, Safai Sena Secretariat Programme provided this information to the Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers.

Comments / Narrative

Safai Sena means an army of cleaners. We are a registered group of waste pickers, doorstep waste collectors, itinerant buyers and other small waste material buyers, small junk dealers, and other types of recyclers. Safai Sena’s vision is that adult waste handlers must be able to upgrade their skills to access and create green jobs, which means that apart from being good for the environment, our work should be safe, respected, recognized and clean for us. Our dream for our children is that they go to school instead of becoming waste pickers.


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