The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers is a networking process supported by WIEGO, among thousands of waste picker organizations with groups in more than 28 countries covering mainly Latin America, Asia and Africa.
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Waste pickers’ workshop in Kinshasa, DRC

The second round of a workshop to support waste pickers organizing in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, was held in January of 2013. The Congolese Women’s Right League, a StreetNet affiliate, with support from WIEGO, organized an event that brought together 30 waste picker delegates from Bandundu, Bas Congo and Kinshasa.

Kenyan Pickers Doing it For Themselves

Waste pickers in Kenya are fighting to be heard. It has been a slow process of building solid organisation but it is showing results.

In the towns of Nakuru, Mombasa, Kisumu and Nairobi many people view pickers as trouble makers, especially as gangs sometimes operate from dumps. In fact the waste pickers are earning an honest living by collecting, sorting and selling metals such as aluminium, copper and iron as well as plastic bottles and containers, cloth, bones and organic waste.

Group of women talking on a couch

Organizing Tips: The Constitution – A Strong Foundation

A truly strong waste pickers’ organisation has a collective leadership that represents its members who are active and make democratic decisions. For all elements to work together an organisation needs clear objectives, structures and rules. It needs policies and procedures. All of these things must be in writing for all members to see and should be formally adopted by the members. This is the organisation’s constitution.

Will to be United: DRC Waste Pickers

“These waste pickers from Kinshasa are very creative,” commented Wiego’s  (Women in Informal Employment Globalising & Organising) Kapita Tuwizana. “Being so poor has made them think in imaginative ways.” They collect garbage such as plastic, cardboard, metal like any other waste pickers but they also make new things from this waste and sell it.

A Conversation with a Cairo Activist

Michael Hanna Shukri is an Egyptian who is working hard on a new waste picker’s union. We spoke to him about his work and organization.
What is your background? I am a young Zabaleen, which is the name of Cairo’s informal garbage collectors who started working in Cairo 80 years ago. I am 23 and I have been working for ten years. I am a member of the waste picker union and sit on the Spirit of the Youth’s board of directors. Spirit of the Youth is an NGO working with young Zabaleen which has spearheaded a campaign to start a union and helped it with money. Read more

The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers at Expocatadores: Highlights

Peter Wilson of Kenya speaks at the Global Alliance panel at Expocatadores
Juliene Mangni, is one of two waste pickers from African countries participating at Expocatadores. This is her first trip outside of Benin. She is the president of an association of 366 women waste pickers in her city of Cotonou, Benin. She and the other women waste pickers sell the plastics, cans and cardboards they collect at a large market. Juliene is trying to improve the situation for the waste pickers. They lack basic equipment for waste picking. Another major issue is that the local government doesn’t acknowledge the waste pickers and provides no support.

Update from Africa

South Africa (information about South Africa provided by Musa Chamane, groundWork) Ongoing activities After COP17, the South African Waste Pickers’ Association (SAWPA) agreed to ...

sawpa march cop17

SAWPA (South African Waste Pickers’ Association) in solidarity with waste pickers across the globe

The South African Waste Picker’s Association (SAWPA) is in solidarity with waste pickers across the globe. We would like to commemorate the day of remembrance of all waste pickers around the world who die on the streets or landfills. Those Men and Women who we witness everyday being brutalized, beaten to death, shot, run over by trucks while trying to earn a living through waste recycling.