EU funded project to benefit 4,000 waste pickers working in the informal sector (08/07/2011)

The European Union and Practical Action have joined forces to help improve the situation of 4,000 informal workers in the solid waste management sector in Nepal. The European Union is contributing  EUR 1,253,125 to the PRISM Project (Poverty Reduction of Informal Workers in Solid Waste Management Sector) implemented by Practical Action, which has provided 20 percent of the total project cost (EUR 1,566,406). The PRISM project will ameliorate the living conditions of waste pickers, who are among the poorest people in the Kathmandu area and are socially and economically exploited. Thirty five per cent of the project beneficiaries will be women.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Local Development, Mr Sushil Ghimire, and the Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the European Union Delegation to Nepal, Mr Lluis Navarro, jointly launched the project at a formal gathering on Friday. The three-year project will cover the municipalities inside the Kathmandu Valley: Kathmandu Metropolitan city, Lalitpur Sub Metropolitan City, Bhaktapur, Madhyapur Thimi and Kirtipur.

"Every night at 2am we collect garbage from the city for around NPR 250 per day. As I am sick I have not been able to work for the past 20 days. I therefore do not have any income nor any food to eat. People often shout at us when we collect their waste, which is very humiliating" said Sakhiya Khatun, one among many waste pickers in a brief interview with Practical Action.

Khatun's case is just the tip of the iceberg. It is estimated that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 waste pickers in the valley. They lead a life of humiliation and oppression in the absence of any social protection measures that would make their work more dignified.

The primary objective of the project is to improve the living conditions of these informal workers involved in managing solid waste. The project seeks to raise their income by 30 percent, reduce the negative stigma attached to the profession, improve their working conditions and help them benefit from social protection schemes.

Practical Action will implement the project with its local partner, the Centre for Integrated Urban Development (CIUD). Project associates are Solid Waste Management and Resource Management Centre (SWMRMC), UN-Habitat Water for Asian Cities Programme Nepal, and Nepal Re-use and Recyclable Goods Entrepreneurs Association (NRRGEA).

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Note for the Editors:

The European Union, together with its Member States, is the largest donor of humanitarian and development assistance in Nepal. The Delegation of the European Union alone provides close to EUR 40 million per year and is a constant reference point for others on stability, democracy and human rights. The EU Delegation to Nepal has been supporting the Nepal Government in three major sectors - Education, Peace & Stability and Trade Facilitation - as well as environment and climate change, renewable energy, food security and human rights.

Practical Action was established in 1966 with the objective of reducing poverty through wider use of appropriate technologies in the developing world. Globally, it operates through its regional and country offices in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zimbawe with its head office based in the UK.

For more information, please contact

Ranjan Prakash Shrestha
Project Manager
Delegation of the European Union to Nepal
Phone: 4429445
Email: Ranjan.Shrestha@eeas.europa .eu
Website: eeas.europa.eu/delegations/nepal