Waste-pickers in Bolivia, mostly women, have been working independently all over the country for years now. Although during the last decade they have been organizing and creating small associations in order to work together, nowadays still there isn’t any coordination among them on a national level.
The lack of communication among the associations hinders the work that they carry out to gain recognition of their work in front of the authorities as well as the improvement of their working conditions. At the same time, it places them in disadvantage when negotiating with big recycling companies, since every association sells its materials independently and without sharing information about their selling prices.
Through the program “Ventana Adelante 2”, the Triangular Cooperation Initiative “Creation of a National Network of Collectors of Bolivia” began last September. The Initiative was created by entities from three different countries that formed an alliance: 10 associations from Bolivia (beneficiaries), the National Network of Recyclers of Ecuador (RENAREC – first provider) and R4S (second provider and coordinator).
The goal of the Initiative is to provide waste-picker associations in Bolivia with the necessary tools to build and manage a successful national network. To this end, a series of workshops and seminars have been organized both at a regional and national level where, thanks to RENAREC’s 14 years of experience in managing a national movement, and R4S’s experience in formalizing associations, Bolivian waste-pickers can learn from these experiences and, through participatory dynamics, create their own movement.
In order to get more information about the Initiative, you can tap here.
The creation of a national network of waste-pickers represents a milestone in the formalization of their work. Such a network will allow the associations to generate synergies between them and have greater representation at a national level. This will allow political advocacy to promote policies in favor of recycling and the social inclusion of waste-pickers in municipal recycling systems. At the same time, the network will be able to work representing associations nationally to have better prices as well as encouraging their progress in the recycling value chain.