Cuidar Project Maps Health Risks for Waste Pickers

Read a summary of key findings from the Cuidar Project, Components of a Healthy and Dignified Life, in English and Portuguese.

projeto cuidar project

In WIEGO’s work with waste pickers in Brazil during both the Informal Economy Monitoring Study and the Gender and Waste Project, waste pickers identified concerns about health issues they face. These include chronic exposure to dangers such as biological contaminants, chemicals and rodents, muscular pain from repetitive motions, and inter-personal tensions that arise from disorganized processes. 

To get a clearer understanding of these risks, WIEGO started the Cuidar Project to map health risks and to examine waste pickers’ coping strategies and access to health services. The project is also creating and testing tools, activities and feedback methods, including the use of different media, for raising awareness on workers’ and women’s health issues.

A joint initiative of WIEGO’s Urban Policies and Social Protection Programmes and waste picker cooperatives in Belo Horizonte, this research-action project aims to raise awareness about health risks among waste pickers, share health knowledge and enhance waste pickers’ connections to local partners in the health arena, which will hopefully lead to interventions to diminish health risks. In its second phase, the project will work to broaden discussions beyond the workplace and to undertake advocacy activities so that health professionals better understand the vulnerabilities faced by waste pickers.

Focus groups held since the project launched have been productive, with waste pickers enthusiastically engaged. Many have noted that talking about the issues is, in itself, therapeutic.

Learn more about the different phases of the project. 

July 2019 Ergonomics Workshop with Waste Pickers

Led by a certified physical therapist, Pedro Fonseca, it used a train the trainer approach to address particular health issues that waste pickers identified in the mapping research. Read the report.


-Photos/reports - Cuidar Project Feedback Event held on August 25, 2018 (Portuguese)

- Read the summary of key findings from the Cuidar Project (Portuguese): Projeto Cuidar 

Download the "quote cards" from the waste-pickers that took part at the Cuidar Project

Anderson Viana
Fabiana Ovído
Fátima Silva
Ivaneide Souza
Marli Beraldo
Talita Naiara