A Common Vision for WIEGO’s Work with Waste Pickers

At the global and local level, and across all regions, WIEGO’s work with waste pickers pursues a common vision:

to ensure waste pickers around the world are recognized and valued for the contribution that they make to society, to the economy and to the environment; to ensure they have secure access to recyclables; and to encourage the development of democratic organizations through which waste pickers are empowered to make and act on demands (such as inclusionary waste management policies) to improve their working conditions, earnings and livelihoods.

So it is critical that waste pickers:

  • are aware – of their rights, their contributions and the benefits of organizing
  • are organized – in democratic organizations that are inclusive and representative of all waste pickers regardless of sex, race, caste, nationality, ethnicity, etc., and which respect equality and foster leadership in women
  • are empowered – to demand inclusion in municipal solid waste management (SWM) programmes
  • are included – by SWM systems that are flexible and allow for informal worker inclusion
  • move ahead – through improvements in the conditions of their work and their incomes
  • are covered – by social protection measures and schemes
  • are capable – in that they have the capacity to deliver well any services which they have agreed to deliver

Main WIEGO activities to achieve this vision:

  • sharing experiences of organizing and of strong organizations across the world
  • helping to build solidarity among groups of waste pickers across the world
  • strengthening the capacity of waste pickers to build democratic organizations
  • sharing experiences and suggestions for dealing with threats
  • sharing information on inclusionary SWM systems across the world
  • conducting, publishing and disseminating statistical data and other research on waste pickers, their numbers, lives, and contributions
  • supporting the participation of waste picker representatives in regional and global events
  • providing support with media and advocacy work to promote understanding and recognition of the role, conditions and actions of waste pickers and their organizations
  • generating multimedia materials to be used in all of the above