Cuidar Project Examines Health Risks Faced by Waste Pickers

WIEGO's Cuidar Project is shedding light on the health risks that waste pickers face — and helping find solutions.Waste pickers and Coronavirus safety

This poster was developed to help waste pickers reduce the risks of COVID-19. More about waste pickers and the risk from contaminated materials.

The Cuidar Project

In WIEGO’s work with waste pickers in Brazil, waste pickers consistently identified concerns about health issues they face. These include chronic exposure to dangers such as biological contaminants, chemicals and rodents, muscle pain from repetitive motions, and inter-personal tension arising from disorganized processes.

Cuidar message cards in English
The Cuidar Project developed a series of messages to raise awareness.

The Cuidar Project, a joint initiative of WIEGO’s Urban Policies and Social Protection Programmes and waste picker cooperatives in Belo Horizonte, is shedding light on these health risks, expanding and sharing health knowledge and enhancing waste pickers’ connections to local partners in the health arena, which will hopefully lead to interventions to diminish health risks.

The first phase involved mapping health risks and examining waste pickers’ coping strategies and access to health services. 

In its second phase, the Cuidar Project is broadening discussions beyond the workplace. Advocacy activities are raising awareness among health professionals about the vulnerabilities waste pickers face. 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.

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 Cuidar Project on Twitter. Follow: 

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 

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