WIEGO's Cuidar Project is shedding light on the health risks that waste pickers face — and helping find solutions.
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.
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.
- Read a summary of key findings from the Cuidar Project, Components of a Healthy and Dignified Life, in English and Portuguese.
- Listen to Ana Carolina Ogando, research associate in WIEGO's Urban Policies programme, outline the Cuidar Project and its findings in this ParlAmerica Podcast.
- Read key findings from Waste Pickers’ Health Risk Mapping.
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.
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.
- Read the summary of key findings from the Cuidar Project (Portuguese): Projeto Cuidar