Women entrepreneurs turning waste into useful products

by CCAC Secretariat - 8 March, 2018
Recognizing the importance of private enterprise to open up opportunities for women and protect the climate

Today we celebrate International Women's Day. The empowerment of women and the continued struggle towards a just society with equal rights for all, independent of gender or origin, remains a priority. 

Empowering women as sustainable business owners creates a chain of positive impacts by building their financial independence and strengthening their capacity to contribute to their communities and the environment. The story of Rosaline below showcases how this can be done.

Roseline's story

Rosaline with products made from recycled waste
Rosaline with products made from recycled waste

Roseline hails from Migori County in South western Kenya. She moved to Migori in 2008, from the Rift Valley as an internally displaced person. Without a source of income, she decided to invest in waste recycling. Her group of eight women and six youths are transforming plastic waste into useful products, and helping prevent short-lived climate pollutant emissions from the open burning of plastic. 

Since 2014, Roseline has displayed her products at major international and local exhibitions. In 2015 she won first place at the Zambia International Show, and in 2016 she was featured by the National Environment Management Authority’s Rapid Results Initiative as a prominent example of low level but transformative investment in waste management. 

Roseline has demonstrated that investment in recycling of waste is a viable income generating venture for low income groups. With increased investment and training in skills like business plan development the group’s waste recycling start-up could be scaled up.
   

Women play a critical role in addressing air pollution and climate change. Building the capacity of women to reduce short-lived climate pollutants empowers them economically and has the highest chance of achieving reductions at scale.
Alice Akinyi Kaudia

Kenya's waste transformation

Waste management is a key national priority for Kenya. The government considers improving waste management both a constitutional right – Article 42 of Kenya’s constitution says every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment – and a key pillar of Kenya Vision 2030 sustainable development plan to deliver better health, air quality, improved livelihoods and economic opportunity. 

The waste crisis in Kenya is complex. Dumpsites are overflowing and poorly managed; waste leachate and fumes from waste fires threaten the health of waste pickers and neighbouring communities. Illegal dumping fouls waterways and roadsides. In Kenya’s sprawling poor communities there is often no waste collection at all. Pilot waste collection, separation and recycling initiatives have been launched but must be massively scaled up. he 2010 Constitutional reforms devolved the responsibility for waste management to the county level, but thus far counties have been unable to effectively collect, transport and dispose of waste. Scant data has hampered planning and decision making. Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) took a critical step forward in 2015 with the publication of a national Solid Waste Management Strategy, part of Kenya’s Vision 2030 submission to the Sustainable Development Goals. And more recently, on August 28, 2017, Kenya’s plastic bag ban, one of the world’s toughest, came into force, attacking one of the biggest challenges to solid waste management in Kenya at the source.

A woman waste picker at the Dandora dumpsite in Nairobi, Kenya
A woman waste picker at the Dandora dumpsite in Nairobi, Kenya

Pilot waste collection, separation and recycling initiatives have been launched but must be massively scaled up. The 2010 Constitutional reforms devolved the responsibility for waste management to the county level, but thus far counties have been unable to effectively collect, transport and dispose of waste. Scant data has hampered planning and decision making.

Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) took a critical step forward in 2015 with the publication of a national Solid Waste Management Strategy, part of Kenya’s Vision 2030 submission to the Sustainable Development Goals. And more recently, on August 28, 2017, Kenya’s plastic bag ban, one of the world’s toughest, came into force, attacking one of the biggest challenges to solid waste management in Kenya at the source.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is working with Kenya to deliver a project to help transform waste management across the country. The government has taken measures to intensify public and private sector led efforts and, together with Coalition implementers like Earthjustice and the Center for Clean Air Policy, draft environment, laws, regulations and strategies to institute enforceable waste management regulations, support private sector investment in the waste management industry, and promote collection, separation and recycling initiatives by non-state actors.

The first component of the project was to create a national enabling legal framework to facilitate and incentivize good county level waste regulations and practices. 

The Waste Act is a key step to reducing methane and black carbon emissions from the sector through improved waste collection and separation at source, recycling of industrial wastes and consumer plastics and paper, and separation and composting of organic waste.

Additional Coalition support includes capacity building and knowledge exchange with South African waste management experts, and providing on the ground support to model counties to implement effective waste management solutions.

Children smile during a CCAC fact-finding mission to Kajiado dumpsite, Kenya.
Children smile during a CCAC fact-finding mission to Kajiado dumpsite, Kenya.
Tags
Themes

Related partners