Saamuhika Shakti

In solidarity with waste pickers

Saamuhika Shakti
In solidarity with waste pickers


10 Organisations, 1 Cause

Saamuhika Shakti is a collective impact initiative, the first of its kind in India, where 8 implementing organisations have joined forces to enable informal waste pickers to have greater agency to lead secure and dignified lives, with a specific focus on gender and equity. This project is initiated and supported by the H&M Foundation, and The/Nudge Institute serves as the backbone.

Collective impact?

Supported by H&M Foundation, Saamuhika Shakti is a collaborative project that brings together multiple organisations to solve issues faced by informal waste pickers and their families.
It follows the ‘Collective Impact’ methodology, which brings people together in a structured way to achieve social change in an equitable manner.

Who we serve

Informal waste pickers

Street waste collectors, itinerant buyers, and sorters in scrap shops and dry waste collection centers in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) region. They are a vital part of any city's waste management system.


Informal waste pickers
in Bengaluru

What is the problem?

Despite their massive economic and environmental contribution - they collect, sort, and send forward waste that can be recycled - waste pickers and their families, particularly the women and children, struggle to lead healthy and productive lives.


waste picker families in Bengaluru worked with, reaching about 32,000 people in the community


Low wages, hazardous working conditions, discrimination and negative societal perception, poor access to quality housing, education, healthcare, and water and sanitation services.

5.1 mln

Residents in Bengaluru reached by “Invaluables” campaign


Waste pickers, family members trained on lifeskills and vocational skills


Successful social security applications


Waste pickers/family members have formed collectives


people from waste picking communities have access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities


waste pickers organised into
effective collectives at the
community-level as well as at Dry
Waste Collection Centres

Higher & Stable Income

Waste picker families have higher and more stable income

Improved Working Condition

Waste pickers have improved/ safer working conditions

Career Transition Pathways

Waste pickers have the ability to move to alternative professions if they so desire


Women and girls, and other vulnerable groups, have equitable access to the above outcomes

Support System

Establish support systems for survivors of violence and substance abuse among waste picker families

Access to Affordable Services

Waste picker families access affordable and quality services enabled by the public and private sectors

Respect & Recognition

People of Bengaluru recognise and respect the value of waste picking


31% of the general population in Bangalore hold a strong stigma against waste pickers


Most waste pickers are either uneducated (54%) or have lower primary levels of education (20%)

Gender disparity

49% of waste pickers are women; they earn up to 33% less for the same work, face domestic violence

Limited upward mobility

63% are not aware of alternative jobs; 30% do not have voter cards and 80% do not have ration cards

Low Income

Waste pickers earn an avg daily income of INR 300-500. Only 5% of this community is linked to a formal financial institution.

BBC Media Action research, 2020
CARE India Baseline Assessment, 2021, Water Aid Baseline Survey, 2021

How we do it

Alternative livelihood
Through vocational training, life skills, financial literacy programs and entrepreneurship support
To improve professional pride among waste pickers and to encourage Bengaluru’s general population to respect and value waste picking
Access to
government schemes
Helping waste pickers and families apply for and access social security schemes and benefits such as housing and loans
Improving access to education and learning resources for waste pickers’ children
Clean water,
To ensure access to water and sanitation facilities - toilets, clean drinking water - for waste-picker homes
Safety and
Redesign equipment to improve working conditions of waste pickers, supporting start-ups that are working on innovative waste solutions
Programs to raise awareness on the ills of substance abuse and to reduce the incidence of domestic violence; set up support systems for survivors

Gender and equity

Women and girls in waste picker families are particularly vulnerable as they are disproportionately impacted by the challenges faced by waste pickers, including low income, dangerous working conditions, discrimination, lack of access to good healthcare, clean toilets and safe water.

Our approach

We ask waste pickers what their concerns are, seek to address them, and hold ourselves accountable; we ensure waste pickers' voices are included when developing a common agenda for all our partners. We also focus, in a big way, on gender mainstreaming activities. Gender equity is a foundational base for all of our interventions


Our team

Lakshmi Pattabi Raman

Executive Director,
Saamuhika Shakti

Akshay Soni

Executive Director,
Saamuhika Shakti

Zibi Jamal

Communications Director, Saamuhika Shakti

Bharath Sequeira

Associate Director,
Saamuhika Shakti

Sanjay Paswan

M&E lead,
Saamuhika Shakti

Vishwadha Chander

Communications Manager, Saamuhika Shakti

Simran K

Gender Lead ,
Saamuhika Shakti

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