Saamuhika Shakti is a collective impact initiative, the first of its kind in India, where seven implementing organisations have joined forces to enable 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.
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.
Residents in Bengaluru reached by “Invaluables” campaign
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, toilets
To ensure access to water and sanitation facilities - toilets, clean drinking water - for waste-picker homes
Safety and equipment
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.
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