Saamuhika Shakti, the initiative in Solidarity with Waste Pickers aims to improve the quality of life of informal waste pickers and their families in Bengaluru. Our vision is to enable the waste pickers’ community to have greater agency to lead secure and dignified lives. The combined estimated population of informal waste pickers in Bengaluru is over 22,500, and despite being a critical part of the city’s solid waste management ecosystem, the waste pickers and their families suffer a lot of hardships and challenges.
This is a first of its kind project in India where different partner organisations are joining forces to take a holistic approach to improve the living conditions of informal waste pickers. It also has a strong focus on equity, addressing the basic needs of marginalized groups such as women and girls in waste picker households. This project is supported by the H&M Foundation and follows the ‘Collective Impact’ methodology.
Street waste collectors, itinerant buyers, and sorters in scrap shops and dry waste collection centres (collectively referred to as informal waste pickers) are a vital part of the waste management system in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) region. However, waste pickers and their families (including children) struggle to lead healthy and productive lives, despite their economic and environmental contribution to the region, and despite several commendable efforts by key actors to improve their lives.
They earn low and unstable income, operate in hazardous working conditions, and face discrimination due to a negative societal perception of the profession.
They lack reliable access to quality housing, education, healthcare, and WASH services, precipitated by socio-cultural norms.
Women and girls in waste picker families are particularly vulnerable as they are disproportionately impacted by these challenges.
Saamuhika Shakti interventions are designed to reach the target population of waste pickers as well as their family members and their community.