Plastic waste collection in Uganda is an activity associated with the desperate need to survive in an informal sector. Collection is often done rudimentary without any prior skills on health and safety. It has always been associated with community individuals assumed to have no clear trace of identity but struggling to survive.
This therefore explains the lack of clear trail of documentation among plastic waste collectors since the activity is only done for lack of better choice of means to earn a living. However, Centre for Peace and Conflict Mitigation(CEPCOM-Uganda) together with partners is working on means to elevate the plastic waste bottle collection trade to a more organized and progressive job.
CEPCOM Uganda through its operation theme; My Environment My Identity, works with a cross section of community clusters in Makindye Ssabagabo municipality to transform the face of plastic waste bottle collection trade to a more professional and desirable source of livelihoods.
In a successfully implemented CEPCOM initiative under partnership with Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), five community clusters of twenty members each were trained on Mind-set change, financial literacy as well as health and safety.
The community clusters benefited from the training which transformed plastic waste bottle collection from merely being a filthy job for the desperate to a more dynamic and promising sustainable source of livelihood. Muzanganda (Not real names) a member of Twezimbe community cluster, proudly says, “Plastic waste collection is my office, my salary”
At least each of the five clusters trained adopted threshold documentation in their operation where a ledger is filled up with the daily collections, the cost incurred, the sales and other overheads that keep cropping up. Community cluster members have now been able to form roles and responsibilities with assignments done according to interest and potential while sharing strength, challenges, opportunities and best practices.
The initiative has been coined out as a “new blessing” within the community clusters. The new mindset on plastic waste collection among communities within Makindye Ssabagabo municipality has transformed the originally filthy job for the desperate to be a highly competitive source of income with many new job entrants. Mugerwa (not real names) confesses, “Had I known of this plastic waste collection business before, my son wouldn’t have dropped out of school. Thanks to CEPCOM, Uganda and its partners”.