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Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

The Initiative Of The Nicaraguan Women Proved To Be More Than Waste Management Efforts, It Changed People’s Outlook


Following a non-traditional method the poor women of Nicaragua Island, changed the entire communities approach to waste management.

Dailycsr.com – 01 October 2015 – Poor women inhabitants of Ometepe, which is a “beautiful tropical island” situated in the middle of “Lake Nicaragua”, came together to form a group which dedicated themselves into “recycling garbage”. However, the initiative did not bring a economic satisfaction as it was hoped. Nevertheless, their work “inspired the entire community to keep this biosphere reserve clean”.
The group began to work in the year of 2007 when people used to “scavenged for waste in Managua’s garbage dumps fighting over the contents of bags full of plastic bottles, glass and metal”. Garbage had turned into a subject of war. Gutiérrez, who herself lived in extreme poverty observed this and began to sell “waste material” to a local person who used to purchase “waste material from local hotels” which he would wash and sell outside for recycling.
Soon, the thirty year old Gutiérrez, began to cover long distances on foot, carrying “a bag over her shoulder” wherein she picked up waste that could be recycled. Following her example, other poor “unemployed” women of her neighbourhood began to lend her their helping hands, whereby they began collecting garbage that used to be “tossed out” by the tourists on the roadside. Gutiérrez states:
“It wasn’t a lot of money, but it was enough to put food on our tables. And since we didn’t have jobs, it didn’t matter to us how much time it took, although the work was really exhausting at first”.
What had started as a new endeavour with Gutiérrez, has now become a common sight as many women at present carry “enormous bags” wherein they fill up trash. Seeing the effort made by these women collecting trash along the roads, the “Fundación entre Volcanes”, a “non-governmental organisation”, “decided to support” them, whereby Miriam Potoy of the said organisation informs:
“We initially helped them with safety and hygiene equipment, then with training on waste handling and treatment and the diversified use of garbage, so they could sell it as well as learn how to make crafts using the materials collected, to sell them to tourists and earn an extra income”.
That was just the beginning. The women began to impress other organisations as well with their work and the former also began to support them. Consequently, they were offered “a place to collect, classify and sort the waste” by the city government of Altagracia; while the tourism businesses passed their garbage that they used to sell to these women and various food and catering serve companies donated “equipment” and offered “assistance”.
In fact, after a period of time, the new group of women who collected garbage began to receive fund that was raised by the city government which got them “nearly two dollars a day for a time” along providing them “with free transportation”. Potoy said:
“The community appreciates the women’s work not only because they help keep the island clean, which has clearly improved its image for tourists, but also because they have showed a strong desire to improve their own lives and their families’ incomes”.
The women’s efforts proved to be:
“...a non-traditional activity, which broke down the stereotype of the role women have traditionally played in these remote rural communities”.
While, Francis Socorro Hernández, who were among the first batch of women who collected garbage for recycling said:
“I realised I was doing something important, and that it was worse to live in a polluted environment, resigned to my poverty – and I stopped feeling ashamed.”