Women waste pickers and community organisations of Bogota building a sustainable and inclusive city

Description of the Project: Started in 2012, this initiative shows the way for a sustainable and gender-responsive city, based on formalizing the activities of 26 women waste pickers as recyclers in Suba, in the south suburbs of Bogota. On this basis, ENDA involved 9 community organisations -3520 citizens- to elaborate a holistic urban concept, including participatory territorial planning, urban gardening, cultural and artistic activities and the creation of ‘Bankomunal’ – a community savings and credit initiative for women who do not have access to formal banking. Training in environmental management, gender inequalities and masculinities, local public policies and citizen’s initiatives, allows beneficiaries to exercise their democratic rights to protect their environment and cultural heritage, contributing to the Peace Process in Colombia.

Climate Impact: Thanks to the project 30 tons of paper and 12 tons of plastic are recycled annually, saving 120,000kwh of electricity, avoiding the deforestation of 600 trees and the accumulation of 4,000 kilos of garbage in the sanitary landfill. Paper and plastic are reused in the production of handicrafts for economic empowerment. Through the strengthening of community relations, productive organic terraces have been built, established as training centers for composting, seed banks, waste management and urban agriculture for self-consumption leading to significant climate mitigation results.

Gender Impact: Women recyclers have become environmental agents and providers of a public service with equal pay compared to men. Community women are recognized in their role as leaders for the transformation of urban practices having social, cultural and climate benefits. Participation empowers women and youth, as they are elected in the Community Action Board and in inter-institutional working groups. In this way they contribute to citizen’s monitored municipal budgeting and the implementation of public policies for the improvement of their neighbourhoods.

Scalability: The project indirectly benefits 9000 citizens and will be scaled up through partnerships with women and organisations from other suburbs. The urban gardening terraces are being multiplied via trainings of women leaders with the aim of creating a market for the commercialization of the vegetables and handicrafts. Establishing citizen monitoring of public policies has led to the nomination of a female community leader in the district council. This is key to reducing violence against women and to contribute to the peace building process in Colombia.

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