Specialized Labour Institution

Empower Workers, Promote Decent Work & Sustainable Development

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Promotion of Decent Work for the Waste Pickers in Bangladesh

OSHE with the collaboration of FNV has been implementing the project titled “Promotion of Decent Work for the Waste Pickers in Bangladesh” at Matuail, Dhaka since December 2011 to February 2015. Besides Promotion of Decent Work for the Waste Pickers in Bangladesh-Aminbazar started from March 2015 to February 2016 with the objective of waste pickers are organised and have solidarity support from national TUs and CSOs to fight for their rights and advance social dialogue; development of new policy and legal tool to address decent work elements for the waste pickers and improved awareness among waste pickers on various issues; and improved health and safety practises at worksites with social protection measures.

Noted that the project Promotion of Decent Work for the Waste Pickers in Bangladesh- Matuail closed February 2015, though OSHE was running its several interventions as OSHE’s regular work for keep continuing sensitization on OSH and organizing for general waste pickers and capacity building training for association members.

The objectives of this project is -

Objective # 1: Waste pickers are organised and have solidarity support from national TUs and CSOs to fight for their rights and advance social dialogue

Objective # 2: Development of new policy and legal tool to address decent work elements for the waste pickers and improved awareness among waste pickers on various issues

Objective # 3: Improved health and safety practises at worksites with social protection measures

        Target Groups:


1)    Rank & file level waste pickers at Matuail and Amin Bazar Sanitary Landfills areas under DSCC & DNCC

2)    Female and teenage waste pickers.

3)    Local level leaders and organisers of the National Trade Union Centres.

4)    Policy makers of government, law makers, representatives of DCC, national trade unions, civil society leaders, CBOs

5)    Children of the Waste Pickers (for non formal education programme)

Awareness raising interventions through education program:

There was 25nos. study circles conducted where 375 waste pickers attended at Matuail. Contents of the discussions includedMembership-Based Organisation (MBO), basic rights at work, HIV/AIDS and OSH-different aspects of decent work and special educational campaign on prevention of crane related accident at waste pickers sector. As a result, the workers are now more conscious about their safety and rights at workplace, reducing crane or machine related accidentand more responsive to implementation of MBO.

In Aminbazar, there were implemented different activities from March-December 2015 under the project made new drive and significant contributions and 180 waste resource workers organised by 04 nos. of Self-Help Groups (SHG).

There were implemented 24nos. study circles on OSH and HIV/AIDS with 360 waste pickers among them male - 166 and female -194. Apart these, 03nos. study circle held on MBO with 45 waste pickersamong them male - 13 and female -32. 45 waste pickers attended study circles on basic rights at work. 3nos. awareness raising action on legal rights at work held with male - 19 and female -26 waste pickers at Aminbazar.

In addition, 20 workplace level OSH trainers and activists trained-up (10 of them are female) with refresher training course for field trainers on OSH at Matuail sanitary landfill under the reporting period. They are now capable of running study circle on OSH for their members and potential members, as well as able to provide first-aid support at worksites.

Forming a cooperative association of waste pickers of Matuail:

The waste pickers of Matuail area formed a cooperative association named ‘Matuail Borjo Sampad Tokai Shramojibi Samity Ltd.’ And got registration from Department of Cooperatives under Rural Development and Cooperatives Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives in June 02, 2015. Its registration number is 00213. A group of 20 members were organized and 98 of the signed-up for membership under the newly registered cooperatives.The association has been trying to take some initiatives with the support of OSHE for the sustainability of association.

Advocacy Programme:

The national Working Group (with the representative of trade unions, civil societies, academics and labour rights based activist/NGOs) actively working on develop a common advocacy tool regarding rights and social protection of the waste pickers in the country. As a result of long time advocacy for the recognition of Dhaka city corporations, Dhaka north and south city corporations started thinking of waste pickers and this time they are very much cooperative to help OSHE for implementing interventions for waste pickers.

A policy advocacy paper on waste picker issue has been developed and using as campaign tool in ongoing lobbying towards Legal recognition of waste pickers as occupation in the relevant national policies and in labour law of the country.

An advocacy group has established in OSHE and they are continuously working with policy makers of government and city authorities with a demand of framing due policy and law in support of recognition of waste pickers as labour.

Safe drinking and sanitation at worksites:

Access to safe drinking and sanitation at worksites: facility of mobile drinking water van & sanitary latrine facilities at the landfill for waste pickers running successfully with joint intervention of the OSHE & DSCC and contributing access to pure drinking water and hygienic sanitation at worksites for prevention of water bone diseases.

School cum Day Care Programme:

Ongoing School cum Day Care Programme at Matuail by the project helping to create worksite education opportunity & child care services for 82 children of the waste pickers [Day Care section: 54 nos., Pre-school section 15, standard 1: 13 students implemented by Gram-Bangla Unnayan Committee (GUC), the local partner of the OSHE. Among them on average 51 nos. student are regular receive the education and regular facilities.

In Aminbazar, 60 children of the waste pickers got education opportunity & child care services [Day Care section: 34nos. Pre-school section and class-1: 41, Class-2: 19], implemented by the local partner organisation of the OSHE, the Karmojibi Shishu Shikhalay.

Basic leadership and organizing training programme:

20 potential self help group members of Aminbazar received basic training programmes on basic organizer training and basic leadership training for 3 days.

Health Camps:

OSHE organized 10 nos. health camps (Matuail-02, Aminbazar-08) with the aims to provide  basic health care services, awareness about occupational health & safety, hygiene and ensure health services at the door steps of the waste pickers at OSHE Training and Welfare centre (OTWC), Matuail, Jatrabari and nearby Aminbazar sanitary landfills. A number of 77 waste pickers from Matuail and 184 waste pickers from Amizbazar received this service claiming pain of backbone, chest, waist and shoulder pain, vomiting, fever and headache, loss of appetite, glaucoma and burning sensation of eyes etc.

Dr. Sadia Sabnam, General Health practitioner provided health care to the waste pickers of Matuail. As per the prescription, free medicines were distributed among the beneficiaries. Among the beneficiaries three were referred to eye specialized hospital to remove glaucoma. featureimg498, photo40

Formation of Occupational Health and Safety Committee:

Formed occupational health and safety (OHS) committee with 20 waste pickers of Aminbazar facilitated by OSHE Project Team. This committee contributed in managing local leadership to promote the culture of occupation safety among the waste pickers of Aminbazar areas.

First Aid Training:

Newly formed OHS Committee members participated in first aid training course and got knowledge on first aid toolkit, OSH, utilization of Personal Protective Equipments and other issues relevant to emergency health response.

VAW Committee:

A women committee formed on elimination of Violence against women (VAW Committee) with 15 women leaders in Matuail besides a VAW Committee also formed with 08 women leaders in Aminbazar.

Medical and Rehabilitation Support:

OSHE foundation provided medical support for critical workplace injured waste picker Md. Jewel. He faced severe injury by crane on 7 February, 2015 and he admitted at Dhaka Medical Collage and Hospital (DMCH). He was staying more than one month at DMCH for taking treatment. OSHE foundation provided all the treatment cost for him. Now he is fine.

On the other hand OSHE provided rehabilitation support to another injured waste picker Lais Miah. OSHE provided him a sewing machine and a set of related tools after a three month vocational training on this trade.

Impact of OSHE interventions for waste pickers:

  • Better awareness on occupational safety & health, organizing, leadership development and number of accidents reduced
  • Behavioral change observed, particularly utilization of PPE increased among the workers
  • The government and city corporations are getting positive towards the recognition of waste pickers as workers
  • The waste pickers of matuail area have now a registered cooperative association as a result of their increasing consciousness about organizing.

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