International Alliance of Waste Pickers

Candidates list

Page in preparation.

RegionGenderPresidentVice PresidentTreasurer
Barbra Weber (GSA, USA)North AmericaFemalexxx
Friday Gabriel Oku (ASWOL, Nigeria)AfricaMalexxx
Harouna Niasse (Bokk Diom, Senegal)AfricaMalex
Leonor Marisa Melina Larraburu (FACCyR, Argentina)Latin AmericaFemalexxx
Maditlhare Koena (SAWPA, South Africa)AfricaFemalex
Maria Soledad Mella Vidal (ANARCH, Chile)Latin AmericaFemalex
Marie Louise Kipulu Muanza (ARCK, Democratic Rep. Congo)AfricaFemalex
Nana Martine (UAP, Burkina Faso)AfricaFemalex
Severino Francisco de Lima Junior (Unicatadores, Brazil)Latin AmericaMalex
Sergio Alejandro Sánchez (FACCyR, Argentina)Latin AmericaMalexxx
Sushila Sable (PBVS, India)Asia-PacificFemalex
Barbra Weber

Barbra Weber (GSA, USA)

Organization: Ground Score Association (GSA)
Position in the organization: Co founder-Co Executive Director

Proposed position: President, Vice President, Treasurer
Seconders organization from the region: Alliance of Independent Recyclers (AIR-NYC)
Alternate seconder organization: Les Valoristes, solidarity cooperative


Barbra (Barbie) Weber is the Co-founder and Co-Executive Director for Ground Score Association a Waste Picker organization in Portland, Oregon USA. Barbra organizes with various local, national and international organizations. Barbra is a second generation waste picker, a villager in a self governed informal settlement and she is a committed advocate on issues regarding hygiene access, environmental justice, worker rights, systemic poverty and systemic racism. Barbra believes in inclusive community collaboration, she is a gifted public speaker, experienced organizer, and is well respected in her community. Her artistic endeavors include playing guitar in public and painting pottery for charity.


I dream of a world without plastic or other harmful pollution, I dream of a world where human life is valued above profits, I dream of a world without poverty, I dream of a world without racism or stereotypes, where all communities and individuals contribute to wellbeing. A solution is a true “Just Transition” for Waste Pickers, their communities, and families. I desire with all my heart to be a leader that listens, is willing to learn, contributes humbly and is transparent and honest. I believe in not leaving anyone behind, inclusive policies to ensure all have a voice.

Friday Oku

Friday Gabriel Oku (ASWOL, Nigeria)

Organization: Association of Scraps and Waste Pickers (ASWOL)
Position in the organization: President

Proposed position: President, Vice-Presiden, Treasurer
Seconders organization from the region: Association Malienne des Trieuses de Dechets sur les depots D’Ordures (AMTDDO)
Alternate seconder organization:


DATE OF BIRTH:15-04-1968
EDUCATION: Diploma (Theology)
OCCUPATION: Wastepicker
MARITAL: Married with 3 children
FOUNDER: Association of Scraps and Wastepickers of Lagos Nigeria (ASWOL).
MEMBER: Constitution drafting committee, Acting working committee and Plastics treaty committee.
MOTIVATION & GOALS: To serve not to rule and to increase the participation of women and youth in our organization.
MY VALUES: Integrity, dexterity, proficiency, dignity and gender equality.


To serve, not to rule. And, to increase the participation of women and youth in our organization.
Values: Integrity, dexterity, proficiency, dignity and gender equality.

Harouna Niasse

Harouna Niasse (Bokk Diom, Senegal)

Organization: Bokk Diom
Position in the organization: President

Proposed position: Treasurer
Seconders organization from the region:
Alternate seconder organization:


Community development agent.


My apprenticeship at the IAWP is what motivated me to apply for this position.

Leonor Marisa Melina Larraburu (FACCyR, Argentina)

Organization: Federación de Cooperativas de Reciclado Limitada. Federación Argentina de Cartoneros, Carreros y Recicladores (FACCyR)
Position in the organization: Secretary, FACCyR. President of the Cooperative of Work 18th April, member of FACCyR.

Proposed position: President, Vice President, Treasurer
Seconders organization from the region: Unión de Clasificadores de Residuos Urbanos Sólidos (UCRUS-PIT CNT)
Alternate seconder organization: Association des Marchés d’Economies Locales et Individuelles Organisés de la Récupération (Amelior)


My roots define me and I want to take advantage of this candidacy to tell things that perhaps not everyone knows. Since I can remember, I worked alongside my father. He raised my five siblings and I, taking us to rural school in a horse cart while we sold kerosene and gathered things to sell. Seeing that daily sacrifice to be able to eat and never go hungry made me who I am and never stop working. At the age of nine, he already knew how to prepare the horse and cart to go to school. When we returned, together with my brothers, we carried rags and bones. We were discriminated against for helping our father.
When I turned fifteen, in 1996, I had the first of my eleven children. During those years, before the cardboard boom in Argentina, they taught me to travel by train the 30km that separate me from Capital Federal to get better recyclable material. I tried to work on other things but the system kicked me out. I was a domestic worker in a Country, closed neighborhoods of the upper classes, and I suffered abuse, abuse, psychological, verbal and physical abuse. I decided to never work for someone who makes me feel this way again. Yes, in the streets we suffer: violence, discrimination, cold and hunger. But in resistance and in our companions we find strength.
We began to be more and more. Hundreds, thousands of new recyclers traveling on trains to the big city after the economic crisis of 2001. Until private companies wanted to prohibit us from entering common trains. We fight a lot to sustain our work, our sources of income. Our first achievement was the special train services to transport our material. Already in those years, more than twenty years ago, I participated in the working groups with companies, the Ministry of Labor, and the police, carrying the voice of all our fellow recyclers. In 2008 we organized a very important camp in a luxury neighborhood of the City of Buenos Aires so that the train would not be suspended and we were brutally repressed by the police. But despite the blows, we managed to open a dialogue table with the City Government to achieve our recognition and we met the Cooperativa Amanecer de los Cartoneros and Sergio Sánchez.
Then everything changed, for the better. Since those days I was formally elected as a delegate by my base colleagues. The Cooperative began to grow and so did our conquests. We were gaining more and more recognition. Salaries, trucks, uniforms, social work, contributions to our future retirements, recycling centers that we dreamed of, as well as our two MRFs. The residents of the big city stopped discriminating against us to recognize our environmental work. Amanecer de los Cartoneros already had more than 4,000 members and our working conditions were even better than other jobs in a dependency relationship.
But I was missing something, I was missing a lot. If in Argentina we are 100,000 cartoneros (waste pickers)…. What was happening with the rest? In each achievement of our Cooperative I felt that we could achieve more things. We decided to replicate our Recyclables Management model in other territories where conditions remained the same as when we began. We founded the Cooperativa 18 de Abril in 2014 (of which I am president), where more than 500 recyclers work, and we also achieved negotiations for recognition with the local government. I participated as Secretary of the Union of Workers of the Popular Economy, our union. I traveled through different provinces of the country supporting organizational processes of recyclers, visiting Cooperatives, encouraging assemblies in garbage dumps.
In 2022, when my colleague Jackie Flores takes over as Secretary of Urban Solid Waste and Circular Economy in the Ministry of the Environment of the Province of Buenos Aires, Sergio calls me to participate with him in the International Relations Team. At this stage they already know me. Without leaving my basic work in cooperatives, I also participate in the AIR and as International Secretary of the Lacre Network. I know that my voice is that of my colleagues, and that my strength is that of a woman who faced the violence of the world.


I am convinced that the voice of the AIR must be that of a grassroots waste picker, someone who lives the work day by day, who still walks the streets working alongside his brothers and sisters, who still continues to fight for those who least have. Because this system hits the poorest. Those of us who are organized and have tools and resources are comfortable. But those who are alone are the ones who suffer the most.
For this reason, from Argentina we always fight for all the recyclers who are still missing, to reach the least expected places and be able to build organization. We need to build collectively and leave selfishness aside. We leave our heart, soul and body in this fight against exclusion. Until the last recycler in the world has access to his rights as a worker and as a human being, we will not stop working, whether we are elected leaders or not.
We need leaders who really get to know the needs of our bases. May they know the need for our brothers and sisters to have a plate of food on the table every day. May they not lose the axis of humility, nor forget their roots.
My application is that of my organization. You already know the thousands of cartoneros that make up the FACCYR, our achievements in public policies and the impact on improving the lives of our colleagues. We want to share our learnings and fight side by side for our recognition. Being in international tasks requires having our feet on the ground and continuing to work alongside our bases, since, if we only dedicate ourselves to traveling, we lose contact with the reality of those whom we must represent. The division between bases and leaders strengthens the enemy. They want us disunited, they want us taking photos with our oppressors. We are going for a construction of all recyclers and for all recyclers.

Madi Koena

Maditlhare Koena (SAWPA, South Africa)

Organization: South Africa Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA)
Position in the organization: National Coordinating Committee Member

Proposed position: Treasurer
Seconders organization from the region: Kenya National Waste Pickers Welfare Association (KeNaWPWA)
Alternate seconder organization: Asociación Movimiento Nacional Recicladores de Chile (ANARCH), Movimiento Nacional de Recicladores de la República Dominicana (MNRD), and União Nacional de Catadores e Catadoras de Materiais Recicláveis (Unicatadores)


She is the NCC for SAWPA
She is the one overseeing all activities of organization that are runned accordingly.
She has also been our communication officer for more than 2 years now.
She a Good communicator.
Play a vital role in EPR; INC-1 to INC-4.
Able to deliver under pressure above all.
Respect and understand the aims and vision of SAWPA


Koena is a strong and toughest woman I have ever worked with.
Contestant like a northern star.
Easy and humble personality.

Soledad Mella

Maria Soledad Mella Vidal (ANARCH, Chile)

Organization: Asociación Movimiento Nacional Recicladores de Chile (ANARCH)
Position in the organization: President

Proposed position: Treasurer
Seconders organization from the region: União Nacional de Catadores e Catadoras de Materiais Recicláveis (Unicatadores) and Unión de Trabajadores de Desechos Sólidos Industrializables “Lázaro Cárdenas del Río” del Estado de Guanajuato A.C.
Alternate seconder organization:


Soledad Mella became involved in the world of recycling out of economic necessity more than 20 years ago. Born in the Lo Hermida Town, in Santiago de Chile, she is the daughter of peasant parents and the youngest of seven siblings, and has three children and three grandchildren. “The economic situation in my country in the nineties was not very good. What my husband earned was not enough for us,” she recalls.
“I decided to go out to find a way to contribute to the household expenses. I started by collecting some waste such as glass from bottles; metals, especially copper, bronze and aluminum; and the cellulose found in books, magazines and cardboard. Taking those materials to the fair, where I worked as a colera (that’s what informal workers are called in Chile),” she noted. Today, her entire family is dedicated to recycling.
Throughout her career, Mella has participated in different social organizations to fight against inequality and injustice. Today she is 53 years old and a leader of the National Association of Recyclers Chile (ANARCH), in addition to being part of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Recyclers (Red LACRE) and the International Alliance of Recyclers.
Soledad Mella, as leader of the Red LACRE, participates on behalf of Chile in the communications secretariat, developing functions together with Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. In 2022, Soledad integrated the project to strengthen national movements of waste pickers, supporting Costa Rica and Panama. In 2023 Soledad Mella was appointed by Red-Lacre as the official spokesperson of Latin America and the Caribbean for the plastics treaty, developing an active participation in the negotiation processes of INC 1, INC 2 and INC 3. IN 2024 Soledad was elected representative at the Latin American level in the methane reduction project by the foundation Global Methane Hub.


Introduction: I appear before you with the firm conviction that I am prepared to assume the important position within the International Alliance of Waste Pickers. I fully trust in my leadership capacity, which has been developed through my experience in Chile, where together with my board of directors we transformed a movement of local recyclers into a national Association, promoting the formation of 32 work cooperatives.
Experience and achievements: My participation as a member of the Red-Lacre secretaries has allowed me to lead strengthening processes in Caribbean countries. At the same time, as a member of the Global Alliance, I have had the opportunity to participate in negotiations at the UNEA in favor of the rights of recyclers.
Motivation and objectives: My application is based on the deep conviction of seeking the strengthening and organization of recyclers on each continent. I aspire to work alongside my colleagues to achieve true recognition of the profession by states and civil society. I will advocate for fee-for-service and true inclusion in EPR processes through a just transition. At all times, my goal will be to defend the interests of recyclers, representing and defending their trade with passion and commitment.
As part of the international directive, I commit to:
Establish advances in areas of technological, logistical and infrastructure improvements for recyclers, especially in those countries that are in a more backward stage of development.
Promote cooperation and exchange of experiences between different waste picker organizations at an international level.
Strengthen the political advocacy of the Alliance at a global level, advocating for public policies that recognize and support the work of recyclers.
Guarantee the active and democratic participation of all members of the Alliance in decision-making.

Conclusion: I am sure that, with my experience, commitment and leadership, I can contribute significantly to strengthening the International Alliance of Waste Pickers. I appreciate your time and consideration, and I look forward to having the opportunity to serve this important organization.

Marie Louise Kipulu Muanza

Marie Louise Kipulu Muanza (ARCK, Democratic Republic of Congo)

Organization: Association des Récupérateurs du Congo-Kinshasa (ARCK)
Position in the organization: Co-founder and Communications Manager

Proposed position: Treasurer
Seconders organization from the region: Enterprise Generale D’Ingenering de Guinee (EGIG BTP)
Alternate seconder organization: Bokk Diom


Degree in Organizational Communication.


In the interests of relaunching the Alliance within the treasury department, my wish is to work in close collaboration with my superiors for the success of the Alliance.

Nana Martine

Nana Martine (UAP, Burkina Faso)

Organization: Association pour la Propreté de Ouagadougou (UAP)
Position in the organization: General Secretary

Proposed position: Vice President
Seconders organization from the region: Association Malienne des Trieuses de Dechets sur les depots D’Ordures (AMTDDO)
Alternate seconder organization: Association des Récupérateurs du Congo-Kinshasa (ARCK) and Enterprise Generale D’Ingenering de Guinee (EGIG BTP)


Waste picker since 1998.


To serve the large mass of waste pickers.

Sergio Alejandro Sánchez

Sergio Alejandro Sánchez (FACCyR, Argentina)

Organization: Federación de Cooperativas de Reciclado Limitada. Federación Argentina de Cartoneros, Carreros y Recicladores (FACCyR)
Position in the organization: President

Proposed position: President, Vice President, Treasurer
Seconders organization from the region: Unión de Clasificadores de Residuos Urbanos Sólidos (UCRUS-PIT CNT)
Alternate seconder organization: Association des Marchés d’Economies Locales et Individuelles Organisés de la Récupération (Amelior)


I was almost 40 years old, I was a father and I supported my sons and daughters by working hours as an operator in a factory. In 2001, with the economic crisis, they fired me and I was left unemployed, desperate. A friend invited me to collect cardboard in the City of Buenos Aires because its price had risen a lot and it was the easiest way to earn an income to support my family. I became one of thousands, pulling a cart full of material to survive.
Working on the streets I learned about injustice and discrimination, but I also learned that the only possibility of improving our living conditions is in unity. Without realizing it, I began to become a leader. First, among those of us who worked together in the same area, and then we grew. I met a group of militants, law students, with whom we made soup pots every day to be able to eat during our long days, and who accompanied us to the police stations to fight for the waste pickers arrested for recycling. In those years, collecting recyclable material was considered theft from private companies, according to the laws of that time. In 2002 we founded the Movement of Excluded Workers and began a fighting plan to fulfill our dreams: to stop being persecuted for wanting to work, and to have our work recognized.
As unity is strength, we seek alliances: with popular assemblies, with other movements, with other cooperatives, with politicians, even with a Cardinal of the Catholic Church, today known as Pope Francis. With the support of many sectors we managed to get the Zero Waste Law passed in 2005, which recognized for the first time in the country the work of recyclers to stop being persecuted. From that moment on, the changes were many and very rapid.
In 2007 we legalized the Amanecer de los Cartoneros Cooperative to be able to advance in the management of the public recycling service of the City of Buenos Aires together with the Government. Salaries, trucks, uniforms, social work, contributions to our future retirements, the recycling center we dreamed of, as well as our two MRFs. To date, more than 4,700 people are members of this Cooperative of which I was president for 2 consecutive terms.
But I knew the pain of not knowing if tomorrow there will be a plate of food for my family. And until the last excluded person has access to his rights such as food, health, work and a home, I cannot rest assured. That’s why we continue.
In 2011, together with other colleagues, I founded the Argentine Federation of Cartoneros, Carreros and Recyclers. Today, we are more than 150 Cooperatives throughout the country that add up to almost 20,000 cartoneros and cartoneras. That same year, we also founded the CTEP (today, UTEP), our Popular Economy union that defends and represents the excluded: cartoneros, peasants, artisans, street vendors, fairgrounds, seamstresses, workers from recovered companies, construction workers , socio-community workers. I founded community houses for women and men to recover from drug consumption, we fought against slave labor in clandestine textile workshops, and even, in 2018, I was arrested one night for defending street vendors who came from Africa, from Senegal, because my motto is: If they touch one of us, they touch us all!
I believe in my heart that leading is teaching, accompanying the growth of my colleagues. For this reason, I support and accompany my fellow recyclers so that we, the cartoneros, the excluded, can proudly bring our voice to spaces that were previously denied to us. I feel part of and proud that colleagues like Jacky Flores and Mari Castillo occupy important positions in the executive branch of the Argentine State, that Naty Zaracho is the first national cartonera representative in history, and that Paola Caviedes is a recycling spokesperson at the ILO , and that Leo Larraburu is a Latin American leader in the Red Lacre.
Also, I believe that the international struggle is very important to transform our lives. For this reason, since 2014 I have coordinated, participated and promoted the World Meeting of Popular Movements together with Pope Francis and hundreds of colleagues from the grassroots organizations of our world. Meetings have been held in the Vatican, in Bolivia and also virtually, spreading our voice to every corner of our land.
Since 2010 I have participated with my colleagues in the International Relations Team of the Lacre Network. We believe that many things have not worked well in this space, but we achieved important changes, such as the opening of the Secretariats to new countries and new regional leaders who wanted to learn and grow internationally. For this reason, since the last assembly in 2022, I have been part of the International Secretariat of the Lacre Network, assuming different responsibilities while my grassroots work continues.
And since we did not want to repeat the mistakes of our region, I made a very strong bet on our beloved International Alliance of Recyclers. From FACCYR, in 2018 we were organizers of the Global Exchange of Recyclers in Buenos Aires, where we developed an important final document that was the basis of our Alliance and the commitment of this organization to have a clear positioning against the privatization advances in the Laws. REP. Later, we assumed an active role in the drafting of our Constitution, (we wrote its Preamble!) because we believe that democracy is a value and a human right. Whatever the result of this Congress, we believe that it is already a historic achievement that the recyclers of the world have a union whose statutes regulate internal norms and that the leaders alternate, but fundamentally it matters to me that they are based on the value of the fight for the rights of recycling workers.


I have many motivations to run as a candidate for the International Alliance of Recyclers, although I don’t show it constantly. Many know me, others less, but I think everyone knows that my motivation in life is to fight for the rights of those who have the least, and that is the imprint that a cartoneros union should have. Every day of my life I work for it. I believe that I can make an important contribution so that the founding mandate of the AIR is characterized by giving visibility to the most excluded.
I also want to be a candidate because my bases support me. In each national plenary session, in each assembly, when we transmit the international struggle, our colleagues are filled with pride and encourage me to continue this battle.
I always bet on the replacement of leaders, on teaching our history and our experience. I believe in humility as a leader and in the duty to train more and more recyclers on this path.
From FACCYR, we can make an important contribution to the union character of the AIR. We already have a unique experience in unionism, having founded the Union of Workers of the Popular Economy. Only with solid unionism can we confront our powerful enemies: private companies that want to profit from our source of work, governments that ignore our claims, the IMF that advances against our people.
Also, we know in depth the negotiation processes with national and local governments. The results are visible and materialize in each life story of the unionized recyclers in Argentina. At the same time, we have the necessary experience for good resource management, FACCYR is an organization that has grown with little, and we also had a lot. Now that we are losing everything with this anti-rights government, that is when our militancy is stronger. I want to guarantee a transparent, sensible economic administration of AIR resources under the guidelines that any expenditure is reflected in structural changes in the living conditions of recyclers. On my part you will find austerity and commitment, and never waste on unnecessary expenses.
As part of this presentation, please consider the nine Resolutions presented by FACCYR before this Congress. I think it reflects our ability to think and do for the world’s recyclers. United for our rights!

Severino Francisco de Lima Junior

Severino Francisco de Lima Junior (Unicatadores, Brazil)

Organization: União Nacional de Catadores e Catadoras de Materiais Recicláveis (Unicatadores)
Position in the organization: International Relations Secretary

Proposed position: President
Seconders organization from the region: Asociación Movimiento Nacional Recicladores de Chile (ANARCH), Asociación Nacional de Recuperadores y Recicladores de El Salvador (ANSONARES), Federación Nacional de Recicladores del Perú (FENAREP), Movimiento Nacional de Personas Recicladores de Base de Costa Rica (MNPRBCR), Movimiento Nacional de Recicladores de Honduras (MNRH), Movimiento Nacional de Recicladores de la República Dominicana (MNRD), Movimiento Nacional de Recicladores de Panamá (MNRP), and Unión de Trabajadores de Desechos Sólidos Industrializables “Lázaro Cárdenas del Río” del Estado de Guanajuato A.C.
Alternate seconder organization: Associazione Rete Nazionale Operatori dell’Usato (Rete ONU), Bokk Diom, and Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangha (PBVS)


Severino Lima Junior, a grassroots waste picker from the COOCAMAR Cooperative located in Natal-RN has been involved in waste picking since he was a teenager, starting out in the city’s old rubbish dump, founding the ASCAMAR and COOCAMAR organizations that began the work of door-to-door selective collection in the municipality of Natal. together with leaders from various states in Brazil, the MNCR National Movement of Waste Pickers with a major meeting in Brasilia in 2001. Brasília in 2001, thus holding the first national meeting of waste pickers. collectors of recyclable materials, which gave rise in 2016 to the organization UNICATADORES National Union of Waste Pickers of Brazil currently affiliated with the IAWP INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF WASTE PICKERS, carries out various activities of national and international relevance. activities of national and international relevance, together with leaders from Chile and Colombia build the RED LACRE Latin American and Caribbean Network of Waste Pickers. with the participation of the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Mexico.
He is a delegate member of the IAWP, nominated by the Brazilian delegation to participate in the UNEA conferences on the International Plastics Treaty, and has been very active in the INC meetings.
Severino has participated in the plastics treaty negotiations known as INCs (Intergovernmental Negotiations Committee). As a delegate and IAWP representative at INC-3 and INC-4, he received a registration badge from the Brazilian government, giving him a voice among the Brazilian negotiators. He also worked with the government to organize an event in collaboration with the International Alliance of Waste Pickers. of Waste Pickers at the INC-4 negotiations in Nairobi. Receiving a badge from the Brazilian government as part of the official delegation to attend the INCs and then organizing an event in collaboration with the Brazilian government, is a testament to the fact that he is a strong leader with good negotiating skills.
Participating on behalf of UNICATADORES Brazil in the latest ILO International Assembly held at the UN headquarters in Geneva, where together with sister networks STREET NET, FITH and HOMENET he has been seeking an alliance to build the INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF WORKERS AND WORKERS OF THE SOLIDARY CIRCULAR ECONOMY within the precepts of the Just Transition. Just Transition.
It is currently coordinating the participation of waste pickers in the COP 30 climate conference to be held in Brazil in 2025 in the city of Belém, which is part of the Brazilian AMAZONIA Brasileira with the aim of promoting greater participation by waste pickers in this important international event.


I am motivated to run for President of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers based on the support and endorsement I have received from my fellow waste pickers in Latin America and beyond. I believe I have the skills to lead IAWP into its new phase as an autonomous waste picker organization, led by waste pickers themselves, facilitating the exchange of knowledge, learning, technologies and strategies between waste picker organizations around the world, while advocating for the right of waste pickers to determine their own futures.
Strengthen international alliances between continents to ultimately promote an intercontinental exchange of waste pickers’ knowledge and technology in ORGANIZATION, WORK and TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION, promoting a process of building opportunities that seek to guarantee access to work for recyclables and the right to the right to decide their own future, to seek opportunities with international international organizations and national governments so that recognition of the work of waste pickers is the work of waste pickers is emphasized and their leading role is recognized, remunerated and guaranteed within the framework of public policies and the precepts of universal rights. build an international alliance with the other workers of the sister networks STREETNET, HOMENET and FITH an international alliance so that together we can fight and build mechanisms to increase the participation of our leaders in international organizations and make public policies that guarantee the participation of our workers within the principles of solidarity and workers within the principles of solidarity and a just transition. Create governance mechanisms where the decision-making process is more participatory. Planning meetings, spaces for discussion and construction on the basis of the themes proposed by our Affiliates, highlighting themes such as HUMAN RIGHTS, GENERATION, ENVIRONMENT/IMPACT, etc. ENVIRONMENT/ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT, TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION, TRAINING and COMMUNICATION so that we can achieve the goals and overcome the challenges that will be necessary for a better better management of the IAWP. Seek international and local alliances that really improve the well-being and health of our fellow waste pickers.
My experience is in the management of organizations, as evidenced by my work with the MNCR, UNICATADORES in Brazil and REDLACRE in Latin America and the Caribbean. I also have outstanding skills in negotiation and collective bargaining, as evidenced by our successful advocacy efforts in Brazil, resulting in favorable policies for waste pickers. Proficient in networking and fundraising, I recognize the crucial need for resources, especially as our organization undergoes establishment. I look forward to collaborating with our allies, including unions like Streetnet, Homenet, FITH and others.
Under my leadership, I promise to maintain maximum transparency in decision-making, financial matters and all tasks undertaken. Throughout the membership process, I have maintained a respectful and inclusive approach towards all member member organizations, recognizing diversity in our organizing strategies, a position that I promise to maintain during my term by strengthening the degree of participation from all continents. continents.
As we seek to make history, our first victory can soon be realized with the inclusion of waste pickers in the text of the plastics treaty, marking the first reference to waste pickers in any international environmental law. I am dedicated to advancing this cause alongside waste pickers around the world. In addition, I am committed to advocating for the inclusion of waste pickers’ interests in discussions on extended producer responsibility (EPR) fees globally, building on our successful efforts in Brazil’s reverse logistics model.
I assure you of my commitment to advancing the waste pickers’ agenda and advocate for a just transition in forums such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and discussions on climate change.

Sushila Sable

Sushila Sable (PBVS, India)

Organization: Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangha (PBVS)
Position in the organization: President

Proposed position: Vice President
Seconders organization from the region: All India Kachra Shramik Mahasangh (AIKSM), Bangladesh Waste Pickers Union (BWPU), Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), Mintal Resource Collectors’s Association (MiRCA), Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangha (PBVS), Parisar Sakhi Vikas Sanstha (PSVS), Perkumpulan Pemulung Indonsia Mandiri (PPIM), Safai Sena Welfare Foundation, Safai Yodda, Samyukta Safai Jagaran (SASAJA), Sarvodaya Sramik Mahila Cooperative Society (SSMCS), The Waste Pickers Mutually Aided Co-operative Thrift and Credit Society Limited, Guntur (WPMACG), The Waste Pickers Mutually Aided Co-operative Thrift and Credit Society Limited, Vijayawada (WPMACV), and Thyajya Shramikha Sangha (TSS)
Alternate seconder organization: Asociación Movimiento Nacional Recicladores de Chile (ANARCH) and União Nacional de Catadores e Catadoras de Materiais Recicláveis (Unicatadores)


Sushila Sable was born in Shirner village in Jalna district, Maharashtra, India. Her childhood was marked by the harsh realities of poverty exacerbated by the 1972 drought. Forced to migrate to Mumbai with her family in search of a better life, Sushila found herself thrust into the challenging world of waste picking at a young age. Despite the adversity she faced, Sushila never lost sight of her dreams.
While searching for recyclable materials on the streets of Ghatkopar, Mumbai, she
yearned for an education, often watching enviously as other children went to school. Her journey to literacy began at the age of 30 when she read her first letters. Today, at 58, she proudly fulfills her long-held desire to learn English, showcasing her unwavering commitment to self-improvement. Married off at a young age, Sushila courageously left her abusive husband to pursue a better life for herself and her son.
Returning to her mother, she resumed waste picking and eventually became involved with the Stree Mukti Sangathana (SMS), a pivotal moment that transformed her life. Inspired by a play performed by SMS activists, Sushila helped establish self-help groups (SHGs) and later Federation of SHGs for waste pickers, overcoming barriers of illiteracy and financial exclusion to open bank accounts for her community. Her leadership and determination didn’t stop there. By 1999, she had formed her own SHG with ten members and rose to become the president of the Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangha (PBVS) with more than 2500 members in Mumbai and 500 in Thane, advocating tirelessly for the rights and dignity of waste pickers.
Under her guidance, PBVS became a formidable force, representing thousands of waste pickers across Mumbai and Thane in Maharashtra, India. Sushila continues to be associated with the Stree Mukti Sanghatana (Women’s Liberation Organization) established in 1975.
Sushila’s impact extended beyond her immediate community. Through her involvement with SMS and PBVS, she became a prominent voice on national and global platforms, advocating for waste pickers’ rights and environmental sustainability. Her participation in international forums, including the United Nations Climate Change Conference, highlights her commitment to effecting change on a global scale. At present, Sushila serves as the Program Committee member of the Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers, an informal coalition of waste pickers organizations in India, with an outreach to 100,000 waste pickers. She also serves as the voting representative of Indian organizations in the Acting Working Committee of the International Alliance of Waste Pickers (IAWP), and a member of the Plastics Treaty Working Group within IAWP.
Despite the challenges she faces, Sushila remains undeterred in her fight for recognition and respect for waste pickers. Through her advocacy, she continues to push for their integration into solid waste management systems and the implementation of policies that safeguard their well-being and livelihoods.


From my humble beginnings as a waste picker to my current role as a leader in waste picker organizations and movements on national and international stages, I’ve strived to be an institution builder. It all started with forming small Self-Help Groups, and today, I am one of the vocal voices of waste pickers in both the Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers and the International Alliance of Waste Pickers.
Throughout my journey of institution building, I established the Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sangh, and my work in cooperative building inspired the creation of the Parisar Sakhi Vikas Sanstha and Parisar Bhagini Vikas Sewa Sangha cooperatives of waste pickers in Mumbai and Thane.
Taking on leadership roles within the Alliance of Indian Waste Pickers and representing Indian waste pickers in the International Alliance, I’ve brought a local approach of institution building to the global stage. I’ve demonstrated leadership by building consensus among various waste picker forums. Rooted in Ambedkarite politics, and the Indian feminist tradition of Savitri Bai Phule, I firmly believe that organizing is crucial for the emancipation of working castes and classes, and I am driven by this political ideology. That’s why I am applying for the position of Vice President.
I bring with me a deep understanding of policy negotiations and collective bargaining. I’ve actively engaged at the local level in Mumbai, securing contracts for our cooperative to operate seven dry waste collection centers set up by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. I’ve also advocated for waste pickers’ inclusion in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Campaign) of the Government of India and influenced Indian delegates in the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) 5.2 to take a progressive stance on the Just Transition of waste pickers.
With my dedication to advancing the rights and interests of waste pickers, I continue to monitor changes in waste management policies at local, national, and international levels. It is with this commitment in mind that I seek the support of fellow waste picker leaders for my election to the position of Vice Presidency.