We are happy to announce that our two organisations, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship BV and Saahas Zero Waste have come together with a deep driving desire to address the corrosive inequality within our society.
Our starting point is a social inclusion programme for the informal sector working with waste. This includes the communities of recyclers, waste aggregators, scrap dealers and waste pickers. Collectively this community has traditionally and even today, manages more than 90% of the country’s waste.
Social inclusion will be addressed through a two year intensive incubation programme for micro-entrepreneurs working with waste. The objective of this incubation programme is to demonstrate an approach where micro-entrepreneurs who work within the informal sector now have access to financial as well as managerial support so that they can have a fully formal and healthy business.
The investment of 1.1 million Euros from IKEA Social Entrepreneurship will be used to set up 3 plastic recovery facilities for 3 micro-entrepreneurs in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Each of the entrepreneurs will have now have access to appropriate technology in the form of machinery and data management for tracking and tracing the waste. They will also be shadowed and closely supported in their daily business operations by Saahas Zero Waste, an India partner of IKEA Social Entrepreneurship.
The programme looks to demonstrate and deliver on a framework that will result in mainstreaming the informal sector. Access to minimum wages, social security and safe working conditions will remain the core of this framework
This will be executed through a ground level impact team that will not just develop a business plan for our micro entrepreneurs but also hand-hold them through the day to day challenges.
Along with government we need industry and civil society to step up and clean up the channels through which waste flows. This pilot project looks to deliver a road map for micro- entrepreneurs to cross over and deliver holistic and formal waste management solutions.