Our response to COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown,
the waste pickers are prevented from work and daily income, having massive consequences for a vulnerable group

Better and Cleaner Future Tanzania (BCFT) from Arusha, Tanzania, E2F from Abidjan in Ivory Coast and Antophila from Kano Nigeria and other local organisations working with the waste pickers throughout Africa, Asia & South America need help to establish a credit system for the reclaimers/waste pickers.

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the waste pickers are prevented from work and daily income, having massive consequences for a vulnerable group. To address this issue, Empower is building a cleanup credit system giving verified local organisations the needed funding tool to provide urgent financial support to waste pickers during lockdowns, and at the same time connect this to future cleanup activity. Normally, Empower issue cleanup certificates after a collection has been conducted, documented and verified.

The certificate is then exchanged for cash, partly or fully funding the cleanup depending on commercial terms. When introducing Cleanup Credits they would be issued to a verified organisation, like BCFT as a credit facility, before they have done the cleanup.The key is that Empower guarantees to buy the issued cleanup certificates once the cleanups have been done, given a completed verification process. With a defined amount of credits, the local organisation will be able to secure local funding, following from banks based on the cleanup credits/guarantee from the Empower fund, and then repay that once the matching amount has been collected post quarantine and lock-down.

This way we provide immediate life-saving aid, but in a way that also keeps building waste management systems, cleaner environment, formalise the informal sector, and in the long-term also achieve better local health, improved infrastructure, reduced risk of spread of disease etc.

Our Proposal is that Empower together with waste collection organisations and corporate funding partners develop and set up this system quickly. If we successfully raise enough support & donations, this system can easily be expanded to any place where there are credible (bankable) collection partners like BCFT . This would allow us to keep including more countries in Africa (Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia), Asia (India, Indonesia, Laos) and South America (Brazil) where we are seeing similar issues and urgent need for life saving cleanup aid. Are you in?

frequently asked questions about the Covid-19 Waste Picker Aid Campaign

About Empower

Empower is dedicated to creating a solution to the plastic waste problem by giving plastic a value. The Founders modeled the global plastic waste ecosystem of Empower after the Norwegian bottle deposit system and the concept of a circular economy. The organization incentivizes the collection of plastic waste through corporate partnerships that reward the return of plastic deposited to collection points around the world. Empower employs 5,000+ people in 15 countries and has been featured in Forbes, Independent, Money Week, and more.


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