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The work of Peruvian Albina Ruiz shows just what personal committment can achieve. She is in charge of the environmental organisation "Ciudad Saludable" - "Healthy City".
Many of Peru's cities are choking in garbage and it is always the very poorest who suffer. But garbage is also a valuable resource for many who hunt for recycleable items and sell plastic bottles, paper and rags to intermediaries. Ciudad Saludable works directly with the garbage collectors and helps them to organise themselves into professional recycling firms. People previously scorned by society now fufil an important role for the community and receive recognition - they are the new environmental experts. Albina Ruiz has been given an award by the Schwab foundation for her tireless efforts. More and more cities in Peru and neighbouring countries plan to follow Ciudad Saludable's lead. Report by Matthias Kopp.
Peru’s innovative waste project wins world’s largest aid research prize
A project in Peru that turns tonnes of solid waste into income-generating opportunities has won the world’s largest international contest for researchers working in aid and development.
The winner of the award for ‘The Most Innovative Development Project’ in 2007 was announced tonight in Brisbane at the Global Development Conference on Security for Development: Confronting Threats to Survival and Safety.
The Global Development Network launched the competition in 2000 with the support of the Government of Japan. It allows for the best research in developing countries to be recognised and supported so that it reaches policy-makers.
Executive Director of Ciudad Saludable, Albina Ruiz pioneered ‘The Healthy City’ project which sustainably manages solid waste in the rural cities of Peru.
Twenty years ago she became a one woman crusade to clean up the streets of El Cono Norte in Lima and deal with the 600 tonnes of waste dumped daily. She organised the local community who were mostly unemployed to start a garbage collection and recycling programme. She now oversees similar projects across forty cities that provide permanent employment for more than 230 people. ‘The Healthy City’ model is being considered by several countries in Latin America including Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, and Mexico and is in the process of being set up in Venezuela.
Albina Ruiz will use the prize money of US$30,000 to help the community of San Franciso near Pucallpa in the Peruvian Amazon basin where 300 families live in extreme poverty and survive by scavenging on nearby dump sites.
The two other finalists for the award were from India and Macedonia.
The Byrraju Foundation in India set up the ‘Sweet Water’ project and developed water purification plants that are technically and economically viable on a small scale. It now provides 750,000 people with safe water.
‘Habitat for Humanity’ set up a housing project in Macedonia, the second poorest country in Europe. Impoverished families face an acute need for more and better housing. Habitat for Humanity focuses on repairing, renovating existing substandard housing.
Key speakers at the conference today also discussed the control of pandemics and diseases. Individuals or governments make decisions about how to limit their own risk (or their country’s risk) based on economic considerations, not just health ones.
“When it comes to individuals, it is unlikely that people consider all the costs that their becoming infectious poses for other people, certainly not for people living beyond national borders. From a social viewpoint, therefore, the decision a person makes is not always the best one,” says Mark Gersovitz Professor of Economics at Johns Hopkins University.
“Response rates are governed by economic considerations. H5N1 (‘bird-flu’) enforcement measures in Indonesia called for the culling and vaccination of poultry but met with resistance owing to the government’s inability to suitably compensate farmers for their losses.”
Government subsidies are important if prevention measures are to be effective but they have to be done effectively.
“What can governments do? They can pay people to take condoms if they want, but that’s not the same as paying people to use them. Or if you subsidise farmers to cull their chickens, you may find that farmers fake the illnesses of their animals to get compensation. It’s not a perfect solution. Compensation schemes have to be combined with enforcement which creates a tight ring around the disease area,” says Mark Gersovitz
“Trade-offs are important to people. For example in Thailand they quarantined people but the government offered to walk their pets or do what was needed to help them through the quarantine. That was an effective subsidy.”
The Global Development Conference continues tomorrow. Oxford University professor Paul Collier, author of the recently published ‘The Bottom Billion: why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it’, will give a key note presentation. Mozambique’s first female Prime Minister Luisa Dias Diogo will also speak to the conference participants.
About the Global Development Network
The Global Development Network is a global association of research and policy institutes. Its annual conferences are held in a different region each year.
It was founded to support more research in developing countries, because when research is ‘home-grown’, it is more relevant and more likely to attract broad-based support. Better research means better policy and better results.
For more information go to www.gdnet.org/ninth_conference
News media interested in attending the conference, interviewing participants or requiring more background, please contact Josie Pagani, +64 29 9050207 or email@example.com
ALBINA RUIZ INVITED AS PANELIST IN 2007 CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE
Ciudad Saludable, a hybrid nonprofit organization providing waste management solutions in Peru and Latin America, announced that Albina Ruiz has been selected as a global partner in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). CGI is a non-partisan catalyst for action, founded by US ex president Bill Clinton, that brings together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to global problems. As panelist, Ms. Ruiz addressed the CGI 2007 Annual Meeting that took place September 26-28, in New York.
“We are very excited to invite Ms Ruiz to be featured in the session ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs – From Poverty Alleviation to Wealth Creation’”, said David Auerbach, a representative of CGI. Ms. Ruiz focused on job creation among poor families making a living off recycling activities in communities of Peru and Latin America.
Ciudad Saludable is a not-for-Profit organization that has implemented sustainable waste management projects in over 50 cities of Peru and several Latin American countries. Working with Peru’s governmental environmental agency, Health Ministry and various local organizations, the organization catalyzed small enterprises from various households to recycle and eliminate waste production.
“Where most people see a problem in solid waste, we see a great opportunity” said Ms. Ruiz at the end of her participation at the CGI event.
Ciudad Saludable made a commitment during the event—a three-year project “social and economic inclusion of 3,000 waste scavengers in Latin America". This project will formalize people who are making a living off waste in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and four Peruvian regions (Callao, Lima South, San Martin and Ucayali). For Ciudad Saludable’s commitment, former US president Bill Clinton presented a certificate to Albina Ruiz
After more than 15 years of promoting her concept while working as a consultant to cities, industrial firms and various international development projects, she founded Ciudad Saludable (Healthy City) in 2002. Working in partnership with municipalities, CS has organized over 1500 waste scavengers, reaching poor urban and rural communities with a total population of 4 million people.
The three micro-enterprises continue serving the 66 shantytowns. However, now all three micro-enterprises secured a signed contract with the municipality of Pucallpa for the services they provide.
In all three recycling centers (one for each micro-enterprise), all 45 rural recyclers received training in areas such as: environmental pollution and safety, occupational safety practices, and principles of micro-enterprise management. The training sessions took place in a period of three full days.
Training Plan for schools
CS develops the second module “ Environmental Management of Solid Waste at the School Level” and third module “Tools for an environmental education program in the classroom ”
Recycling of solid waste at the school level:
The program of recycling at the classroom level was started with the active participation of 11 schools. During the inauguration ceremony, members of this program took a pledge in public.
1832 students were trained through seven workshops about environmental pollution and the creation. Most attendants were student leaders from primary and high school levels. Moreover, all students received training through the presentation of 7 plays with the subject: "Let's take care of the environment".
Sale of recyclable material at the school level starts.
At the community level, 70 community leaders from 29 shantytowns were trained. They also received training material for mass distribution. They received a certificate of participation of the “solid waste management module” provided by the municipal government and Ciudad Saludable.
150 health workers from 5 health centers received training in “the solid waste management module”.
Click below to read about progress from earlier in 2007!
LATIN TRADE announced today the finalists for the LATIN TRADE Bravo Business Awards to honor government and business leaders for their contributions to progress in Latin America.
Albina Ruiz, project leader for the recycling project in Peru, is a finalist for the "environmentalist of the year" award.
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