Organized Women of Salitre Community Clean-Up Program
Project Launch: 1/31/17
The community of Salitre is primarily inhabited by the indigenous Bribri people. The town lacks access to any municipal waste management services. Consequently, litter and recyclables accumulate throughout the settlement without being recovered. This project is composed of two phases: Firstly, the project proposes that the community collectively conduct litter clean-up twice a month in the area. Directing refuse to locations away from town will reduce exposure to infectious agents and toxins. Women and children are partners will also be engaged in developing the conversation around environmental stewardship in homes and schools in Salitre, particularly as the larger region seeks to cultivate a green image.
Project Update: 8/30/17
The community has carried out 7 formal communal cleanings (and at least 2-3 informal ones). There have also been 6 trash collections conducted by the municipality. Participants have conducted 3 environmental talks for the high school, elementary school, and the community at large and have hosted a sale of food and drinks to raise money for the project.
7 recycling stations have been constructed and about 12 signs have been posted in the community, more than expected. Over the past 5 months, the group has recovered 1200 kilograms of recyclables. In May, the group secured funds from an assistance program provided by the Costa Rican government in the area of communal construction.
“I've grown a lot as a person throughout this project, and have acquired more experience in project coordination. So far I've really enjoyed taking part in the process with the women in the group, and getting to know them more. It feels good doing something for my town, even if some people don't see the importance as much as we do. As far as challenges go, we still need more experience in project coordination, and we need to do a better job separating the responsibilities within the group. Also, there had been some interpersonal conflict within the construction of the trash and recycling stations (as a part of the government assistance program) and some sexist comments were made against the group. Although it is difficult to handle such affairs, at the same time it's good to overcome such challenges as women, as a part of an organization. In Salitre, and in indigenous territories it is difficult for women and this project has given us the opportunity to show that we are just as capable as men in coordinating and carrying out projects. ”
– Raquel, Project Leader
“Before, if we had told community members to deposit trash correctly, they wouldn't have paid attention. Now, after months of doing the project, we're starting to see the change in people in Salitre. After the talks, workshops and several months of the initiative people are starting to change their habits. It's especially important for the new generation, we need to start with the kids if we're going to make a change and to get people to starting recycling and depositing trash correctly. ”
– Wendy, Project Participant
“I've liked everything up until this point, it's important to teach our kids how to correctly deposit trash...this road here has so much trash littered everyone. There's trash down the road, leading up to the creek which means it often ends up falling into the creek. If it weren't for us, no one would be doing this work and the truck from the municipality wouldn't be coming at all. ”
– Lidieth, Project Participant
“What I see that’s nice about the project is about hauling trash is not leaving the community so dirty. Little by little, I think we’re building the consciousness in the community that it’s an important topic. Everyone always wants to burn burn burn the trash, it’s always the easier method to dispose of trash. We have to keep fighting so that people don’t burn trash, that they store it and later deposit it for the municipality to haul off. Sometimes they’re going to burn their trash, sometimes they’ll see the importance of the initiative and collaborate. We have to keep fighting and not get tired. More than anything I hope we can get the community to not throw trash outside, we have to keep collecting and building the habit. ”
– Ana Cristina, Project Participant
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