Waste for Life has two ongoing projects in Sri Lanka and Argentina. We have many collaborators in both countries, but the ultimate beneficiaries of our work are the cooperative members and family groups who we have worked alongside since 2007.
Project : Sri Lanka
WFL Sri Lanka began to take shape within the PhD fieldwork of Randika Jayasinghe, who is now our in-country Project Coordinator. For 3 years, she investigated and assessed the feasibility of adapting our Argentinian work model to her own country’s contexts. The total waste landscapes are, of course, entirely different from one another – in both the general civic consciousness about waste and its valuation (writ large), and in the makeup of the groups that are closest to waste sources. But when the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) put out a 2014 call for proposals for their Global Partnerships for Development scheme (GPFD), we applied and won 1 of 13 grants.
Project : Argentina
Our work in Argentina began as a set of hypothetical question to ourselves: would it be possible to share our specialised knowledge about waste plastics and fibres with people who depend upon waste to survive? And, if so, could this knowledge be transformative? Would it open up pathways toward more economic autonomy and security, reinforce the tenets of cooperativism, influence the relationship of garbage scavengers to the society from which they scavenged, alter the pejorative connotations that swirled around waste? These were heady questions, and this short video gives you a flavour of our early days looking for their answers: https://vimeo.com/7105196