The wastepicker community in Mumbai is the poorest of the poor and more so for the women who make up 85% of this community. Additionally, an estimated 3,000 tons of organic waste is produced daily, generating greenhouse gas emissions and polluting waterways. In 2011, CoLab partnered with Stree Mukti Sanghatana (SMS), a women’s liberation organization based in Mumbai that uses the Nisargruna biodigester technology, which generates biogas and high-grade fertilizer, to create jobs for women wastepickers.
In June through August 2012 a multi-disciplinary team of students from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the Sloan Business School, and D-Lab will work with SMS in Mumbai to replicate the biogas facilities in five additional cities and prepare for implementation of a learning hub that teaches women wastepickers business administration skills, as well as how to collect and sort organic waste and how to maintain a Nisargruna biodigester facility.
Anna Gross and Claire Markgraf