‘Fair pay and environmental protection’: GIZ's e-waste project in Ghana's Agboloshie
German development agency GIZ project manager Markus Spitzbart speaks about the project on environmentally sound disposal and recycling of e-waste in Ghana, writes the GIZ.
Mr Spitzbart, what is special about your work?
For GIZ, it’s a pilot project. For the first time, we are helping a waste disposal site reform from the inside out. The topic of recycling and the conservation of natural resources is becoming increasingly important across the globe. We will be able to apply the insights gained in Agbogbloshie at other waste disposal sites and informal recycling centres too. As some of the appliances that end up in Ghana were imported from western countries at some point, the project also has a direct link to Europe.
How did GIZ manage to gain the workers’ trust?
We have talked a great deal to the people there over the past year and a half, trying to find out what they would most like and what they most need. Two things people repeatedly mentioned were that a health centre should be set up and the football pitch repaired, both of which we have done. Moreover, we managed to explain to them in a dialogue that we don’t want to stop the core activities at the waste disposal site, but instead optimise them with regards to the environment and health – so that the jobs won’t be lost, but they will become safer.
How are good jobs going to be created in Agbogbloshie?
By running training courses, we can improve the workers’ qualifications, hence enhancing their working conditions and increasing the amount they can earn. To achieve this, we are also investing in optimised cooperation between the formal and the informal recycling sector in Ghana. In addition, we are promoting exchange between the political level and the workers at the waste disposal site. This is gradually putting Agbogbloshie on the path towards jobs with fair pay that help promote environmental protection.