For some, 1992 marked the beginning of new possibilities in Nepal. That year, 16 housewives in the Kathmandu valley saw something that no one in the community had seen before: the wealth hidden behind solid waste. WEPCO – Women’s Committee for the Preservation of the Environment- was born.
Since then, WEPCO has been working in the management of solid waste, as well as pioneering new initiatives: community composting; paper collection and recycling, and bio-gas production from organic waste. In addition, WEPCO also manages an innovative recycling and solid waste management centres that generates employment among members of the community.
The President of WEPCO, Bishnu Thakali, explains “women are leading the efforts to assist the community and the government through the municipalities in establishing new centres of recycling and composting. This will socially benefit the community by creating green jobs”.
The organization was awarded the SEED Award in 2011, by the UN Environment Programme, which for the first time and in collaboration with UN Women dedicated a category to gender equality and the empowerment of women last year.
Bishnu Thakali will come to collect the award from UN Women at the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20, held in Rio de Janeiro from 20 to 22 June.
According to Bishnu, the organization’s future plan is to replicate the project in other parts of the country and collaborate with the municipalities in raising awareness on the importance of solid waste management, for the environment and the economy.