indigenous micro-enterprise recycling program

indigenous micro-enterprise recycling program

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The indigenous microenterprise recycling program is intended to develop a small cooperative among the waster pickers on the island while at the same time incorporating a much needed recycling program. It will raise awareness regarding solid waste minimization, separation and collection and most importantly - community empowerment by the incorporation of waste pickers into the recycling program.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Located off the northern coast of Honduras, the island of Roatán is one of the primary tourist centers in the Caribbean, with an exponential tourism growth that went from 900 tourists in 1969 to more than 800,000 in 2009. The figure is still expected to increase as a result of population expansion and economic development and with it, the growth in waste generation. Solid waste management on Roatán is in the present situation not sustainable, therefore it is a major public health and environmental concern. The amount of waste generated is high and is expected to increase due to the population expansion and economic development that the tourism industry is creating on the island. At present, 82.73% of wastes generated are disposed at the landfill and the rest, 17. 27%, are burned, buried or disposed in other ways. The landfill was constructed in 2002 by an external support agency. Unfortunately due to improper management it has turned into an open dump site where the generation of greenhouse gases and the production of lixiviates are polluting the land and bodies of water; The capacity of the landfill is decreasing and seriously affecting the environment.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The creation of a recycling cooperative will improve both the marine ecosystems and land masses significantly while at the same time making a profitable business for the waste-pickers themselves. Most importantly, it will improve their quality of life, health and safety and give them the dignity that they deserve. The collecting, sorting and recycling of reusable materials from waste provides income to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Even though they often work under conditions that are harmful to the environment and to their health, informal waste collectors help prevent many cities from being buried in waste. They are an informal private sector, which refers to people who work in unprotected areas conditions- low degree of organization, labor intensive production, low pay and lack of social security, among other characteristics. This innovative and unique program involves people who should be incorporated into the formal sector and be provided with sanitary working conditions. Through the combination of recycling management with the potential of experienced waste collectors, the reuse and recycling of solid wastes can be fundamental in the development of a sustainable economic activity and the creation of jobs. It can be seen as a way to achieve community empowerment and participation. The creation of recycling cooperatives integrated by waste pickers can be a step towards improved conditions of life and work for this group whose work is not sufficiently recognized by the society.
About You
Roatan Marine Park
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Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



Roatan Marine Park


, IB

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Roatan Marine Park

Organization Phone

594 445 4206

Organization Address

west end, Roatan, Honduras

Organization Country

, IB

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, IB

Would you like to participate in the MIF Opportunity 2010?


Do you have a patent for this idea?

What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?

1 Education, Awareness and Minimization
An effective environmental education and awareness program that is developed along the process of the recycling project is to be created. The purpose of the program is the involvement and training of the community in order to develop awareness of the economic value of wastes and the environmental damage they cause when they are not separated, collected and disposed properly
2. Separation and Storage
Regarding storage, the same author suggests that for low population densities, a drop-off system where accumulated recyclables are taken by the consumer to a central location and placed into individually marked receptacles, is generally the preferred option. The type, size and location of recycling receptacles or containers are very important factors.
3. Cooperative microenterprise
The creation of a recycling cooperative can be achieved by following a number of steps, starting with the constitution of the group of wastepickers that will form part of the cooperative. Therefore, the first step is the registration of all actors who want to be involved in the process. They should all be informed about the purposes and goals.


• Improved marine ecosystems after the recycling program is implemented over a long period of time
• The implementation of a plan that raises the awareness of waste minimization, separation and recycling is important to recover the situation of Roatán’s landfill, protect the environment and contribute to improve the quality of life of the waste pickers.
• Waste pickers are the best knowledgeable of recycling/recovering activities. They should be incorporated into the recycling program by organizing and incorporating them into a recycling cooperative.
• Success is achieved by creating good human resources. Training of the waste pickers is therefore important at the beginning and through the whole development of the program.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

1. Building awareness in the local community, especially among the dive shops, the restaurants and bars in the area. Placing environmental bins in community areas, and having the businesses follow suit.

2. • Wastepickers can be incorporated into Roatán’s recycling program by providing them with training and supporting them in the creation of a Recycling Cooperative.

3. Revenue Sharing
One of the most important aspects to be considered in the formation of a cooperative is the sharing of the profit among its members. the most positive and fair distribution is the one done based on the roles (degree of responsibility) and the total number of hours worked in the month. To make a proper division of profit, the following must be considered:

1. It is important to have a timesheet of the number of hours worked by each person per month.
2. The cooperative should have a control of fixed and variable costs.
3. The monthly report should have the total profit, which would be used to calculate the value of each hour.
4. The role and responsibilities of each category of work should be defined, as well as the percentage that each will get according to the profit.
5. All regulations must be approved by the general assembly
. Each person gets what is proportional in regards to their work and level of responsibility within the cooperative. It is also recommended to establish a monthly evaluation system among the members of the cooperative in which they are evaluated by themselves. The individual and collective evaluation process is common among organizations and reflects the 21st century’s new model for work management. This evaluation process is not implemented to fire the employee, but to provide feedback for him in order to improve his/her work performance

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The biggest issue would be convincing the businesses, tourists and locals to start using the recycling program, as it would mean changing their daily habits and ingrained lifestyle. There would be an issue involving the recycling micro enterprise cooperative other than organization and education.

How many people will your project serve annually?


What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy or introduce models and tools that benefit the tourism sector in general?


What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

In what country?

, IB

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Roatan Marine Park

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

The Municipality has agreed to provide a concession of the land for the construction of the center and will exempt the cooperative from the paying of municipal taxes. Support has been requested from international cooperation such as the Coca Cola Foundation. Finally, ZOLITUR and the local NGOs (RMP and BICA) have committed to guide and support the cooperative in the whole process.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

The most important actions are where the community in Roatan organizes around the recycling program and the local government continues to support the program.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, next to Haiti. It is in dire need of community development as well as stronger environmental conservation. Seeing land pollution everywhere right next to the beautiful coral reefs while walking next to prostitutes and destitute children made the Roatan Marine Park want to connect a recycling program with improving the poverty conditions. The types of workers that get the least attention because they are relatively unseen in the community are the waster pickers who literally work everyday in the land fills and collect the trash to make a meager amount of money. This program, once carried through, will make an impact, both socially and environmentally.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from Changemakers

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer

MIF Opportunity 2010
Has your organization been legally constituted or registered in your country or one of your target countries for at least three years?


Does the applicant organization have sufficient financial resources to guarantee the co-financing required by MIF during the execution period of the project? (This amounts to at least 50% of the project’s total budget with 25% in cash and 25% in-kind.)

Does the applicant organization have experience managing projects co-financed by international organizations? Please describe below

yes. the Roatan Marine Park managed many co-financed grants including from USAID.

Please classify the applicant organization according to the options below

Community based Organization

What problem-area does your project address?

Access to financing.

How will your project address this problem?

Through the combination of recycling management with the potential of experienced waste collectors, the reuse and recycling of solid wastes can be fundamental in the development of a sustainable economic activity and the creation of jobs. It can be seen as a way to achieve community empowerment and participation. The creation of recycling cooperatives integrated by waste pickers can be a step towards improved conditions of life and work for this group whose work is not sufficiently recognized by the society. A group of 23 wastepickers work daily at Roatáns landfill by collecting, classifying and selling PET 1 bottles and aluminum cans. Prior to the world drop in oil prices, they were making a profit of around 5 300 Lps. Revenue will be based on the amount of recyclable products sold. Based on the figures of waste generation on Roatán. The cost-benefits of the action plan were assessed resulting in a monthly profit of US$ 28 440.

Who is benefited by the initiative? (Please highlight the type and number of beneficiaries, and their role in the tourism value-chain.)

The waste pickers, the tourists, the businesses, the locals all will benefit through financial development and environmental conservation

How will the project's results assist the region’s tourism sector and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises?

the recycling cooperative will form a small micro-enterprise and bring more financial gain to that side of work.

A. Total Budget (100%)


B. MIF Contribution (up to 50% of total budget and US$. 500.000 max)


C. Cash co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)
D. In kind co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)