People, profit, and plastics: capacitating vulnerable groups to earn from 3Rs

Eleven people’s organizations (POs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and cooperatives from the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Calapan, Davao, Legazpi, Manila, and Ormoc engaged in a two-part training on Basic Enterprise Management in March 17-31, 2022.

The POs and CBOs were from the partner cities of Healthy Oceans and Clean Cities Initiative (HOCCI), a project implemented by UN-Habitat and funded by the Government of Japan. HOCCI aims to strengthen institutional capacity in reducing marine plastic litter through the localization of the recently launched Philippines National Plan of Action on Marine Litter (NPOA-ML).

As HOCCI partner cities pioneer the development of their City Plans of Action on Marine Litter (CPOA-MLs) which localizes the NPOA-ML, cooperation with the POs and CBOs are likewise supported on the implementation of community-level pilot projects on plastic 3Rs included in the local action plans.

A total of more than 120 organization members and representatives from the LGUs were engaged in the training.

One of the two training batches composed of POs, CBOs, and coops from Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Legazpi, and Ormoc

Vulnerable groups at the heart of marine litter reduction

HOCCI and its partner cities recognize the important role that the informal waste sector, waste collectors, women’s groups, and fisherfolk plays in waste diversion and effective municipal solid waste management. Thus, city governments ensured that in addressing the marine litter problem, these self-help groups and their members are not left behind. On the contrary, these groups were further empowered to maximize their impact on waste reduction while promoting entrepreneurship and supporting them in livelihood initiatives.

Out of the 11 groups, nine were newly organized and duly registered with the support of their LGUs and HOCCI while two community partners were already existing and are being supported for further strengthening and expansion. As organizations with legal entities, they would have opportunities to be represented, transact business and leverage further support in the areas of funding and capacity building.

Representing the waste pickers, collectors, and recyclers are Calapan City Association of Paleros, Inc. (CCAPI); Legazpi City Recyclers Association (LCRA); Tagumpay 83Zero Waste Association (TEZWA) of Manila; and MasGreen Eco-waste Pickers Association (MEPA) and Solid Waste Workers of Brgy. Ipil (SWABI) of Ormoc. Other sectoral groups are represented such as women through the Women Waste Warriors (3Ws) of Manila who have already initiated plastic 3Rs livelihood activities; fishermen through the Naungan Fisherfolks Association (NAFIAS) of Ormoc; environmentalists through Alagad sa Kinaiyanan (ASK) Cooperative of Davao and MRF Cooperative of Cagayan De Oro City; and micro entrepreneurs through Dapdap Ecopreneurs Association and Penarada Eco-Negosyo Association of Legazpi.

They were supported with on community organization, mission-vision setting, and strategic planning.

3Ws recycles PET bottles into urban gardening pots as part of their livelihood initiative

Support to implement social enterprise projects

As newly-formed organizations, most of them do not have the experience nor basic knowledge on entrepreneurship. To address this gap, HOCCI developed the Basic Enterprise Management Training to increase their knowledge and skills in managing their funds as they venture into social enterprise projects based on plastic 3Rs. The training is composed of three modules which cover 1) Pricing and Budgeting Training, 2) Financial Management and Internal Control Training, and 3) Social Enterprise Business Plan Preparation.

The training workshop covering the first two modules was delivered through lectures and hands-on exercises where participants were able to use actual formulas and tools that they would apply to their regular operations. These aim to better equip POs and CBOs in making their enterprises profitable and more credible for possible partnership and funding opportunities in the future.

One of the hands-on activities during the training

In particular, as part of the pilot cities’ CPOA-MLs, three groups – 3Ws, TEZWA, and ASK, will receive direct funding support from HOCCI to run their social enterprises through a Community Agreement; the rest of the groups will receive funding support from HOCCI through an agreement with UN-Habitat with their respective LGUs.

“It was very challenging, especially for us who are not accountants, but we learned so much. Before, we used to just keep our records in our treasurer’s notebook. Now we learned how to use the books of accounts and the importance of transparency and proper record keeping.”

Filomena Cinco, 3Ws

“It is our first time to hear most of the topics and terms. We are glad and thankful that we have initiated learning these things early so we can apply them as we build our junkshop business.”

Catherine Gabriel, TEZWA

“The training is good as it started with a workshop. Our knowledge and skills have increased by 0.5 to 1.5 points because of the hands on workshop.”

Raffy Bernejo, ASK

The 11 organizations are currently completing their accreditation requirements and are setting up their books of accounts for their organizations . They will be participating the last training module of the Enterprise Management Training, which is scheduled in the second quarter of 2022. This training-workshop is entitled “ Social Enterprise Business Plan Preparation.” With the guidance of HOCCI, they will finalize their business plans as well as their financial management manuals that will serve as their bases in operating their proposed social enterprise projects on plastic 3Rs.

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