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Women recyclers' work and health in the context of COVID-19 in Ecuador

The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to control it have threatened livelihoods, introduced new workplace risks and made unstable work relationships even more precarious, especially for women. This project will assess the health conditions, policy factors, productive and reproductive work affecting women waste pickers in the context of COVID-19 in three cities of Ecuador: Cuenca, Portoviejo and Lago Agrio. The project team, in partnership with local organizations and decision-makers, will co-design and implement intersectoral interventions and gender-transformative strategies based on an inclusive, eco-friendly approach that addresses women waste pickers’ health and work conditions.

Expected results include an in-depth understanding of labour (productive and reproductive work) and health conditions of a sample of 300 women waste pickers in the context of COVID-19; changes in women waste pickers’ labour practices (such as improved urban routes and transportation); and interventions that improve their occupational health conditions. There will also be a focus on strengthening the organizational practices and governance of the national network of waste recyclers; enhancing the capacities of the multi-institutional project team on equity, diversity and inclusion best practices; and involving strategic stakeholders and key decision-makers in the formulation of public policies to improve the living conditions of women waste pickers.

This project is funded under Women’s health and economic empowerment for a COVID-19 Recovery that is Inclusive, Sustainable and Equitable (Women RISE), an initiative of IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Its aim is to support global, action-oriented, gender-transformative research by teams of researchers from low- and middle-income countries and Canada.

Project ID
Project Status
24 months
IDRC Officer
Roberto Bazzani
Total Funding
CA$ 997,658.00
Global Health
Global Health
Women RISE
Institution Country
Universidad de Cuenca
Institution Country
McMaster University