Waste recycling opportunities expand Wonedmagegn’s income and dreams for the future

Individual Case Story | MLE System

Wonedmagegn is 34 years old. He is a member of the Shashetu Rabiya MSE cooperative and their friend’s waste recycling share company. The company, which was established in 2020, collects and sells wastepaper for recycling. Prior to joining Shashetu Rabiya, Wonedmagegn’s livelihood depended on daily labour, from which he generated an average income of 100 ETB per day. He explains how he struggled to survive:

“I struggled hard to sustain my daily life; I used to work on anything that could generate a certain amount of money to cover my costs. I live in a rented house that is constructed of plastic and highly exposed to rain and sun damage. Paying my rent and getting bread to feed myself was very challenging.”

As a result of his involvement in recyclable waste collection and the improved business performance of the company, Wonedmagegn’s living conditions have improved. He no longer struggles to survive and can now see a positive future for himself and plans to help others.

“From my 100 ETB daily income, I am now getting a net income of more than 15,000 ETB per month. Fulfilling my basic needs is no longer an issue to worry about. I regularly save money to secure a more stable life in the future. After a few years, I will have my own recycling company and will create economic opportunities for many unemployed people. As you see me loading cartons on the top of the truck, I will be at the top of the recycling business sector soon.”

Shashetu Rabiya MSE cooperative and their friend’s waste recycling share company was established with the facilitation of LIWAY and the Addis Ababa Cleaning Management Agency (AACMA) as part of an intervention to help address the input supply problem of paper recycling firms in Addis Ababa. The aim of the intervention is to improve the availability, quality, and affordability of domestically produced inputs and strengthen linkages between domestic input suppliers and medium and large enterprises (MLEs) involved in recycling.

As part of the intervention, micro and small enterprises (MSEs) were established in sub-cities across Addis Ababa. The MSEs were trained on sorting, handling, and transporting wastepaper by AACMA and were provided with additional resources and support (e.g., protective gear, storage containers) by LIWAY and AACMA.