Needs Assessment for Waste Pickers in Plastic Waste Recycling Economy in Nairobi At Danish Refugee Council


1. Background and Project Information

Kenya’s plastic pollution problem reflects the global concern of detrimental impacts on the environment and human health. A study by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency in 2018 showed that Kenya produces an estimated 500,000 tonnes of plastic per year of which 52% is comprised of plastic packaging (260,000 tonnes). Of these approximately 39,000 tonnes (15%) are recycled annually in the Country while the rest are discarded into the environment or repurposed. Nairobi County generates over 2,400 tons of garbage per day projected to be 3,200 tons per day by the year 2022, of which 68% is domestic. Daily collection is currently between 1,100-1,500 tonnes per day meaning only about 60% of generated waste ends up at the final disposal. Approximately 10% of the generated waste is recycled with the rest ending up in rivers and other undesignated places. Electronic and Hazardous waste, though not the mandate of the county environment sector, has of recent also found its way to Dandora dumpsite. There are three main actors involved in waste collection and transportation. These include the County’s fleet, hired contractors, and the Private Service Providers (PSPs). The CBOs and youth groups (including the waste pickers) are also involved but in a lower capacity.

One of the major challenges in Kenya’s waste and recycling sector is that the bulk of urban waste is either not collected and recycled at all or collected by waste pickers who exist on the fringes of urban societies. They are perceived as outcasts and live a life of abject poverty without any options to escape their situation. Waste pickers in Kenya do their work without basic skills and tools, must contend with unfair, non-transparent prices, and are frequently excluded from social, financial, and healthcare services.

Kenya hosts around 512,000 (registered) refugees (UNHCR), of which 84% reside in the two biggest camps, Dadaab (224,000 people) and Kakuma (206,000 people). Another 80,000 registered refugees reside in urban areas, of which a large part live in Nairobi where the Fair Recycling project has its geographic starting point. Refugees, in general, face substantial barriers to access employment opportunities. Even if those residing in urban areas like Nairobi count on comparatively higher employment rates, they are for the most part unable to earn a (fair) predictable income and also lack access to basic services.

The low income of waste pickers and the (plastic) waste challenge in refugee-hosting areas are closely connected. Both are a result of the same underlying challenge: low value-chain efficiency, limited value-addition, and limited formal organization by waste collectors and value chain stakeholders. Many waste pickers and collection companies operate in a fully informal and unpredictable market. Because there are no formal supply relationships within major parts of the value chain, waste pickers are not incentivized to collect high-quality plastics. Many Kenyan processors can only create low-quality plastic flakes used for low-cost items, resulting in low margins. Limited value addition and a lack of organization lead to low and unpredictable income for waste pickers, as social and financial security nets are non-existent.

To contribute to the recycling efforts (including refugee-communities), DRC, Mr. Green Africa (MGA) and Unilever, have formed a consortium funded by DMDP (Danida Market Development Partnership) with an objective to improve the lives of Kenyan waste pickers and refugees and reduce the country’s environmental challenges with respect to plastic waste. The project contributes directly to SDG 8 as the main aim of the project is to improve the lives, income, work environment, and social standing of Kenyan waste pickers and refugees. Not only will waste pickers increase their income, but being part of a formal value chain also enables access to training and support, (basic) healthcare, a safer work environment, and being part of a community, all contribute to more resilient communities. The project will also contribute to the growth of a new Green Economy, including Green Jobs. The project will be implemented in Nairobi and immediate surrounding refugee and host communities’ counties (based on an operational and target area mapping exercise by project partners).

2. The needs assessment

The main purpose of this assessment is to create and increase an understanding of 1) how best to improve the lives of Kenyan and refugee waste pickers and 2) how to reduce the country’s environmental challenges with respect to plastic waste and build a professional, fair, inclusive, and thriving circular (waste) economy in Kenya. The assessment results will inform the Fair Recycling program team of key issues that require attention when improving the waste pickers’ well-being in a sustained plastic recycling ecosystem.

I. Overall objectives

The broad objectives of this assignment are as follows:

  1. To conduct a comprehensive (human-centered design based) needs assessment of informal and marginalized waste pickers (including refugee communities);
  2. To review all existing formal and informal practices and incentives in the plastics recycling ecosystem related to addressing waste pickers’ needs;
  3. To recommend and showcase how best to integrate informal and marginalized waste pickers (including refugee communities) in a more formalized plastics recycling value chain, resulting in perceived quality of life, increased income, decent jobs, and safer work conditions;
  4. To assess and review MGA’s existing and planned initiatives and incentives for informal waste pickers (such as a Loyalty programme; a social/welfare programme; a household energy programme; a micro-insurance programme) and provide detailed recommendations and a clear roadmap for improvement of existing initiatives and developing new initiatives that correspond to waste pickers’ needs.

Ii. Specific Objectives

  1. To understand the waste pickers collection practices including how waste pickers recover plastic and other waste, how they clean the recovered plastics, the basic equipment used in waste collection, access, and use of PPEs, how they store recovered waste and how they transport their waste including the distance covered, costs and challenges faced;
  2. To establish the waste pickers key markets for recovered waste including time spent to access markets and costs and challenges faced;
  3. To understand which negative perceptions waste pickers face (and from whom) in their day-to-day life as they conduct their work. To assess the effects of these perceptions on their work and psycho-social well-being;
  4. To establish if and how informal waste pickers are enrolled in tailor-made upskilling education programs (including for topics not related to recycling and plastic waste and interventions) and if and how they are formally integrated into sourcing networks where they receive fair prices or income for their collected plastic waste;
  5. To establish if and how waste pickers are organized and represented (via informal or formal associations) and included in a strengthened and responsible plastic waste collection and recycling ecosystem in Kenya allowing them to better their lives and livelihoods;
  6. To establish if and how waste pickers participate in micro-insurance/savings schemes to support in case of lost income due to illness, disability, or other, including access to formal social/welfare services such as NHIF, NSSF, and possible basic healthcare/health insurance;
  7. To understand the relationships between waste pickers and authorities such as the county governments and the private sector actors in the recycling ecosystem and how such engagements meet the waste pickers’ needs.

Iii. Scope of the Needs Assessment

The assessment will be conducted in Nairobi and the immediate surrounding refugee and host communities’ counties (based on operational and target area mapping exercises by project partners).

The stakeholders for this needs assessment are primarily informal waste pickers (and refugee communities) in the target areas of this project (including informal welfare groups in project locations). Secondary stakeholders are: RAS, UNHCR, Nairobi country government, National government (Ministry of Environment & Forestry and NEMA, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour and Social Services, Department of Children Services) and County Government (County Environment Ministries), private sector (KEPSA, etc.) and civil society. The analysis should be done within the existing national legal, policy and regulatory frameworks, and the methodology should adequately address all of the different circumstances and target groups in the project location. The waste pickers and other respondents should represent men (including youth) and women of different age groups. Data should be collected in a way that allows it to be disaggregated by gender and age (<18 years, 18-35 and 35-50 & 50+). The baseline should ensure to assess both refugee and host community targets groups and include a variety of important social groups such as the poor, girls, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and other minority groups, etc.

Iv. Needs Assessment Methodology

The assessment methodology will be further developed by the consultant(s) in close collaboration with the program team (especially MGA), and should be well articulated in the response to the ToR. The methodology should demonstrate robustness in addressing the ToRs objectives. The methodology proposed by the successful consultant shall be discussed, finalized and approved by DRC with input from the program team before commencing the assessment.

It is however expected that the methodology will apply a mixed-methods approach including both qualitative approaches (FGDs, Key Informant Interviews), observation techniques and quantitative components. The proposal should clearly clarify how quantitative data will be collected and what tools will be used. Gender aspects and adaptation of the study to meet COVID-19 control regulations should be well stipulated. The consultant will aim to provide an expanded analytical framework as part of the desk review.

3. Expected deliverables

i. Inception report (describing):

a. A detailed methodology on how the information for the specific objectives will be collected and analyzed. The analytical framework should be included as part of the methodology;

b. A detailed sampling strategy for identifying and estimating the number or respondents to be interviewed with due consideration and adaptation to COVID 19 measures and data protection and confidentiality;

c. A detailed plan of action on quality control measures to be applied;

d. Detailed description of the (mobile) data collection tools including their technical characteristics;

e. Detailed work plan and indicative workload with corresponding number of days for each deliverable/or item;

f. Presentation on the methodology, sampling, tools and plan of action to Project partners (DRC, MGA, and Unilever)

ii. Draft Report for review by DRC and project partners. The draft report outline includes the following:

a. Introduction & Background

b. Methods (a) Data Collection (b) Strengths and Limitations (c) Key Participants

c. Key Findings

d. Recommendations and

e. Appendices

iii. Workshop-presentation of key findings and recommendations to DRC and project partners for validation of findings

iv. Final Report: A comprehensive Baseline report that highlights the findings by objectives and practical recommendations (incorporating feedback from the draft report)

v. Annexes including:

a. Needs assessment datasets (raw data, photos, etc.)

b. Output of statistical analysis of quantitative results

c. Content analysis or other analytical output of the qualitative data, including key themes identified and frequencies of those themes

Approval of the inception report and final report by DRC and partners will be the basis for issuing the initial and final payment.

5. Working arrangements and Reporting

The assessment is expected to be completed within a maximum period of 30 days (April/May 2022) from signing the contract with the successful bidder. The consultant shall work in close collaboration with the DMDP Project Manager, the MEAL Manager/Officer, and a representative from MGA. The team will guide, facilitate and coordinate as well as review and suggest the consultant in respect of the assignment. A weekly virtual or face-to-face meeting will be organized by the consultant in order to present the updates on the progress and discuss the key issues. Necessary correspondences to the consultant will also be provided through the DRC MEAL Manager/or Officer.

6. Expected profile of assessment consultant (s)

The desired specification and qualities of the consultant(s) are:

· The consultancy firm / individual consultant is registered under Kenyan law;

· At least 5 years of experience in conducting assessment in environments, waste management and recycling. Experience in assessments with waste pickers and plastic value chains/recycling is preferred;

· Working experience in the project locations is an added advantage;

· Advanced degree in environment studies, waste management, development, economics or related fields;

· Experience in conducting conflict-sensitive analysis and child labour research including child interview techniques;

· Proven experience in using human centered design based and participatory methods for data collection and analysis;

· Excellent spoken and written communication skills in English and Kiswahili. Knowledge of any Refugee community languages (e.g., Somali, Oromo, Kinyarwanda, French, or Congolese language of the local communities) is an asset;

· Excellent skills and ability to articulate ideas in a clear and accurate manner including the ability to prepare reports;

· Good data analysis, presentation and visualization skills;

· Certificate of service /consultancy accomplishment;

· Strong interpersonal skills, analytical skills, and ability to establish and maintain effective working relations.

7. Terms and Conditions

· Applications must be in English.

· The consultant has relevant equipment & tools to conduct the needs assessment.

· The consultant shall not assign this contract or subcontract any portion of it without DRC’s prior written consent.

· Any documentary materials that will be produced during this study belong to the Fair Recycling project, and the consultant may be allowed to keep a copy.

How to apply

Interested applicants who meet the required profile are invited to submit an expression of interest and applications will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

· A suitability statement including CV of participating consultant(s) with details of qualifications, skills, and experience.

· A technical proposal that summarizes understanding of the TOR, methodology, and tools to be used including language skills.

· Work-plan indicating the activity schedule.

· Financial proposal providing cost estimates and consultancy fees. The financial proposal should consider the responsibilities of the consultant to executing the assignment (all-inclusive) and all related budgets.

· An example of similar pieces of work completed recently and contacts of three organizations that have recently contracted you to carry out a similar assignment.

Failure to provide any of the above will automatically disqualify the consultant(s) or firm from the call for proposal.*

Application documents can be downloaded from the link below

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1O-zYDMQRdRTh1f_0zFTAqK98Ipiqwxla?usp=sharing