Young Leader Conducts Waste Management Program to Transform Nepal: Alisha’s Story

Emiko Perea
November 6, 2018

“We trained students to upcycle waste papers and trained them to turn it into beautiful reusable crafts, while we trained women to upcycle waste newspapers and waste milk plastics, turning them into beautiful baskets and key rings respectively.”

—Alisha Maharjan (GPWLA graduate)

Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, produces 523 tons of waste per day.

Due to the lack of education on separating dry waste and wet waste, and the methods of reducing, reusing, recycling, and upcycling, most households gather and burn their waste. On top of this, massive amounts of waste are produced and haphazardly accumulated in landfills. Ultimately, this contributes to the city’s status as the 7th  most polluted city in the world. Pollution in one of the most critical issues in Nepal.

Children at Future Star English School create crafts out of recycled materials

Children at Future Star English School create crafts out of recycled materials

Graduate of Global Peace Foundation’s (GPF) Global Peace Women Young Leaders Academy (GPWLA), Alisha Maharjan, resolved to take initiative in creating a cleaner environment for her country.

From December 2017 to March 2018, Alisha Maharjan led a program in Kathmandu valley, Nepal to create sustainable waste management in the country, using her training from GPWLA, a leadership program for young women and students. She conducted twelve awareness workshops on sustainable waste management and a community service project with students from her area to clean the Heritage site of Chovar.

As a United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal, waste management projects make a significant impact on a long-term healthy environment, reversing the effects of toxic pollution, and coming up with sustainable consumption methods.

Women create baskets out of recycled materials during one of Alisha's waste management workshops

Women create baskets out of recycled materials during one of Alisha’s waste management workshops

Altogether, Alisha shared her message to about 300 students in 8 different schools and two convenings with community women on solid waste management and on creating a clean environment. Through her project, she encouraged participants to use their creativity to transform waste into beautifully handmade crafts that would be later used as income-generating products.

Upcycled keychains made by waste management project participants

Upcycled keychains made by waste management project participants

Alisha’s sessions highlighted the importance of segregating recyclables and non-recyclables, the effects of pollutants, and the importance of upcycling. She provided practical examples and training on upcycling from discarded materials for entrepreneurial development. From these sessions, she sought to bring awareness to waste management from the home to reduce waste toward creating a cleaner world environment.

According to surveys conducted by Alisha before and after her workshops, participants had increased awareness on the impact of waste on the environment by over 30%. Manisha Maharjan, the waste management project Program Assistant, said, “It was wonderful to be the part of such a great innovative idea for sustainable waste management…It was very amazing to work with Alisha. She was a good team leader during the project. She is very hardworking and made many right decisions at the right moments.”

For graduates of GPWLA, young women are not just creating projects that impact the community, but also growing as leaders, honing management and teambuilding skills. Alisha had some challenges in gathering volunteers to conduct the programs and managing their availability. However, by working with others, she said she “matured and developed her communication skills and confidence.” In the future, Alisha looks forward to working together with other organizations that share the same objectives as her sustainable solid waste management project.

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