Samoa’s recyclers incorporate inclusive approaches and best practices in daily operations

June 10, 2024

Trainers and participants of the Circular Economy of Waste (CERO) Transition Project

Photo: UNDP Samoa

Apia, SAMOA – Strengthening organizational structures, cultures and capacities to systematically mainstream principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and access in the workplace, was the focus of a recent workshop for Samoa’s waste recyclers.

The workshop was held on May 22nd-24th by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under the Circular Economy for the Recovery of Waste (CERO) Transition Project, funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) via the British High Commission in Samoa.  

It addressed barriers faced by women and youth in the waste management sector in Samoa.

One of them is the unequal representation of men and women in the sector, but there is now a growing recognition of the important role women play. By promoting gender equality in waste management, women are empowered to take on leadership roles, access training and education, and contribute their unique perspectives to decision-making processes.

“UNDP, in solidarity with its partners in the private and civil society sector, emphasize the critical need to address intersectional barriers, biases and stigma in the waste management sector as the country transitions to a circular economy. Failure to do so undermines the full potential of harnessing socio-economic opportunities and benefits associated with such a model. It also contributes to perpetuating the exclusion of marginalized voices and experiences to inform sustainable practices for circular resource management,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Verena Linneweber.

Participants who completed the training on incorporating inclusive approaches & best practices in waste management 2

Photo: UNDP Samoa

More than 30 workers from the private sector and civil society took part. They said an inclusive approach in the design and implementation of waste management strategies is urgently needed to counter instances of misrepresentation, inequity, and inequality faced by key players in the waste management sector. This can lead to more innovative and effective approaches to recycling, waste reduction and circularity.

Feedback from this engagement will be integrated into the review of the national waste management strategy for Samoa.

“Stigma and bias are prominent in Samoa for women-led waste recycling organisations; a reality we often deal with, and which acts as a setback within the industry,” said Marina Keil, President of the Samoa Recycling and Waste Management Association (SRWMA).

She added that the waste management industry in Samoa is struggling to entice people to view the management of waste as a duty of care for our environment, and for a healthy Samoa. “Our main drive now is to mainstream the operationalization of our organisations to champion inclusion, diversity, equity and access approaches in our work, to promote effective social corporate responsibilities and to shift to a mindset that waste is wealth and should not be looked down on.”

Patricia Netzler, Programme Manager for the Samoa and Tokelau Association of Recyclers (STAR), said her organisation is becoming more conscious of how they can transition to IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and access) concepts to harness corporate social responsibilities, gender equality, disability and social inclusion aspects of the work they do with their partners, stakeholders and membership to strengthen their daily operations and regulations.

One of the key outcomes of the engagement is the support UNDP will be offering to SWRMA, STAR and the wider private sector in the area of waste management in Samoa. This will strengthen organisational credibility through best practices that champion corporate social responsibility, and a gender-equal approach to workplaces that promotes the rights of both men and women to health and safety, and appropriate working conditions.

In addition, the Women of Waste (WOW) global network will be offering peer to peer learning for waste recyclers in Samoa, to support the realisation of women’s rights in their roles in the waste management sector. It is hoped that Communities of Practices (CoPs) are promoted to continue the momentum and amplify local waste management initiatives to impact global waste management movements.

Waste recyclers in Samoa have a unique opportunity to drive the transition from a linear economy to a circular one with strengthened capacities, socio-economic inclusiveness and a gendered lens, with strategic partners in place to share best practices. By championing this approach, it will create a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.


For more information about the project, please contact: 
Ms. Marina Orruela Monteoliva, Innovative Programming and Partnerships Analyst
UNDP Multi Country Office, Samoa | Tel. +685 23670 (ext. 66) | E:

For media queries, please contact: 
Ms. Laufālē’ainā Lesā, Communications Analyst, UNDP Multi Country Office, Samoa | Tel. +685 23670 | E: |

Participants who completed the training on incorporating inclusive approaches & best practices in waste management

Photo: UNDP Samoa