Who Knows It Feels It: A Waste Pickers’ Perspective for a Just Transition

Project Details


In November 2023 waste pickers from Kenya delivered a powerful and unique message to policymakers at the United Nations Global Plastics Treaty to End Plastic Pollution negotiations in Nairobi.

In an extraordinary theatre performance, waste pickers took their challenges to the heart of negotiations, offering a dramatic insight into the difficulties they face and advocating for recognition, integration and inclusion in the global treaty process and associated outcomes.
The legislative theatre piece was devised and performed by 12 Kenyan waste pickers working alongside theatre facilitators from the UK and Kenya. It raised awareness of the hurdles they encounter daily, emphasising how policy shifts could help to ensure a just transition for waste pickers within the treaty. This distinct form of theatre encouraged the audience to interact with the actors, and provided treaty negotiators with an unprecedented opportunity to engage directly with those on the frontline of the plastics pollution crisis.

The theatre piece was co-developed during a five-day workshop held in the informal settlement Dandora, Nairobi. The team was composed of Dr Erika Hughes and Dr Cressida Bowyer, Theatre for Development specialist Matthew Hahn, and the Social Justice Centre Travelling Theatre, and waste pickers from the Kenyan National Waste Pickers Welfare Association.
Effective start/end date2/10/2315/12/23

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions