Mongolia: Turning Garbage to Gold in Urban Outskirts

Innovation Areas: SENSING, CROWDSOURCING, DESIGN THINKING
Stage: Early stage

Setting up their system for recyclable waste collection in low-income local communities, producing recycled goods and marketing products

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The problem addressed

The issues addressed through the project are twofold. First and foremost it helped generate income to migrant unemployed community in urban slum area through value addition to plastic and other recyclable waste. Secondly, the project helped address environmental degradation due to weakness in solid waste management in capital and other cities by promoting waste recycling and reuse. 

The intervention

The intervention helped vulnerable and low income communities to set up their “first-hand” system for recyclable waste collection in their neighborhoods, produce recycled household goods and market them. Selected items were designed by local NGO and training opportunities were provided to the identified community groups on making products and testing them. Crowdsourcing method was applied made to generate new ideas and designs of recycled products. Marketplaces, exhibitions, press conference, TV footages, social media were used as means to advocate and market the products and seek partnership opportunities with local companies. 

The partners

The implementing partner was local NGO “Technoj” experienced in business incubation. This partner was working on the project on day to day basis. Other organizations and companies were involved in different parts of the project: World Vision-identifying of vulnerable groups, APU company and TUK company-testing the products, local media-PR information dissemination. The project was supported by the capital city municipality and Ministry of environment and green development as well.

Results/outcomes

We designed and tested over 20 different products which are easy for mass production and marketable. Not only the beneficiaries learned how to make products, they got into contractual arrangements on selected products that are going to be sold through the largest supermarket chain. A number of national food producers became raw material suppliers and expressed their interest to expand the collaboration with UNDP on follow-up interventions. Several groups managed to set up their small businesses through the project support and accessed Government loans for SME. 

Lessons identified

Obtain support from national Government (Mayor, city municipality, line ministries, etc.) to ensure policy support and ensure sustainability and up-scaling. 

Cooperate with local NGOs. It is crucial for work with target group (identifying of vulnerable groups, forming them into groups, working with them on a day-to-day basis, etc.)

Involve youth, students and unemployed as volunteers. Active and creative groups can be crucial for the project success. The potential is really enormous.

Contact person

Ms. Bunchingiv Bazartseren, bunchingiv.bazartseren@undp.org 

Related materials

Timeline: Turning Garbage into gold in the urban outskirts


External: Mongolia's Poorest Turn Garbage into Gold

Budget

$30,000 USD



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