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iThemba Phakama

iThemba Phakama

iThemba Phakama is a voluntary association of informal waste pickers providing tricycles and safety gear to its members. The tricycles are used as an alternative to stolen shopping trolleys that many in the informal waste picking sector use illegally. 

Through no-cost lease agreements, iThemba Phakama provides informal waste pickers with safety gear and robust, locally manufactured tricycles for transporting waste. The enterprise is financed through advertising on the side of the tricycles. The members of iThemba Phakama make a monthly contribution until they have saved enough to fund their own tricycle.

This model allows new members to enter once existing members have their own tricycles. It also enables waste-pickers to become individual micro-entrepreneurs, who salvage recycling waste and sell it to buy-back centres. 

  • Quadruple the current number of tricycles to at least 40 in the coming two years and roll out the concept into additional disadvantaged areas.
  • Increase micro-entrepreneurs’ monthly income by 140% - from USD 77 to approximately USD 185 per month - through improved efficiencies and volume.
  • Ensure formal recognition of informal waste pickers who belong to the enterprise, which is recognised as a club by the local municipality.
  • In the long run, establish a buy-back centre and a multi-purpose recycling facility that will allow for comprehensive waste collection and value-added recycling of the collected waste. 


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