To improve the health of the planet, more than 100 women have joined hands together to create awareness on plastic cleanup at Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) as part of the International Women’s Day 2022 campaign that is ‘Diversity for Sustainability’.
The one-day campaign was designed to raise community level awareness on plastic collection and women’s empowerment by various activities, such as plastic cleanup drive in the city, awareness sessions, household visit, plastic collection site visit and paying tribute to the women waste workers by the diverse groups of women. The campaign has been organised by Unilever Bangladesh in collaboration with NCC, UNDP Bangladesh, Eco Social Development Organisation (ESDO) with the support of Glow & Lovely Career on March 02, 2022.
More than 100 women started the day with an early morning city cleanup, and the group represented Unilever’s female managers, UNDP’s female and male staff, community leaders and female water workers of NCC. The women were divided into 10 groups and spread throughout the main part of the city. This cleanup was a symbolic representation of women's contribution to tackling plastic pollution at NCC.
After an hour of cleanup drive, the diverse groups of women gathered at the Ali Ahmed Chunka Auditorium for a discussion and paying tribute to the waste workers for NCC, where Dr Selina Hayat Ivy, Mayor of NCC has graced the programme as the chief guest along with Shamima Akhter, Head of Corporate Affairs, Partnerships and Communications of UBL, Sakshi Handa, Human Resource Director of UBL and Yugesh Pradhanang, Project Manager, Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities Project (LIUPCP) of UNDP Bangladesh.
The session started with the speech of women community leaders and female councilors, who expressed their deep sense of gratitude toward the mayor, Unilever and UNDP for taking such a remarkable campaign and joining hands to make NCC free from plastic pollution and make it cleaner and greener. The panelists of the session also echoed and recognised the contribution of waste workers in driving the collection of plastic and identified it as a critical step for the city's environment.
Dr Selina Hayat Ivy, Mayor of NCC said, “All of us are powerful women and, we need to be courageous enough, confident and visionary to reach our full potential and face any challenge. I appreciate that hundred powerful women come forward with such an encouraging initiative of plastic cleanup at NCC. The plastic collection project of Unilever and UNDP is a unique one, and I believe it will give us a sustainable plastic collection model for NCC, which will not only set the example but also inspire other city authorities to adopt the same model for a better plastic waste management system.”
Shamima Akhter, Head of Corporate Affairs, Partnerships and Communications of Unilever said, “To improve the health of the planet, one of our commitments is, by 2025, we will collect more plastic than we sell. To reach the goal of plastic collection, Unilever has taken this unique collection project with a specific focus on flexible plastic, which is a significant problem for NCC and other cities.
We want to build a dynamic value chain and circularity at NCC to tackle the plastic challenges. We have identified IWD to utilize the power of women in creating awareness on plastic collection as we believe in the power of diversity for making the world a better place.”
“At Unilever, we believe brands with purpose grow, and most of our brands are working towards social issues under our compass commitment. Glow and Lovely is one of our popular brands promoting our campaign on plastic awareness, and through brands power, this message can encourage our women in the country to address the challenge on plastic pollution,” Shamima added.
Sakshi Handa, Human Resource Director of Unilever said, “We are proud to share that we have 41 per cent of female managers in our organisation which is the highest across all sectors in the country. At Unilever, we believe that a diversified workforce can do the unimaginable, the unthinkable, and the impossible.
We believe in driving the diversity of thought, backgrounds, gender, abilities, age, ethnicity and socio-cultural background. Unilever is the powerhouse of women, and now it is our time to give back to the community and share our learning to address critical issues like plastic sustainability. Unilever wants to give a big thank you to the mayor for giving us these excellent opportunities, guidance and supports.”
Yugesh Pradhanang, Project Manager, LIUPCP of UNDP Bangladesh, said, “Unilever and UNDP Bangladesh are working on a long-term strategy that will not only reduce, reuse, and recycle plastic but also improve livelihood sustainability, increase resilience, and health safety of waste pickers. We want to create a successful model for the plastic waste management system at NCC, which will set an example for others.”
Unilever and UNDP have honored the mayor of NCC with a crest for her commitment and leadership in managing plastic waste at Narayanganj. At the end of the discussion sessions five female water workers were honored for their contribution to make the city clean and green. Mayor Ivy handed over a product hamper of Unilever to all the waste workers.
The female managers of Unilever also visited the plastic collection facility, which has been built under the plastic collection project: 'Building Circular Cities: Starting from Plastic Waste Management Project' in collaboration with NCC, UNDP and Unilever. The ESDO is implementing partner of the project on the ground. Unilever's female managers showed their gratitude towards the project staff who are implementing a critical initiative and making it an example for the country.
All the passionate and empowered women of Unilever have also visited a number of households with educational leaflets on plastic segregation and the cleaning process so that waste workers can collect more clean plastic from the door-to-door, which is aligned with Unilever’s commitment to the plastic collection. The campaign was also attended by major leaders of media.