The waste collecting woman who is no waste (Ghana)

YRE Competition 2021
Photo reportage of 3-5 photos
11-25 years

Photographer: David Kojo Dagadu (age 19), Apeguso Senior High school, Akosombo, Ghana.

About the woman who collects the plastic waste from his teacher Margaret Ayerno´s house. 

“A woman living in a suburb of Akosombo, was collecting the used water sachets bags at my house but she wanted to stop, because according to her, people were making fun of her because she was collecting the waste. So I encouraged her, and she continued. I packed mine neatly for her when she came to my house. (Photo number 1.)

Just before the covid she bought a piece of traditional cloth from the proceeds she realized from the sales of the used water sachets. The meaning of the pattern of the traditional cloth she bought is "You think I will be a waste". Because she had no job, people think she is useless and that is why when she got the money she decided to buy that particular cloth which has such a name. (Photo number 2).

I donated an Eco-Schools T-shirt to her because of the hard work she is doing to protect the environment. (Photo number 3).

I educated the fishmonger that the plastic would kill the fish if it was not prevented from ending up in the water. The fishmonger women, who had started buying the plastics from them, now take the collected plastic waste to the recycling factories for the women that collect it. (Photo number 4).

Now she has created a good market for the used sachets so more women are collecting. (Photo number 5).

I tried organizing the students at Akosombo International School to cover their story with an article, but because of the COVID-19 situation at the school they were not allowed to leave the school's premises. Luckily David came along from Apeguso High School to take the photos. I am now planning to organize the waste pickers and form a Women Eco-Club in their locality where our Eco-Schools students can come and share their knowledge on the importance of good waste management with them when COVID-19 is over. The story reflects many of the SDG´s such as 1, 4.7, 12,14 and 15.”

Margaret Ayernor

Eco-Schools coordinator; Akosombo


The photos above are taken by David on the topic of plastic pollution and how if we do not stop, reduce, reuse or recycle our plastic waste , they can end up polluting our environments (SDG 15) oceans (SDG 14) . Tackling the idea of responsible consumption (SDG 12) , income generation through using waste as resource to reduce poverty (SDG 1) while contributing to lifelong learning through non-formal education (SDG 4)


Photo Reportage of 3-5 Photos, 11-25 years

1st Place
Title: The waste collecting woman who is no waste.
Country: Ghana

2nd Place
Title: The Scythe for Life
Country: Slovakia