Nosarara: A Women-Led Collective Business Entreprise to Manage Plastic

Nosarara is one of five Women Plastic Entrepreneur Groups (WPEGs) assisted by YEU in Ngatabaru Village, Sigi District, Central Sulawesi Province. The Nosarara group was formed on 25 July 2022 with 29 members. The name “nosarara” comes from the local language, Kaili, which means “one heart”. The name bears an expectation that the group always works collectively in one heart to raise awareness on the importance of plastic waste management as well as to strengthen and empower each other  in its business enterprise.

Nosarara Group has initiated monthly meetings and a community service in the form of weekly clean up of their environment, by collecting plastic waste on the streets, especially 3 areas in the target sub-villages. Aside from the service, as many as 24 out of the 29 members have plastic waste savings in the Plastic Bank.

They have collected a total of 336 kilograms of plastic waste deposited in Nosarara’s plastic bank from October 2022 to February 2023. This group has the largest number of Plastic Bank customers compared to the other four WPEGs in Ngatabaru Village. A customer is a member who collects and deposits their plastic waste in the plastic bank and in return, they can withdraw in cash. Another type of member is those who do not collect and deposit plastic waste, thus  are not called customers, but they can actively participate in the Nosarara Group meetings.  

YEU allocates IDR 300.000 or equal to USD 30,17 per month to Nosarara group for operational support, such as for meals during group meetings, petty cash and social funds. The Nosarara group also initiated a collective chair rental business from the plastic bank profit and from the operational support. This business has been running for one month with the customers as far as the neighbouring Petobo Sub-District. The current profit is IDR 150.000 or equal to USD 10,09. They are enthusiastic in developing this business unit and plan to add more chairs to cater for wider customers outside Ngatabaru Village. Currently, they are in the process of disbursing micro-credit funds from YEU with the support from Malteser International. This collective venture has inspired other WPEGs, namely Nosabara, Satu Hati, Sintuvu, and Mosinggani, to implement the business idea. 

The establishment of Nosarara Group was without a doubt quite challenging in the beginning, with some community members questioned YEU’s presence with suspicion of proselytism due to its entity as a faith-based organisation. YEU team members always emphasise dialogues with the local community leaders and inform them that the program does not have a proselytism agenda. YEU team is fully aware that gaining community trust is valuable to deliver the program. But, most importantly, it should also nurture collective understanding on the message to protect the society and the environment through efforts and participation in the Women Plastic Entrepreneurs program.

The Nosarara Group brings new hopes for its members, where they are more aware of the need for a clean environment and economic improvement through collective managed enterprise. 

Picture 2: Siska is sharing her testimony with YEU community organizer.

“I am interested in joining this group because I want to reduce waste at home and want to be involved in group activities. Now I know how to sort my household waste. At first, I just threw away the trash and then burned it, now it can become a savings account in the Plastic Bank, where I can withdraw the money later.” Mrs. Siska is a member of WPEG Nosarara.

Picture 3: Emi is sharing her experience as a waste picker.

“I saw that the activities carried out in the group were very good, so I was interested to join. There was a change I felt after joining the Nosarara Group. Previously, my activities were just going to the landfill to work. After that I went home and occasionally chatted with women in the neighbourhood. Now I can join group activities.” Emi's impression as a member of WPEG Nosarara who also works as a waste collector partner at the Kawatuna landfill.

Picture 4: Lismawati is tying up a sack filled with plastics.

“What made me interested in joining this group was after knowing that the program was related to waste management in my village. Now, our yard is cleaner and the trash is no longer scattered because we already know about the financial value of plastic waste and how to sort household waste, which we normally only burn. Once I knew that trash has value, I am no longer piling up waste in the kitchen. Garbage is also hazardous to health if not managed properly. 

I hope other ideas emerge related to plastic management, for example through training. I also hope that the chair rental business that originates from the initiatives of group members and the group’s board members can be developed and when it becomes more profitable, we can buy more chairs for rent. For the YEU team itself, I hope this program can run for a long time in Ngatabaru Village.” from Lismawati who is the treasurer of WPEG Nosarara.

Throughout the Womenpreneurs4plastic (WP4P) program in Ngatabaru Village, group members have participated in several training events, such as: waste management training; door-to-door counselling on Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (3R) waste management; organisational management; thematic training about organic waste; Waste Bank operations management training; and micro-credit training. 

In the future, the WP4P program will expand its network of cooperation with the local government units, private sector, and other elements that can support the sustainability of the program and increase the capacity of WPEG members both in Ngatabaru and Talise villages.

Cover picture: 1. The process of monthly meeting WPEG Nosarara