Subtitle/Alternate Title

Formalisation of Informal Waste Pickers in Northern Region of Malawi

First Advisor

Scott Merill

Second Advisor

Jean Parker

Third Advisor

Nina Miller


Jean Parker


Regis College

Degree Name

Master of Development Practice


Regis University

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access


Malawi, Northern Malawi, sustainable waste Management, Low income, Livelihood, Economic and Social Mobility, Cooperatives, Southern Africa, Advocacy and Lobbying

Number of Pages

53 pages


This paper seeks to explore an integrated support and network systems for waste management and poverty reduction through formalisation of informal waste pickers in northern Malawi. A systematic literature review on 50 peer reviewed papers, articles and books found that 70% of Malawi’s waste goes uncollected (United Nations Habitat, 2011) and is left in open dumpsites, roadside, streets, and river banks. Waste management (waste handling, collection, and disposal) remains a challenge in all municipalities and cities of Malawi. The local government’s inefficient and ineffective waste management is because of poor policy environment, centralised control of decision on waste, lack of government revenue to manage waste, poor cooperation among stakeholders, low public participation and lack of public authority and regulation. The situation poses a threat to the environment and people’s health rights if it is not handled immediately. This paper identified Informal Waste Pickers (IWPs) as the potential solution to the inefficiencies and challenges in waste management. Despite IWPs being marginalised by the general public. It is the focus of this paper to explore a holistic community-driven approach by facilitating citizens’ active participation and involvement in waste management decisions, organising themselves to formalise individual IWPs for collective economic and social mobility, and lobbying for a voice in public service decisions in Northern region of Malawi. The program assumes that an integrated stakeholder support and network system in formalising IWPs intervention leads to sustainable waste management, poverty reduction, and environment protection.

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

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Available for download on Thursday, January 09, 2025