Tulsi Gyawali - Nepal

Empowering Women through Innovation in Waste Management

Tulsi Gyawali (50) is an innovator and leader in waste management. In her community, there was a lack of technology for solid waste management, so waste would be dumped into the center of the village. Tulsi found it to be problematic that people felt their responsibility was over after they threw the waste on the road. Not only did the garbage foster diseases and plagues, but it also led to environment degradation.

Tulsi tackled the problem at its origin by converting the degradable kitchen waste into compost manure that could be used for growing vegetables, medicinal herbs, and ornamental plants. She was then able to organize terrace and rooftop vegetable and flower gardens. Tulsi trained many rural women and children on solid waste management and rooftop farming. In addition, Tulsi created a use for other garbage and showed women how to weave decorative products from colored plastic wrappers of biscuits, milks, and noodles. Constructing these products, including hats, sandals, and baskets, has created jobs for rural women to help them make some small earnings. This additional income resulting from the reuse of products give women dignity and pride. In these two innovative low-cost approaches to dealing with waste, Tulsi played a vital role in raising the living standards of rural women in her community. Her innovative skills in waste management were used in the popular bin composting system in Bharatpur Sub Metropolitan City in Nepal and villages of the district. She built a good network with NGOs, academic institutions and governmental organizations. A Human Rights activist, she has used her experience working with organizations to raise her voice against domestic violence against women.