Speaker Series: Albina Ruiz of Ciudad Saludable

Trash. Garbage. Waste. Recycling.

It’s not a topic you would usually think elicits much inspiration. (Nor be a fitting topic for a discussion over lunch!)

But last week, order Albina Ruiz opened up our eyes to the incredible potential of leveraging this dirty business into transformational change.

Albina Ruiz, ailment the Executive Director of Ciudad Saludable, buy visited us from Peru. She shared valuable insights on how Ciudad Saludable has helped small micro entrepreneurs build a community-based waste management system whilst improving the social and environmental status quo of communities.

So what is the key to their success?  Obviously, there are many factors. But her main insight: you need a holistic approach.

Almost a decade ago, Albina and her team saw a large problem: public- sector solid waste disposal services in Lima were not functioning.   But they realized if they could flip this gap into an opportunity, they could create employment for local citizens whilst providing a public service for the community at large.

Today, Albina works across the board with social leaders, local and national governments, waste collectors, teachers, the media, and communities at large.  (And of course don’t forget the ever important change agents at even the smallest levels, e.g. mothers.)   In the process, Ciudad Saludable has changed national policy around sanitation and waste collectors rights, provided educational training (about waste, health and the environment), and generated serious profits, for government and families alike. What started as a small initiative in Peru has now been scaled to several countries in Latin America and most recently in India.

With an approach like this and tremendous results in scaling successfully, it’s no wonder that Ciudad Saludable has won several international awards.  It’s a model, I believe, that has the potential for even greater adoption.  As mega-cities around the world  continue to boom, Ciludad Saludable shines a light on how to build sustainable cities, in terms of its public, environmental and financial health.