As the sun rises in Addis Ababa city, Ethiopia, a group of waste collectors also rise armed with gloves, masks and large bags to collect waste. They go from door to door , call out for people to take out trashes and collect solid waste. The waste collectors promote proper waste disposal practices for a healthier environment.

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Waste Warriors

Genaye Eshetu | Ethiopia, Ethiopia

Take out the trash!’ ‘Take out the trash!’

This is a sound that awakens most people in Addis Ababa at dawn. This is a call from home-to-home solid waste collectors, as they bang on doors. The community calls these people ‘koshasoch, ’ directly translated as ‘trashes.’ Although they got the name not as an insult but as an expression of what they do, the name has stuck.

Mostly women and a few men work tirelessly to collect and sort waste for recycling.The waste collection work has provided not only an employment but also a safe community.

The waste storage site, even though has a strong bad smell, is like their office space. They have adapted to the smell and some of them even take a nap or sit and read a book they found in the trash.

The group, not only get paid by the government but alsosells plastic and metal waste separately for recycling. The waste collectors' efforts not only created employment opportunities but also play a crucial role in sustainable waste management practices that benefit the climate.

Genaye Eshetu is a humanitarian photographer based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She has extensive experience in the development sector in Ethiopia and has helped various international non-profit organizations tell their stories visually by capturing high-quality, rich-in-content images.

She believes that photography can be a powerful tool for social change, and can raise awareness, promote empathy, and ultimately inspire action. Through her lens, she strives to capture the humanity, resilience, and hope that exists in even the most difficult circumstances. In showcasing her work, she wants to ignite a love for people, value for stories and a better worldview to recognize the power we all have to create positive changes in our community.

Genaye earned her bachelors in Language and Literature from Hawassa University and her Masters in Journalism and communications from Addis Ababa University.

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