Ana Luisa Arocena

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2009


This profile was prepared when Ana Luisa Arocena was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Through the creation of MA&A in 2001, Ana Luisa developed the first efficient system in Uruguay dedicated to managing toxic waste produced by the pharmaceutical, chemical, and agricultural industries. She is building leading best practices for the first time in the sector, creating decent jobs and developing innovative technologies to recycle and dispose of hazardous products that would otherwise end up in Uruguay’s rivers and soils. Ana Luisa is contributing to a fundamental shift in Uruguay, by demonstrating that the country is capable of developing technologies and methodologies adapted to its small market scale.

MA&A is building transparency and accountability into each activity it undertakes, thus breaking away from the popular perception that waste management is a “dirty” business. Ana Luisa is putting the emphasis on the health and quality of life of its employees and of the population at large. She is also offering capacity-building opportunities to waste management businesses and citizen organizations (COs) to enable them to adopt MA&A’s innovative and responsible practices and adhere more strongly to safety regulations.

Recognizing that her organization alone would not change the waste industry as a whole, Ana Luisa began working on environmental awareness with government authorities, businesses, and universities. She works closely with informal garbage collectors as well, giving them technical and management support that helps them incorporate into the formal recycling industry with decent jobs. Moreover, Ana Luisa promoted the creation of the Chamber of Waste Management Businesses (CEGRU) in 2008 to introduce new norms of technological innovation, transparency, safety, and decent employment to this sector. She also works closely with government authorities to introduce and implement stronger toxic waste regulations.

Through MA&A, CEGRU and her work with government authorities, universities, and COs, Ana Luisa is transforming the waste management sector in Uruguay.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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