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Just Keep Swimming

Posted by Bronte Munro Jul 19, 2017

The ERS Cambodian team has been absolutely smashing the last couple of weeks on project. Morale is high and work ethic is higher still.

Despite having to tackle some big road blocks from the get go, not being registered as a business or qualified waste collection service being one, the team remained passionate and determined to push through and find alternate ways to prove concept using small scale tests. With the hustle in the first week resulting in ERS’ first 54 prototypes being implemented, the team was feeling good. The collection on Friday of week two using a local trailer driver and with the help of our ‘Village Champion’, Sophea, the team was able to gain some invaluable feedback. Off the back of this, the prototype will be refined to hold more waste and be more durable, as the colour coded rice bags were too easily accessible to animals and weathered quickly.

The testing of the ‘back-end’ of the collection service proved somewhat more challenging. Due to all valuable waste being pre-sold by local Adjay's, the waste collected by ERS is largely un-sellable. The realisation of this, in conjunction with the team exhausting all possible opportunities to sell off the waste we do collect, threw a spanner in the works. It is the team's attitude in the face of these challenges that has been most impressive and made working with them an incredible expercine.

Being a group of individuals that don't give up easily, the team gears up each day to a positive message that sits above their daily goals, a personal favourite being “YOU GOTTA BELIEVE IT TO ACHIEVE IT”.

The power of this positive thinking and desire to make ERS work, has resulted in some key project pivots that aim to solve our current pickle.

Having re-established relations with GAEA, the only collection service operating in Siem-Reap, the team are looking to partner with their service. Utilising pre-existing waste infrastructure, ERS can still access the non-urban communities that GAEA can’t access, significantly reducing the costs of renting a sorting yard, hiring labour and making almost no profit on the limited saleable waste. The team is currently brainstorming a second revenue stream to support the small free charged to villages for a collection, things are looking up.

Creating a handover along the line of ‘ERS for Dummies’ is also on the team’s radar at the moment, with the goal to create a simple step by step process that anyone could follow in order to implement the service. The team is off the stubborn opinion that with just a little more hard work December teams will be able to set up ERS as a fully functioning waste collection service, preventing communities from suffering the effects of burning waste.

TLing for the first time with such a driven, passionate and upbeat group of individuals has been incredibly inspiring. Their willingness to work past dinner time just to ensure that daily goals are met and their supportive and encouraging attitude towards each other has created and positive environment where people and projects are built each day.




This post was edited on Jul 19, 2017 by Bronte Munro

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Comments (2)

Patrick White says... Jul 27, 2017

Love the hustle, WISI team experienced a number of blocks throughout the month which led to a similar team slogan 'STAY POSITIVE, BE FUN!!!'

Also loving the ERS for Dummies! WISI is currently working on a 'for dummies' document, as an informal handover to accompany the business plan with plenty of cheeky bants.
- Rachel, could you share some of your creative genius??

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