Maida Čukojević: A Champion for a Cleaner and Greener Bosnia and Herzegovina

Published: Jan 10, 2024 Reading time: 3 minutes
Meet Maida Čukojević, a catalyst for change in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). As the Head of Waste Management, Environmental Protection, and Quality System Management at KJKP
© Photo: Almir Durgut

Meet Maida Čukojević, a catalyst for change in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). As the Head of Waste Management, Environmental Protection, and Quality System Management at KJKP "RAD" Sarajevo, Maida's 24-year journey is a testament to dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment. Where some might see waste as a problem, Maida sees an opportunity. 

"I believe waste is a valuable resource, and that with adequate treatment it can be used for the benefit of humanity, and not pollute the environment, which is still the most common practice in Bosnia and Herzegovina today," Maida shared.

From her early days as an Expert Associate for Public Hygiene to her current role leading the Waste Management Service, Maida has been a driving force behind numerous initiatives to revolutionize waste management in Sarajevo.

Her ultimate goal is ambitious: to contribute to achieving "zero waste" in the Canton of Sarajevo and BiH, where all produced waste is utilised as a resource. Maida's impact extends to significant projects like the "Efficient Waste Management System in Canton Sarajevo," a 1.3 million Euro initiative funded by the Government of the Czech Republic through the Czech Development Agency. This project, implemented in partnership with People in Need, focuses not only on infrastructure improvement but also on enhancing the knowledge and awareness of KJKP "RAD" employees.

Despite facing challenges in waste management, such as the lack of landfill space and the disposal of special categories of waste, Maida's team has made remarkable strides. Since the installation of the new infrastructure like green islands and bins, the recycling rate has increased by 70%. Maida has also emphasised the key role of effective strategies, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), for better data management and location mapping.

"The work that Maida and her colleagues have done at KJKP RAD over the years is truly remarkable, particularly given the political environment and slow legal reform," shared Tim Jenkins, Regional Representative, People in Need in Western Balkans.

While KJKP "RAD" lacks significant support from institutions and a legislative framework for waste management improvement, Maida continues to learn and adapt. The company's successes include a modern landfill for sanitary disposal, a sorting plant for separately collected waste, and the production of electricity from landfill gas. Maida emphasizes the importance of constant learning, acknowledging mistakes, and striving for improvements in the business.

“I can freely say that we learn everyday and through our work, we realise our mistakes and possible improvements in the business”, shared Maida.

“Today, KJKP “RAD” has routes by which only paper is collected, and on the second day only plastic. Now, we have a much better and faster process of sorting waste and recycling raw materials”.

As Maida pursues her mission for a "zero waste" future, she urges citizens to actively participate in preserving the planet's health. Recognising that we've inherited clean land, rivers, and air, Maida believes it's our responsibility to protect these resources for future generations. By taking small steps, such as separating waste, individuals can contribute to a cleaner and greener environment. Maida's journey inspires us to join the global movement for better waste management, emphasising that it is an investment in our well-being and the prosperity of generations to come. Together, we can make a positive impact, prioritise sustainability, and work towards a future that is both cleaner and greener. 

Autor: Johanna Legarta, Communications Manager KHM, People In Need

Related articles