Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing
A newsletter covering the highlights and progress of the WIEGO Network in promoting secure informal livelihoods through policy interventions and stronger organizations.
April 2016
New Law and Informal Employment Programme
Exposure Dialogue on Law & Informality
Exposure Dialogue on Law & Informality
WIEGO's new Law and Informal Employment Programme held its first strategy meeting in November 2015 in Boston, USA. The Law Programme Director, Marlese von Broembsen, previously convened an interdisciplinary master's programme in social justice at the University of Cape Town before taking up a Harvard South Africa Fellowship. Her special interest is in governance of global value chains and how homeworkers are inserted into global value chains. She was joined by the coordinator for Africa, Pamhidzai Bamu-Chipunza, a labour lawyer from Zimbabwe, who has long worked on domestic workers' issues, and the coordinator for Latin America, Tania Espinosa Sanchez, a human rights lawyer from Mexico City with expertise in waste pickers. The newly formed programme met with senior members of the WIEGO team to strategize and plan the Law Programme's work over the next three years. 
The programme will be working with WIEGO colleagues and members in various capacities, including the Organization and Representation Programme (ORP) to realize Recommendation 204 (Transitioning from the Informal to the Formal Economy) at a national level, and with homeworkers at the ILC negotiations in June on global value chains. Tania is working on the submission of a case to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights to foreground the human rights violations visited upon informal workers in South America. Additionally, the Law Programme team will work with the Urban Policies Programme and the Focal Cities teams on realizing the bundle of rights that constitute the "right to the city" and on legal strategies for street traders and waste pickers at the city level.


Also In This Issue:

On the Road Towards Habitat III
Vendors - Accra_ Ghana
In advance of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development - also known as Habitat III - in Quito, Ecuador, this October, WIEGO is playing a key role in advocating for the recognition and integration of informal workers and their livelihoods into the New Urban Agenda: 
  • Policy UnitsMarty Chen, WIEGO's International Coordinator, Sally Roever, Director of the Urban Policies Programme, and Sonia Dias, Waste Pickers Sector Specialist, are active members of three Habitat III Policy Units focused on urban economic development, socio-cultural frameworks, and right to the city.
  • World Urban Campaign: WIEGO ensures its ongoing participation in the Habitat III process through its role as co-chair, along with Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI), of the Grassroots Partner Constituency Group of the World Urban Campaign's General Assembly of Partners (GAP). In February 2016, Mike Bird, WIEGO's Operations Manager, helped to prepare the co-chairs' report to the GAP meeting in Berlin. WIEGO is also chairing the World Urban Campaign's Communications subcommittee.
  • Africa Regional Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria: In February 2016, Victoria and Gbenga Komolafe, Secretary General of the Federation of Informal Workers' Organizations of Nigeria (FIWON), along with three additional FIWON representatives, participated in the Habitat III Africa Regional Meeting, where they hosted a side event on informal workers' experiences in Nigeria and where Victoria contributed as part of the Advisory Committee to the meeting's final Abuja Declaration. 
  • Africa Expert Group Meeting: In January 2016, Victoria Okoye, WIEGO's Urban Advocacy Specialist, participated in the Expert Group Meeting for the Habitat III Regional Report for the Africa Region. 
WIEGO's team members and member organizations have participated in other events in support of inclusive cities and sustainable urban development, including an Africa Regional Meeting of the Global Platform for the Right to the City in November 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the International Workshop on Inclusive Cities in January 2016 in Bogotá, Colombia.

Read "The New Urban Agenda must prompt planners to recognize informal labour" by Marty Chen on the WIEGO blog (originally published in Citiscope).
National Meeting of Informal Workers in Lima, Peru 
Workers organizing - Lima, Peru
In November 2015, WIEGO and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) brought together informal worker organizations from across Peru for a National Meeting of Informal Workers to celebrate and draw lessons from six years of WIEGO's focal cities work in Lima and two other Peruvian cities. Several WIEGO team members were on hand in Lima to celebrate and support the work that Carmen Roca, Regional Advisor for Latin America, and Edith Anampa, Project Officer, have been carrying out on the ground.

For more information, visit the Storify page from the event, Encuentro Nacional de Trabajadores en Empleo Informal en Lima, Perú (in English and Spanish).
20-Year Anniversary of Convention C177 on Homeworkers
Hom-Based Worker, Thailand
In March 2016, HomeNet South Asia and WIEGO met in Ahmedabad, India, to kick off the 20th-anniversary celebration of the adoption of the Home Work Convention (C177) and a campaign for its ratification. Home-based workers from South Asian and South East Asian countries along with allies and government representatives met and discussed progress and plans.
This event built on the declaration and plan of action from the Global Conference on Home-Based Workers held in February 2015 in New Delhi, India. Since then, organizations have been exchanging experiences, building their capacities, and working to advance favourable policies. In Kampala, Uganda, home-based workers and organizers from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda gathered to assess progress and make plans on recognition of home-based workers in Africa. Home-based worker representatives from Argentina, Bulgaria, Chile, Pakistan, and Thailand joined the group and shared experiences and committed to continued solidarity. In December 2015, 25 home-based worker representatives met in Buenos Aires, Argentina, supported by WIEGO, for a workshop on strategizing proposals to submit to the government to promote the law covering homeworkers and to improve statistical reporting on home-based workers. 
Waste Pickers Sector Report: Informal Economy Monitoring Study
Waste Picker - Bogota, Colombia
On International Waste Pickers' Day, March 1, WIEGO launched a global report, the Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS) Sector Report: Waste Pickers, written by Sonia Maria Dias, Waste Sector Specialist, and Melanie Samson, WIEGO's former Africa Waste Sector Coordinator. The report presents evidence on the systemic forces driving change in the waste sector in five cities - Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Bogota, Colombia; Durban, South Africa; Nakuru, Kenya; Pune, India - and the responses of waste pickers and their organizations to these driving forces. This is the last of three sector reports that have been published as part of the 10-city Informal Economy Monitoring Study. The first two focused on home-based workers and street vendors. Read the Waste Pickers Sector Report's Executive Summary in English and Spanish.
Following the national workshop of women waste pickers in South Africa in May 2015, Vanessa Pillay, Programme Officer of WIEGO's Organization and Representation Programme (ORP), initiated a series of local "listening" meetings with groups of women waste pickers in three South African cities: Sasolburg (November 2015), Pretoria (February 2016), and Pietermartizburg (forthcoming). ORP is planning to hold a series of capacity-building meetings based on priority issues raised by the women waste pickers. 
Progress of Africa's Domestic Workers' Organizations
Domestic Worker - South Africa
In December 2015, domestic workers from English- and Portuguese-speaking countries across Africa and members of the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) met in Cape Town, South Africa. WIEGO has supported the development of the African Domestic Workers Network (AfDWN) over the past five years, and this workshop demonstrated the progress made by women domestic workers in the region. WIEGO's ORP team members used participatory methods to facilitate interactive sessions on planning for their unions.
Technology and the Future of Informal Work
In February 2015, WIEGO and Practical Action, a UK-based non-governmental organization (NGO), began a collaborative one-year project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation called, "Technology & the Future of Informal Work". Through a specially designed set of qualitative methods, an exploratory research project was designed to study the technology currently being used by informal workers, the emerging technologies in their sectors, and the impact of city-level technology systems (energy, transport, and waste) on informal workers and their livelihoods in five cities: Ahmedabad, India (in partnership with SEWA Academy); Dhaka, Bangladesh; Durban, South Africa (in partnership with Asiye eTafuleni); Lima, Peru; and Nairobi, Kenya.
A report of findings from the WIEGO network's research (covering Ahmedabad, Durban, and Lima) will be published in late March. To learn more, visit the project page.
Statistics Programme
WIEGO continues to work towards the revision of the International Classification of Status in Employment-93 (ICSE), one of the three major international classifications in labour statistics. As members of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Working Group for this revision, Françoise Carré, WIEGO's Research Coordinator, and Joann Vanek, Director of Statistics, are focusing on the improved identification and classification of several categories of informal workers: homeworkers, dependent contractors, domestic workers, and casual day labourers.
Françoise and Joann participated in the second meeting of the group in December 2015 at the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland. Dependent contractors and homeworkers/outworkers were among the main categories considered at this meeting, specifically the criteria used to identify these workers as having special intermediary statuses of employment distinct from the self-employed and employee. 
Joann was a resource person in the ILO Training Programme, Labour Market Statistics and Analysis Academy, held at the ITC-ILO International Training Center in Turin, Italy, in November 2015. The course had 90 participants from 50 countries and included labour statisticians, data analysts, and senior managers. The focus of Joann's lecture was gender and labour statistics, including informal employment and the collection and compilation of data on specific categories of informal workers.   
Françoise and Joann were invited to serve as members of the Expert Group on Measuring Quality of Employment, which was established by the Conference of European Statisticians. This group has included informal employment as an experimental indicator in the framework for measuring quality of employment. Membership in this group provides an opportunity for WIEGO to work on the testing of this variable and, in this way, contribute to the application of the concept of informal employment in developed countries.
New Directors for Organization and Representation and Social Protection Programmes
As part of a planned transition, and after a global search, WIEGO announces the appointment of Jane Barrett as the new Organization and Representation Programme Director and Gisèle Yasmeen as the new Social Protection Programme Director. Jane, a trade unionist from South Africa with over 30 years of experience in the labour movement, is a former General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union (now the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union) and most recently the Affiliate Support Officer in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Gisèle was most recently a senior fellow with the University of British Columbia's Institute of Asian Research. She was previously the vice president for partnerships, and then research, at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her doctoral dissertation was on street food vendors in Bangkok, Thailand. The outgoing directors, Chris Bonner and Francie Lund, will continue to work with WIEGO as senior advisers to their respective programmes.
WIEGO's Presence Around the World
WIEGO team members have been presenting at conferences and other events around the world, focusing on advancing discussions on how to secure and enhance informal livelihoods.

February 2016
  • Victoria Okoye led a side event panel at the Habitat III Africa Regional Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, entitled, "Planning for Africa's Informal Economy Workers in the New Urban Agenda", which included representatives from FIWON.
  • Sally Roever spoke on a panel entitled, "Gender, Assets and Just Cities: Transformative Pathways to Habitat III", hosted by the Ford Foundation in New York City as part of a book launch.
  • Marty Chen was the keynote speaker and Sally Roever presented at a conference called, "The Biggest 'Private Sector' What Place for the Informal Economy in Green and Inclusive Growth?" organized and co-hosted by WIEGO, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and the Green Economy Coalition (GEC). The event explored the linkages between the informal economy, green growth, and inclusive growth with case studies from the food, forestry, mining, and urban economies.
  • Marty also spoke at a seminar on the informal economy in Africa at the Africa Research Institute in London.
  • Caroline Skinner, Urban Research Director, gave a talk, "The Informal Food Economy: What We Know, What We Still Need to Know and Potential Policy Levers", at a public event called, "Informality and the Urban Food System: Policy, Practice and Inclusive Growth" for the Hungry Cities Project Annual Meeting in Cape Town. She also spoke on, "The Informal Economy: Definitions, Conceptual Frames and Policy Trends", for the Hungry Cities Research Meeting in Cape Town.  At the University of Cape Town Architecture Department, she gave a Master's Class talk entitled, "Informality: The Challenge to Architects".  
January 2016
  • In New Delhi, India, Marty gave a public lecture entitled, "Inclusive Cities & the Urban Working Poor: Informality, Gender and Empowerment", organized by the ILO, SEWA and a local feminist economics group, and, in Mumbai, co-facilitated a workshop for home-based workers, sponsored by Harvard's South Asia Institute and the Tata Trusts.
  • Sally spoke about informal work and the right to the city at an International Seminar on Inclusive Cities in Bogotá. This was co-sponsored by the Corporación Andina de Fomento and the Universidad de los Andes.
  • Shalini Sinha, Home-based Worker Sector Specialist, gave a talk entitled, "Collective Bargaining in the Unorganized Sector: Experiences of Home-based Workers and their Organizations", at the 7th National Industrial Relations Conference in Jamshedpur, India.
  • Mike Rogan, of WIEGO's Urban Policies Programme, was a panel discussant at the National Minimum Wage Symposium at Wits University, Johannesburg.
December 2015
  • Sally gave a talk entitled, "Mobilizing Law: Informal Workers and Legal Systems in the Global South", with co-author Diana Kapiszewski at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University.
  • WIEGO supported a waste picker delegation at COP 21 (watch this video compilation from the "Waste Pickers: Paving the Solutions Path to Climate Change" event) in Paris, France.
  • Lucia Fernandez, WIEGO's Waste Picker Sector Advisor, Sonia Dias, Ana Carolina Ogando, and Vanessa Pillay participated in an all-women, all-WIEGO panel on the online platform BeWasteWise. Lucia also presented at the "Social Dialogue on Waste Pickers' Right to the City" in Montevideo, Uruguay, and moderated and coordinated the Research Working Session: Anthropology of Waste at the Anthropologist Conference of Mercosur in December in Montevideo.
  • Justice for Domestic Workers (J4dw), a UK-based organization, invited Karin Pape, WIEGO's Regional Advisor for Europe, to speak at an event with Members of Parliament and Members of the House of Lords, among other participants, in the British Parliament for the passing of a bill against modern slavery.
November 2015
  • Laura Alfers, Deputy Director for WIEGO's Social Protection Programme, gave a talk at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Workshop on Social Protection and the Formalization Debate in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • In Lima, Peru, Federico Parra, WIEGO's Regional Coordinator for Waste Pickers in Latin America, presented the case of Colombian recyclers at the First National Meeting of Informal Workers.
  • Lucia Fernandez moderated a "Dialogue about Self-Management Organizing and Solidarity Economy in Uruguay" in Montevideo.
  • Karin Pape represented WIEGO at a G7 meeting in Berlin, Germany, entitled "Economic Empowerment of Women: Unlock the Potential". She also took part in a panel discussion on skills for empowerment.
  • Caroline Skinner gave a talk entitled, "Informal Food Retailers Role in Food Security: A Review of Evidence", at the Consuming Urban Poverty Annual Research Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. 
  • Sonia Dias gave two talks at the World of Work Research Conference in Antalya, Turkey: "Engendering Waste Pickers' Cooperatives in Brazil" and "Social and Solidarity Economy and Cooperativism in WIEGO: Networking as a means to engage in solidarity networks". At a World Bank workshop in Washington, D.C., she presented on the Gender and Waste Project.
New on the WIEGO Blog
The People's Economy and the Future of Cities by Sally Roever, 22 February 2016 (originally published on the World Urban Campaign's site)
Inclusive Cities for Informal Workers by Marty Chen, 17 February 2016
(originally published on the World Bank's Jobs and Development Blog)
Growing a Dream: The Vaal Park Recycling Centre by Leslie Vryenhoek, 3 February 2016
Pope Francis, the Environment and Waste Pickers by Tania Espinosa Sánchez, 19 December 2015
Inclusive Cities: What Have We Learned? by Rhonda Douglas, 30 October 2015
New Publications and Resources Online
The following WIEGO publications and resources were posted between November 2015 and February 2016. You can search the full database on WIEGO's website.
Crush, Jonathan, Abel Chikanda and Caroline Skinner, eds. 2015. Mean Streets: Migration, Xenophobia and Informality in South Africa.
Informal Economy Monitoring Study
Dias, Sonia Marie and Melanie Samson. 2016. Informal Economy Monitoring Study Sector Report: Waste Pickers.
Research Report
Lim, Lin Lean Dr. 2015. Extending Livelihood Opportunities and Social Protection to Empower Poor Urban Informal Workers in Asia. Research Report from WIEGO, OXFAM and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Casey, Jonathan, Jenna Harvey and Kendra Hughes, ed. 2016. Review of Literature for the Technology & the Future of Work Project
Social Law Project and WIEGO. 2014. Domestic Worker Manual - South Africa
Social Law Project and WIEGO. 2014. Manual for Street Vendors - South Africa

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