Sharing Workshop on Informal Workers in Hanoi, Vietnam

March 13, 2019

In Vietnam, the majority of workers work in the informal economy. While the work they do is vital, informal workers often earn little and can be isolated, stigmatized—even criminalized.


The Sharing Workshop on Informal Workers in Hanoi built understanding of the vital need to consolidate existing activities related to informal labour, strengthening action and research networks, and building avenues for worker representation. Hosted by the Centre for Gender, Family and Community Development (GFCD), the Network of Action for Migrant Workers (M-Net) and Oxfam Vietnam, the workshop brought together participants from regional and global networks and many local organizations on 13 March. Several members of the WIEGO Network participated. This workshop was made possible through the generous support of Oxfam Hong Kong.


Informal workers account for 57 per cent of all non-agricultural workers in Vietnam.They earn on average one-third less in monthly income than formal workers, and less than three per cent have social insurance. Among these informal workers, women are more likely to have jobs classified as “vulnerable.” 

On 13 March, 2019 WIEGO joined the Centre for Gender, Family and Community Development (GFCD), the Network of Action for Migrant Workers (M-Net) and Oxfam Vietnam to host a Sharing Workshop on Informal Workers in Hanoi, Vietnam. The workshop convened worker organizations representing domestic workers, waste pickers, street vendors, and home-based workers in national agencies, research institutes, and civil society organizations focused on employment and social protection in Vietnam.  WIEGO and our network affiliates representing these four occupational sectors– StreetNet International, HomeNet Southeast Asia, Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), and the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) – shared international experiences in social protection and formalization of informal employment.  

The workshop aimed to:

  • Consolidate the current state of knowledge and activities on informal workers in Vietnam
  • Contribute knowledge from international experiences to ongoing activities in Vietnam, and build awareness of international networks on the context of informality in Vietnam
  • Promote organizing of informal workers, with support from Vietnamese CSOs, VGCL, and international organizations representing informal workers 
  • Identify and strategize future collaborations 
  • Develop and communicate recommendations to policy-makers on social protection policies for informal workers and formalizing the informal economy

Host Organisations

Center for Gender, Family and Community Development (GFCD)

    Center for Gender, Family and Community Development (GFCD): GFCD is a national NGO working on gender equality and labour rights, especially the rights of women and domestic workers. GFCD’s mission is to promote gender equality and protection of women’s legal rights and benefits; to contribute to development of prosperous, equal and happy families for a just, democratic and civilized society; to act as a bridge between community, scientists and policy makers; and to reflect peoples’ voices in the policy making process though a participatory approach. Its areas of activities include research and projects/programmes implementation, evidence-based policy advocacy, women economic empowerment, and communications. 

      Network of Action for Migrant Workers (M-Net)

        Network of Action for Migrant Workers (M-Net) is a network of Vietnamese CSOs promoting participation, equality, rights, and equal access to social protection for migrant workers. M-Net operates through evidence-based policy advocacy, capacity building for member organizations, partners, and target groups, multi-stakeholder coordination and collaboration, and direct intervention through pilot models of social institutions working for and by migrant workers.

          Oxfam in Vietnam

            Oxfam in Vietnam: Oxfam is a worldwide development organisation that mobilizes the strength and voice of people against poverty, inequality and injustice. Oxfam is a confederation of 20 Oxfam organisations working together in more than 90 countries. It works with partner organisations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end injustices. Oxfam in Vietnam is working to seek transformative changes in policies, practices and beliefs in ways that will fundamentally improve the lives of poor and marginalized women and men and ensure that all citizens have the same opportunity to enjoy their rights.

            More information

            Read Biographies of Attendees from the WIEGO Network