News and Events

Marty Chen 2018

Technology and the Future of Informal Work

September 8, 2019

WIEGO Senior Advisor Marty Chen will be in Bangkok this week to attend a conference: Transforming Economies--for Better Jobs organized by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) in partnership with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). She has been invited to speak in a plenary session on Thursday, Sept 12 on Technology and the Future of Work. See Marty's powerpoint presentation: Technology & The Future of Informal Work: Insights from India, Peru and South Africa.

Ahmedabad home-based worker

India's Supreme Court rules home-based workers may be entitled to benefits

August 5, 2019

India's Supreme Court ruled in July that a manufacturer must make back-payments to home-based workers. The court stated that if a manufacturer had the right to reject defective work, then it had supervisory control over workers. WIEGO’S Shalini Sinha, coordinator for Delhi Focal City, was asked by Reuters to comment on the ruling and its implications. "Acknowledgement of the employer-employee relationship will have far-reaching impact on ensuring social security and benefits for millions of such workers," she said. Read more on the ruling and Shalini's take in the article by Anuradha Nagaraj: India ruling could allow millions of home workers to access benefits. Photo: Paula Bronstein, Getty Images Reportage.

Marty Chen

Marty Chen on inequality - watch the discussion

July 9, 2019

WIEGO Senior Advisor Marty Chen spoke at a panel on SDG 10 on Inequality at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development on July 11. Dr. Chen spoke about deficits in decent work and living conditions that informal workers face, and what must happen to remedy this. She offered good practice examples from around the globe to show that change is possible, and how it can be achieved.

Watch the recording on


Regulating for Decent INFORMAL Work

June 22, 2019

During the International Labour Organization’s 6th Conference of the Regulating for Decent Work Network in July, WIEGO will offer a special session: “The Social Contract for Workers in the 21st Century”, focused on regulating decent work and promoting a social contract for informal workers, especially self-employed and dependent contractors (e.g. homeworkers). Marty Chen will host the session, and several WIEGO thought leaders will present papers. Read more.

Caroline Kihato

Analyzing Migration in Sub-Saharan Africa

June 4, 2019

WIEGO’s Director of Urban Policies, Caroline Wanjiku Kihato, is one of the authors of the latest Issue Report of the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination (LISD) at Princeton University."The Future of Mobility and Migration within and from Sub-Saharan Africa," analyzes the drivers, dynamics, and consequences of African migration.

informal workers at the ILC

WIEGO at the International Labour Conference

June 8 - 21, 2019

This year, the International Labour Conference (ILC) will discuss a historic instrument on Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work that has been tabled for adoption. WIEGO and networks of informal workers engaged in discussions last year at the ILC and will be there again this year to advocate for a convention that addresses violence and harassment issues for  informal workers. Learn more here.

Domestic Workers and C189: Power and Skills to Make it Real

May 27, 2019

IDWF affiliates across Africa, IDWF gathered in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania from 24 - 26 May for the Domestic Workers and C189: Power and Skills to Make it Real workshop. This workshop was a follow up to the Domestic Workers and C189: Making it Real workshop that was held in Nairobi, Kenya in June 2018. Read more

WIEGO and COPRED press conference and Workers' Platform release

May 5, 2019

WIEGO and COPRED hosted a press conference in Mexico City on 6 May 2019 to release a series of demands from informal workers in Mexico City, a direct result of mesas which were held in late February. 

COPRED and WIEGO will also be launching a photo-video campaign which highlights informal work in Mexico City during this event. Read more


Joburg reclaimers

Johannesburg’s informal reclaimers marching in protest on May 2

May 1, 2019

African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO) will march in Johannesburg, South Africa on Thursday, May 2 in a large-scale protest against the city’s refusal to recognize them, answer their demands and offer fair treatment and compensation.

Read more. 

Trabajadores no asalariados demandan terminar con discriminación y acceso a seguridad social

29 de Abril

Ciudad de México
Trabajadores no asalariados presentan su propuesta de reformas al Reglamento de Trabajadores No Asalariados, en el contexto de las consultas anunciadas por miembros del Congreso de la Ciudad de México, para la elaboración de la legislación secundaria en materia de trabajo en empleo informal. Lea más

WIEGO-ACA Dialogue with Informal Workers and Lawyers

April 25, 2019

On May 2, street vendors, waste pickers and lawyers in Accra will come together to foster understanding between these important workers and legal professionals. This unique dialogue, hosted by WIEGO and Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA) will pave the way towards identifying opportunities for collaboration that can improve livelihoods for informal workers while benefitting society. Read more

domestic worker Joburg

WIEGO's Work Leads to a Turning Point

April 24, 2019

In an article for the Hewlett Foundation, Ruth Levine, outgoing director for the Human Development and Population Program, talks about the importance of social movements and what she's learned: 

"The turning point came on a trip to South Africa with WIEGO, where colleagues and I spent a few days talking with, walking with, and learning from organized domestic workers, street vendors, and urban recyclers. The power that they obtained through solidarity with others who faced the same long odds, and the ways in which their realities and questions influenced WIEGO’s research partners, hit me hard and has not left my thoughts since." Read "Closing the Gap between Social Movements and Policy Change"

Informal Economies are Diverse

April 23, 2019

In an article entitled Informal Economies are Diverse, which appears in the Mail Guardian, Mike Rogan, WIEGO Research Associate and Associate Professor at the Rhodes University, explores how policies/strategies intended to improve the lives of informal workers must take into account the diversity of the informal sector. (Photo by David Harrison) 




Law Exposure Dialogue Programme in Dakar

April 22, 2019

An Exposure Dialogue Programme (EDP) presented by the Law Programme and Dakar Focal City will take place from 26-28 April. Legal professionals and public officials will live and work alongside informal street vendors and waste pickers for two nights and a day, then come together to reflect and share their impressions on their experience. This EDP aims to foster an understanding among legal professionals and public officials of how laws and regulatory frameworks shape and constrain informal workers’ livelihoods, and how the law might be used to protect these livelihoods and create an enabling environment. Read more

Informality as a Way of Life: Challenges to Sustainable Urban Development 

April 22, 2019

The Penn Institute for Urban Research (PennIUR) and Perry World House, two globally renowned research centres at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), have organized a Round-table on Urban Informality entitled “Informality as a Way of Life: Challenges to Sustainable Urban Development” at Perry World House  from 9:00a.m to 5:00p.m. on 24 April 2019.

Joann Vanek, Senior Advisor - Statistics, WIEGO will present at a session on data: Where are the Data to Measure Informality? What’s Missing? while Dr. Martha Chen, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, Affiliated Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Senior Advisor, WIEGO will give the lunchtime lecture on “Inclusive Cities for Urban Informal Workers”. Read more l Register for event

Ruth Levine

How WIEGO Inspires Sustained Social Change

April 11, 2019

In a Devex online interview, Ruth Levine, outgoing program director of the Global Development and Population program at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, explained how WIEGO helped her understand “how fundamental to sustained social change it is to support the capacity of self-led organizations.” More

Photo by Steven Purcell / Brookings Institution / CC BY-NC-ND

Warwick Junction Tina Mteshane

Informal Workers' Champions Recognized

April 11, 2019

When the World Resources Institute (WRI) announced the first-ever Ross Prize for Cities on April 10th in New York, two champions of informal workers—both partners of WIEGO—were among the top five recognized as finalists for the prize. Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), a trade union of waste pickers based in Pune, India, and Asiye eTafuleni (AeT), an NGO that supports informal workers in Durban, South Africa, are both among the finalists. Read more.

Kenya National HBW Workshop and HBW Africa Regional Meeting

March 22, 2019

42 participants from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Africa gathered at the Savelberg Retreat Centre in Nairobi for the Kenya National HBW Workshop and the HBW Africa Regional Meeting from 17-21 March 2019.

Hosted by WIEGO in partnership with the Kenyan Federation for Alternative Trade (KEFAT), both events  sought to support national and regional organizing and networking of home-based workers in an effort to promote greater visibility for these workers. Read more

RWCC Strategic Planning Meeting and West África Waste pickers Workshop

March 27, 2019

The Reducing Waste in Coastal Cities Strategic Planning Meeting and the first-ever West African waste pickers Workshop is being held in Dakar, Senegal from 1-5 April 2019.

The event gathers waste picker leaders from across the globe (Argentina, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, India, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) as well as academics and WIEGO specialists. Participants will reflect on global trends surrounding ocean pollution and plastic contamination and their intersection with solid waste management practices. Read more

WIEGO's Mexico City Focal City Coordinator presents at Congress on Non-Traditional Work

March 8, 2019

Tania Espinoza Sánchez, WIEGO's Focal City Co-ordinator for Mexico City participated in a Seminar on Work and Equality at El Colegio de México (Colmex). Tania's presentation highlighted challenges faced by informal workers in Mexico.

Over three days, researchers, academics and other professionals gathered at Colmex have had the opportunity to compare thesis research and progress in the area of non-traditional work. View taped feed l View Complete Agenda 


WIEGO Podcast: Urban Infrastructure, Social Protection and Informal Workers

March 8, 2019

WIEGO's Informal Economy Podcast: Social Protection is a monthly conversation focusing on some of the most pressing issues related to social protection from the perspective of informal workers. In this episode, Urban Infrastructure, Social Protection and Informal Workers, Dr. Laura Alfers, WIEGO's Social Protection Programme Director  discusses the linkages between social protection, public services and urban infrastructure in relation to protecting the livelihoods of women informal workers.

Listen to the podcast


WIEGO Network Delegation to Participate in 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63)

March 6, 2019

Representatives of UN Member States, civil society organizations and UN entities will gather at the UN headquarters in New York from 11 - 22 March 2019 for the63rd session of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW63). This year, the Commission's annual two-week session will centre on the theme "Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls." Several members of the WIEGO Network including WIEGO Team members and representatives from the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) of India and the Greater Accra Market Association (GAMA) will attend. Read more

Workers Narrative 2019 (Women Speak)

March 2, 2019

To comemmorate International Women's Day, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) in collaboration with the India Habitat Centre, organized a second edition of the Workers’ Narrative. Coined Women Speak, it was held on 7 March 2019 drew scores of informal workers from across Delhi. A panel of seven informal workers from Delhi City—one construction worker, three home-based workers, one street vendor and one waste picker—told their own stories, in their own words, to a large, rapt audience.

The panel will be moderated by Harvard University Professor and WIEGO Senior Advisor, Dr. Marty Chen.Read more









Sharing Workshop on Informal Workers in Hanoi

March 1, 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 will build an 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 will bring together participants from regional and global networks and many local organizations on 13 March 2019. Several members of the WIEGO Network will take part. This workshop was made possible through the generous support of Oxfam Hong Kong. Read more




The Politics of Gender-responsive Social Protection

February 22, 2019

WIEGO’s Director of Social Protection, Laura Alfers will present on the role of grassroots civil society in furthering a gender-responsive social protection agenda during a webinar entitled, The Politics of Gender-responsive Social Protection hosted on at 13:00 GMT on March 7. The event is organized by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the UK's Department of International Development (DFID). Read more| Register to attend

Informal Workers Are Vital to Cities, ‘Legitimate Actors,’ 

February 11, 2019

"Illegal. Criminal. A drag on the economy. These are just a few of the derisive labels that beleaguer urban informal workers, Marty Chen, co-founder of and senior advisor to WIEGO, told The City Fix at the World Resources Institute. She explained that informal workers make up more than half of the world’s urban workforce, yet negative narratives around them persist. Read more.

Together to Achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030

February 5, 2019

Rachel Moussié, WIEGO's Deputy Director of Social Protection attended the high-level conference Together to achieve Universal Social Protection by 2030 in Geneva. The conference was organized by the EU and the ILO with support from the OECD. It sought to encourage governments in the Global South to commit to achieving universal social protection as outlined in the SDGS. Rachel presented on extending social protection across the lifecycle and shared WIEGO's expertise in the area of challenges informal workers face in accessing social protection and what governments can do about this. Read more

Statistics Director Wins Prestigious Award

January 29, 2019

A book co-authored by Françoise Carré, WIEGO’s Director of Statistics—Where Bad Jobs Are Better: Retail Jobs Across Countries and Companies—has won the prestigious William G. Bowen Award for the Outstanding Book on Labor and Public Policy, presented by Princeton University, Industrial Relations Section. Read more.

New Markets - New Forms of Exchange

January 23, 2019

Caroline Skinner, WIEGO Director of Urban Research and Senior Researcher at the African Centre for Cities (ACC), presented at a free event entitled, 'How do new forms of global commercial exchange affect us, and how can it lead to a wider form of inclusionary economic progression?'

The event was held at the Zeitz MOCAA - Museum of Contemporary Art Africa and explored how new forms of global commercial exchange affect us, and how can it lead to a wider form of inclusionary economic progression.

SDG 8 Information Sharing Event

January 21, 2018

WIEGO Senior Advisor, Marty Chen, and Manager of HomeNet Thailand, Poonsap Tulaphan, were featured speakers at an interactive information sharing event on SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). The event was hosted by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and ILO and addressed the progress and challenges in advancing formalization of enterprises and workers (SDG target 8.3) were discussed.

Roma movie domestic workers Mexico

Victories for Domestic Workers in Mexico

December 28, 2018

The domestic workers movement achieved significant victories and gained profile worldwide in Mexico in December 2018: A Supreme Court decision will help extend social protection to domestic workers. The president announced he would send Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers to the Senate. And a film about a domestic worker in Mexico City, Roma, took the world by storm. Read more.

Caroline Kihato

WIEGO Urban Policies Director featured in WUC's #OnTheMove Newsletter

December 21, 2018

In a recent Q&A for the World Urban Campaign (WUC) #OnTheMove Newsletter, WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme Director, Caroline Wanjiku Kihato, discusses her background and research interests, as well as where she sees opportunities to better involve informal workers in the future of cities. Read more in the newsletter on the World Urban Campaign website.


Shalini Sinha

Digital Innovation Technologies for Creating Safer Cities

December 17, 2018

Shalini Sinha, Delhi Focal City Coordinator, highlighted how the lack of proper infrastructure like washrooms and toilets for women has contributed to harassment issues when she spoke at the 7th International Conference on Digital Innovation in New Delhi. The event was hosted by the FORE School of Management in partnership with The London School of Economics & Political Science, King’s College London and the Department of Management Studies (DMS) IIT Delhi. Read more in this OHKLA Times article.

How Digital Platforms are Shaping Africa's Informal Economy

December 16, 2018

Marty Chen's Rethinking the Informal Economy was recently cited as Recommended Reading on Kioneki, a blog by Michael Kimani, a thought leader in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry that looks at the future generation of informal workers in Africa. The blog "How Digital Platforms are Shaping Africa’s Informal Economy looks at how young informal workers have adopted and adapted gig economy tools and digital platforms to meet their needs for a flexible and negotiable digital marketplace -- changing the face of informal work in the process.

Empowering the Poorest of the Poor

December 14, 2018

A recent article, entitled,Empowering the poorest of the poor, on the Giving Evidence website, highlights the plight/realities of informal workers. WIEGO is referenced several times throughout the article and Caroline Skinner, Director, Urban Research, is quoted saying “Officials are often visibly shocked by the size and contribution of these workers.”

Read the entire article here.

Marty Chen Harvard Malala event

A Holistic Approach to Women's Rights

December 6, 2018

WIEGO Senior Advisor was part of a special event at the Harvard Kennedy School that celebrated Malala Yousafzai and explored the interconnected challenges that women face globally and the solutions for improving women’s status and rights. Marty stressed the importance of representation in statistics as a source of empowerment and spoke about resilience and leadership at the grassroots level. Read more in the article on the Harvard Kennedy School website.


WIEGO's General Assembly Held

November 12-14, 2018

Over 130 people from 41 countries came together for the WIEGO Network's 7th General Assembly: Organizing for Change. Held in Johannesburg, South Africa, the GA gathered leaders, activists, researchers and policymakers in the informal economy to celebrate past achievements and chart the course ahead. Read more.

street vendors

Public Space for All Resources

November 2018

The Public Space for All project, a joint initiative of WIEGO and the Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme on Equitable Economic Growth in Cities, has produced three new resources for both  informal worker organizations and public officials. These manuals and toolkits aim to help all stakeholders achieve more inclusive city management and regulations. Read more and access the resources.