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Theme: Informal Economy
Program(s): Organization & Representation

This article includes interviews by the ILO Cooperatives Unit with WIEGO representatives attending the International Labour Conference 2016.


More information about WIEGO's participation in the ILC 2016 is available.

India From ragpicker to speaker in Geneva conference Mid-day . (17 June 2015)
By Deshmukh, Chaitraly.

Suman More’s life has been a rags-to-recognition journey. As an illiterate, impoverished ragpicker from Pune, the 50-year-old could never have imagined that she would one day be the centre of attention at a conference held all the way in Geneva by the International Labour Organisation. She has been attending the International Labour Conference for the past two years as a representative of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO).

By Mugdha, Kapoor.

For 37 years, Pune's Suman More, 50, worked as a ragpicker, but life turned a full circle when she spoke from the podium at the International Labour Organisation Conference held in Geneva as an elite gathering of experts and leaders were all ears to her story. Her journey from a waste-picker to an inspiration for many hasn't been easy.

United States US Domestic and Home Care Workers Show How to Make Social Change Happen The Guardian . (16 December 2014)
By O'Hara, Mary.

The National Domestic Workers Alliance has made huge gains for the low paid, excluded from employment protections – and its vision could inspire others.

Colombia World Cities' Day . (31 October 2014)
By Hughes, Kendra.

October 31, 2014 marked the first World Cities Day celebration. World Cities Day was established by a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly in December of 2013. According to UN-HABITAT:


"World Cities Day is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and challenges in urbanization and contribute to sustainable urban development in cities and towns around the world."


The theme for the first every World Cities Day was "Leading Urban Transformation". To mark this day, Guardian Cities in partnership with UN-HABITAT held the World Cities Day Challenge. The Cities Day Challenge asked for representatives or organizations to submit a written description of their city's best idea in hopes that great ideas could be shared among cities around the world. The only caveat for the idea was that it had to be already or about to be implemented. From these submissions, 36 finalists were selected to present their city's idea in three-minute presentations which were followed by a question and answer session with a panel of judges and the public via a live blog and Twitter. Based on the questions and public response, a challenge winner was selected.


Federico Parra, WIEGO's Regional Coordinator for Waste Pickers in Latin America submitted an idea to the Cities Day Challenge for Bogota, Colombia related to efforts made to recognize and remunerate informal waste pickers. The submission, titled, "Let’s recognize, promote and compensate the work of waste pickers" was selected as one of the 36 finalists. On October 31st (the first ever World Cities Day), Federico presented Bogota's great idea - the recognition, promotion and remuneration of waste pickers via a video presentation and highlighted reasons why other cities should adopt Bogota's idea:


"Because recognizing waste pickers as an integral part of the solution to urban waste management, promoting their organizations, and remunerating their work, are crucial ways to make a more humane, more sustainable and more inclusive city."


Thanks to support for the project via social media and votes from the panel of judges, Federico's submission for Bogota was awarded third place in the Cities Day Challenge. First place was awarded to Porto Alegre's Gabriel Medeiros Gomes for Which Bus Stops Here – a project to create blank bus stickers on which city residents can write down bus route info while second place was awarded to Izmir's Can Sucuoglu for the floating docks project.


Federico's video presentation for the Cities Day Challenge which discussed Bogota's waste pickers can be found here.


Federico's submission and the judges' questions for the Cities Day Challenge can be read here.


Full coverage of the Cities Day Challenge via the Guardian Cities live blog can be found here.

United States MacArthur fellow Ai-jen Poo on why she fights for the rights of domestic workers Washington Post . (18 September 2014)
By Weiner, Joann.

Ai-jen Poo, Advocate of Domestic Workers, earns MacArthur awardAccording to the MacArthur Foundation, Poo’s “compelling vision of the value of home-based care work is transforming the landscape of working conditions and labor standards for domestic or private-household workers.”

Note: Ai-jen Poo is co-founder and director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (U.S.). The National Domestic Workers Alliance is a founding member of the recently formed International Domestic Workers Federation.


More news:

A Capstone in a Career Spent Fighting for the Rights of Domestic Workers

(New York Times, 21 Sept. 2014)

Ghana Ghana’s Biggest Labor Union to Hold Strike Over Economy Business Week . (24 July 2014)
By Dontoh , Ekow.

Ghana’s biggest labor group holds a strike today to demand President John Dramani Mahama do more to stem a slide in the cedi that’s fueling inflation and curbing economic growth.

Ghana There is a Limit to What We Can Contain -- TUC Spy Ghana . (23 July 2014)

KOFI ASAMOAH, secretary general of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has stressed that workers in the country are really peeved and so the Police Administration and the government should not attempt to prevent the mass demonstration that has been scheduled for tomorrow.

India Empowering Indian Women Through Employment The Guardian . (27 June 2014)
By Duncan, Natricia.

Ela Bhatt, Indian co-operative organiser and activist, on the challenges facing women in the informal economy