Street & Market Vendors

Street Vendors, Africa

Strengthening the Global Movement of Street & Market Vendors

For a decade, WIEGO has worked closely with StreetNet International, which supports its local/national affiliates in promoting and protecting the rights of street and market vendors and increasing their voice and bargaining power. The project will build on and reinforce these growing relationships.

Street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers, the majority of whom are women in most countries, belong to one of the most marginalized groups in the economy. They live in extreme poverty, at a survivalist level with no income security, suffering daily harassment and a poor health situation, often dependent upon child labour, and in some countries experiencing the heavy impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on their families.

This collaborative project aims to build the organizational strength and bargaining-negotiating-advocacy capacity of StreetNet affiliates and assist them in achieving their goals for supportive urban laws, regulations, and policies, as well as for adequate housing, infrastructure, and other essential services. It will support the development of StreetNet affiliates’ abilities to foster the official recognition of street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers as workers.

Policymakers at the local, national and international levels will receive research findings, statistical data, and policy analysis to illuminate the issues faced by the urban working poor.
Membership-based organizations representing vendors will also receive the research and statistics, good practice examples, and policy analyses they require to help them pursue their activities and campaign objectives.

Further, the project will enable StreetNet to engage a third organizer. This position will enhance StreetNet's organizing capacity and focus attention on affiliate leaders’ understanding of the social solidarity economy, as well as lobbying and advocacy for inclusive pro-poor policies for the empowerment of informal traders by means of the New Manifesto Campaign.

Our vision of success for this project is that the working poor, especially women, in the urban informal economy will have an enhanced capacity to shape the urban policies and socio-physical environment in which they work by having increased organizational strength, representative voice, and official visibility.

Objectives of this Element

  • to improve the organizational strength and bargaining-negotiating-advocacy capacity of the membership-based organizations (MBOs) of street vendors and to assist them in achieving their needs and goals for supportive urban laws, regulations, and policies, as well as adequate housing, infrastructure, and other essential services
  • to provide the research and statistics, good practice examples, and policy analysis that the membership-based organizations (MBOs) of urban working poor need to pursue their activities and campaign objectives for 2012-2015
  • to educate key policymakers at the local, national, and international levels by disseminating research findings, statistical data, and policy analysis to illuminate the issues faced by the urban working poor
  • to raise awareness among policymakers of the need and benefits of including the urban working poor within an inclusive approach to city planning

Countries of Activity

Asia: Republic of Korea, India

Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Togo, Zimbabwe

Latin America: Argentina, Nicaragua

Eastern Europe: Azerbaijan, Moldova

Activities

Apart from planned activities such as workshops, leadership training for elected leaders and meetings with the target groups, the following more specific support activities will are planned:

  • assisting trade unions to organize street vendors in their countries
  • assisting street vendors’ organizations to form city or national alliances (i.e. assisting with communication costs or the costs of convening meetings of different street vendors’ organizations)
  • assisting street vendors’ organizations to achieve results in issue-based campaigning (both at local and national levels)
  • building a culture of independence and self-sufficiency among our affiliates, as well as stronger women’s leadership at every level

StreetNet affiliates will undertake a broad consultation process with members and potential members using a questionnaire and discussion guide and by holding focus group discussions and a national forum, accompanied by media dissemination about the New Manifesto campaign and lobbying of municipal and national authorities. StreetNet affiliates will draw up main priorities and forward to regional focal points for collection and crystallization.

Project activities are designed to produce strategic results in areas such as accountability and developing an informed and involved membership.

Partner

StreetNet International and some of its affiliates (as of August 2012, StreetNet had 48 affiliated organizations in 40 countries)