Organization & Representation in the Informal Economy

Pr Page Block: Statistics

Pr Page Block: Global Trade

Pr page Block: Social Protection

Pr Page Block: Urban Policies

Core Programmes

For each of its programme areas, WIEGO commissions issues papers to identify programme, research and policy priorities. It then convenes workshops of grassroots, research and policy actors. Collaborating institutions and individuals undertake component activities.

Organization and Representation

When workers are organized into strong membership-based organizations (MBOs), they can negotiate for decent work and secure livelihoods. ORP works with informal workers’ organizations and networks to help them achieve the elements for success, including: robust membership; effective elected leaders; accountable, democratic structures; and increasing financial self-sufficiency.


The Statistics Programme collaborates with official statisticians at international, regional and national levels to develop data needed by informal worker organizations to make visible the size and significance of the informal economy and to prepare data in formats accessible to a wide set of users, including policymakers, researchers and advocates. It also promotes data-based research on informal sector, informal employment and related topics.


Enabling laws and policies can improve informal livelihoods. The Law Programme (often partnering other WIEGO programmes) provides MBOs with research, resources, training and technical assistance to support their negotiations for legal change at local, national and global levels. Through research and advocacy, we seek to bring visibility to, and establish the viability of, informal workers in global human rights, labour law, and development scholarship, as well as in global policy frameworks and debates.

Social Protection

Few informal workers - whether waged or self-employed - have access to social protection, which is a right for all workers. Informal workers want access to health services, income security when they are older, and access to quality child care. The Social Protection Programme works to inform policy debates through its research and enhance the ability of informal worker organizations to advocate for social protection.

Urban Policies

The majority of people live in urban areas. In the global South, most urban workers make their livelihoods in the informal economy.
The Urban Policies Programme strives to ensure informal workers and their advocates, urban planners and researchers, have tactical information, hard evidence, tools and participation opportunities to transform urban systems so that informal workers have better incomes, secure places to live and work, and the capacity to negotiate sustainable gains in urban policies and practices.

Special Initiatives

In addition to the five core programmes, WIEGO works on activities related to the informal economy. These activities also include cross-programmatic collaborations.