Examples of Good Practice

Over the course of 20 years working with and learning from membership-based organizations of informal workers representing diverse sectors in a range of different countries, we have built up an archive of examples of good and promising practice. The examples below represent both efforts that WIEGO supports, and efforts that we learned about through our MBO network. 

Innovative Legal and Policy Frameworks

National Legislation for Street Vendors

India’s National Policy on Urban Street Vendors (2004, revised in 2009) and Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act (2014)

India adopted a National Policy on Urban Street Vendors in 2004 with the objective to promote a supportive environment for street vendors to earn their livelihoods, while reducing congestion and maintaining sanitary conditions in public spaces. Implementation of the policy on the ground was uneven, but it served as a catalyst for groups of street vending organizations to mobilize around a common set of demands. Advocacy efforts (at the national level particularly the Self-Employed Women’s Association and the National Association of Street Vendors) ultimately led to the adoption of the first national legislation to support and regulate street vending – the 2014 Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act. The Act mandates that local vending committees should be set up in each local jurisdiction and that the cities have to negotiate with these local vending committees to determine where best to locate and how best to regulate street vending in each locale. 

Related Resources

India's National Policy on Urban Street VendorsSinha, Shalini and Sally Roever. 2011.
India’s National Policy on Urban Street Vendors
WIEGO Policy Brief (Urban Policies) No. 2
summary   |  download

Read more about street vendors and the law.

National Legislation for Homeworkers

Thailand’s Homeworker Protection Act
HomeNet Thailand, which forms part of HNSEA, has been at the forefront of national advocacy efforts calling for progressive legislation and protections for homeworkers. Over the course of 10 years, HomeNet Thailand, with supportive allies, campaigned for a national Act that would establish homeworkers’ labour rights and social protections. Eventually these efforts culminated in the passing of the innovative Homeworkers Protection Act in 2010, which provides wide-ranging and practical protections for homeworkers.

Related Resources

National Legislation for Waste Pickers

Inclusive Legal Framework for Waste Pickers in Brazil
Starting at the municipal level in the 1990’s, Brazil has moved to replaced repressive policies on waste picking with new inclusive policies that give legal backing to redistributive measures and social recognition of informal waste picker organizations. Some of these legal victories include: designation of “collector of recyclables” as a profession in the Brazilian Occupation Classification in 2001; removal of legal barriers for waste pickers associations and cooperatives to bid for public procurement contracts in 2007; and a Presidential Decree mandating that materials generated in source segregation schemes from all federal public buildings in Brazil be delivered to waste picker organizations in 2006. In 2010, a National Solid Waste Policy was adopted, which recognizes waste pickers cooperatives as services providers and institutes a number of mechanisms to support cooperatives and municipalities that integrate informal workers into solid waste systems. Together these and other legal victories have formed an enabling legal framework that has made Brazil one of the most progressive countries worldwide in its inclusive policies regarding waste pickers.

Related Resources

Legal Framework for Inclusion of Informal Recyclers in Solid Waste Management in BrazilDias,Sonia. 2011.
Overview of the Legal Framework for Inclusion of Informal Recyclers in Solid Waste Management in Brazil
WIEGO Policy Brief (Urban Policies) No. 6
summary  | download

Read about waste pickers and the law

International Convention for Domestic Workers

ILO Convention 189 on Domestic Work
In 2006, international organizing efforts for an international convention on domestic work began. With support from WIEGO and the global union federation IUF, the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN) was formed. Over the course of five years, the IDWN organized and advocated for a convention on domestic work, which ultimately led to the adoption of two international standards: Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (C.189) and Domestic Workers Recommendation, 2011 (R 201) at the International Labour Conference. The main achievement of the Convention is that domestic workers are unconditionally defined as workers. Under this treaty (if ratified by national governments), domestic workers enjoy the same protection by national labour laws and regulations, including inclusion into social protection schemes, as any other workers. Some articles provide special protection for certain categories of domestic workers - for example, live-in domestic workers or migrant domestic workers.

The Convention and Recommendation will not directly, or immediately, change the situation for domestic workers, but they provide a normative framework for organizations to work with governments and other partners legislate for their protection

Related Resources

How Domestic Workers Won International Rights and RecognitionMather, Celia. 2013.
“Yes, We Did it!” How the World’s Domestic Workers Won Their International Rights and Recognition

Inclusive Urban Planning, Policies and Models

Urban Markets

AeT and Market Traders of Warwick Junction Market
Warwick Junction market provides an example of how to include street trading in urban plans in a way that adds to the vitality and attraction of cities. At Warwick Junction, a small dedicated team of local authorities, street traders and their leaders have worked over the course of many years to create an inclusive, attractive and safe market in Durban’s inner city transport interchange. The work at Warwick Junction has been led by the non-profit organization Asiye eTafuleni, and has focused on comprehensive solutions in the areas of urban design, and urban management (crime and cleaning) and legal education, among other things.

Related Resources

Market Traders in DurbanConley, Pauline and AeT Staff. 2015.
Empowering Market Traders in Warwick Junction, Durban, South Africa.
Inclusive Cities Project, WIEGO.
summary  | download


Working in Warwick: Street Vendors in South AfricaDobson, Richard and Caroline Skinner. 2009.
Working in Warwick: Integrating Street Traders into Urban Plans.
Durban: University of KwaZulu-Natal
summary and chapter downloads

Street Vending Regulation

Public-Private-Community Partnership Model in Bhubaneshwar, India

After years of conflict between street traders and local authorities, the city of Bhubaneshwar, India developed a public, private and community partnership model for street vending. The model recognized the contributions of street traders to the city, and entailed dedicated and legally sanctioned vending zones in public space, as well as attractive fixed kiosks. The new model came about through an inclusive planning process, which began with joint planning of the conceptual model and ultimately resulted in the establishment of 54 vending zones.

Related Resources

Street Vending in BhubaneshwarKumar, Randhir. 2012.
The Regularization of Street Vending in Bhubaneshwar, India: A Policy Model
WIEGO Policy Brief (Urban Policies) No. 7
summary  | download

Pro-poor Street Vendor Ordinance in Lima, Peru
In 2014, the city of Lima adopted a new street trade ordinance favorable to informal workers. The new ordinance has a pro-poor approach, approves licenses for a period of two years, promotes formalization and growth of the business of the vendor, and seeks to build capacities of vendors while protecting also their health. Underlying the licensing regime is a commitment to encouraging vendors to save money and move toward formalization of their businesses over time, helping them achieve increased economic security. The City Council developed the ordinance through a participatory consultation process with more than 150 street vendors’ federations.

Learn more about the process leading to the adoption of the ordinance.

Inclusive Solid Waste Management

Legal Victories and a Payment Scheme for Recyclers in Bogotá Colombia
Over the course of many years, the Asociacion de Recicladores de Bogotá (Bogotá Waste Pickers Association) engaged in advocacy to efforts to gradually change government policies and practices around waste. At every step in the process, waste pickers had to overcome the interests of large private waste management consortiums and government officials who opposed change by using a combination of strategies, including legal action, developing policy proposals, forming alliances, and social mobilization. After a series of legal victories, in March 2013 a payment scheme went into effect in Bogotá that allowed waste pickers to be paid for their services in reclaiming recyclable materials, with payments funded from the fee charged to waste collection service users.

Related Resources

ARB Inclusive Model Abizaid, Olga. 2015.
ARB: Fighting for an Inclusive Model for Recycling in Bogota.  
Inclusive Cities Project. WIEGO.
summary  | download


Inclusive Programming and Recyclers in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Belo Horizonte has been a pioneer in managing solid waste in Brazil. Socio-environmental concerns, such as improving the existing systems and generating income for the poor, encouraged improvements in solid waste management (SWM) systems in the city. This led to the adoption of an integrated solid waste management model in 1993, with a focus on promoting segregation at the sources, in order to minimize the harmful environmental impact caused by the waste itself and maximize the social and economic benefits for the city. The new integrated system brought wide-reaching improvements. These included enhancements to the operations at the existing landfill; selective collection and a recycling programme for civil construction waste; composting of organics; environmental education; improving working conditions for formal workers (sweepers and collectors); and integrating informal workers into the formal SWM system.

Related Resources

Recycling in Belo Horizonte, BrazilDias, Sonia. 2011.

Recycling in Belo Horizonte, Brazil – An Overview of Inclusive Programming
WIEGO Policy Brief (Urban Policies) No. 3
summary   |  download
Integrating Informal Workers into Selective Waste Collection: Case Study, Belo Horizonte, BrazilDias, Sonia. 2011.
Integrating Informal Workers into Selective Waste Collection: The Case of Belo Horizonte, Brazil
WIEGO Policy Brief (Urban Policies) No. 4.
summary   |  download
Municipal Waste and Citizen Forum: Platform for Social Inclusion and ParticipationDias, Sonia. 2011.
The Municipal Waste and Citizenship Forum: A Platform for Social Inclusion and Participation
WIEGO Policy Brief (Urban Policies) No. 5
summary   |  download

Cooperative Development and Front-end Waste Management in Pune, India
Waste pickers in Pune, India, have organized to define a legitimate work space for themselves in municipal solid waste management, in ways that have improved their working conditions. Key to this effort was the unionization of informal self-employed waste pickers into the Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) in 1993. Thereafter, KKPKP spearheaded the battle of waste pickers, itinerant waste buyers and waste collectors to be recognized as workers.

The establishment in 2007 of a wholly worker-owned cooperative of waste pickers, itinerant waste buyers, waste collectors and other urban poor was an important milestone in KKPKP’s work. The cooperative is aptly christened SWaCH, an acronym for Solid Waste Collection Handling that also means clean, in the local language. Conceived as an autonomous social enterprise, SWaCH Seva Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit, as it is formally known, provides front-end waste management services to Pune City, with support from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)

Related Resources

Integrating Waste Pickers into Municipal Solid Waste Management in Pune, IndiaChikarmane, Poornima. 2012
Integrating Waste Pickers into Municipal Solid Waste Management in Pune, India
WIEGO Policy Brief (Urban Policies) No. 8
summary  | download

Informal Settlements

Mahila Housing SEWA Trust Approach to Slum Upgrading
Increased urbanization in India has meant more poor people live in hazardous conditions, lacking access to even basic facilities and services. In Ahmedabad, Gujarat, a large population lives within the city’s 1,000 slums. For informal workers whose homes double as their workplaces, shelter and services are crucial issues. In Ahmedabad, the Mahila Housing Trust, sister organization to the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), has partnered with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, international organizations and local residents to deliver a slum improvement programme that provides basic infrastructure, improving the life, health and well-being of residents.

Related Resources

Assessing Slum Upgrading Programme in Ahmedabad, IndiaRusling, Sara. 2010.
Approaches to Basic Service Delivery for the Working Poor: Assessing the Impact of Mahila Housing Trust’s Parivartan Slum Upgrading Programme in Ahmedabad, India
WIEGO Policy Brief (Urban Policies) No. 1
summary   |  download


Mixed-Use Zoning and Home-Based Production in IndiaNohn, Matthias. 2011.
Mixed-Use Zoning and Home-Based Production in India

WIEGO Technical Brief (Urban Policies) No. 3
summary  |  download pdf
Supporting Women Home-Based Workers in IndiaSinha, Shalini. 2013
Supporting Women Home-Based Workers: The Approach of the Self-Employed Women's Association in India
WIEGO Policy Brief (Urban Policies) No. 13
summary  | download
 Inclusive Cities. SEWA, Focus on Housing: Improving the Livelihoods of Informal Workers.

Social Protection

Health Insurance for Informal Workers

National Health Insurance and Informal Workers in Ghana
In 2003 the Ghanaian government introduced a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) – an, innovative and large scale attempt to extend, social protection to informal workers. Ghana's NHIS may hold important policy lessons for other countries where the informal economy is large and growing, and where informal workers are excluded from formal social protection.


Related Resources

Ghana Nat'l Health Insurance SchemeAlfers, Laura. 2012
The Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme: Assessing Access by Informal Workers
WIEGO Policy Brief (Social Protection) No. 9
summary  | download
Ghana Nat'l Health Insurance Scheme: Barriers for Informal WorkersAlfers, Laura. 2013
The Ghana National Health Insurance Scheme: Barriers to Access for Informal Workers

WIEGO Working Paper (Social Protection) No. 30
summary | download pdf

Occupational Health and Safety

Mobilizing for Improved Conditions in Accra, Ghana
In Accra, Ghana two traders’ associations—the Makola Market Traders Union (MMTU) and the Ga East Traders Union (GETU)—worked over the course of years to mobilize other traders to collectively demand improved occupational health and safety (OHS) from the municipality. They conducted a study on OHS issues, disseminated information, and strengthened workers’ skills in engaging with local authorities through workshops.

Related Resources

OHS for Market Traders in Accra, GhanaDogbe Dzidzinyo, Tony and Suki Annan. 2015
Better OHS for Market Traders and Street Vendors in Accra, Ghana
Inclusive Cities Project
summary | download pdf

Universal Coverage in Thailand
In 2002, the Thai government introduced the Universal Coverage (UC) scheme where, for a payment of 30 Baht per visit or procedure, all Thai citizens could access health services. In 2007, the government put an end to this 30 Baht co-payment and instituted universally free public health services funded by general taxation.

An important aspect that has been integral to the scheme’s success was the participatory approach to policy development and implementation that was adopted by the advocates of universal healthcare in Thailand. Civil society groups, including informal worker organizations, were heavily involved in the campaign for the UC scheme and have continued to be included in its implementation and monitoring.

Related Resources

Lessons from Thailand's Universal Coverage SchemeAlfers, Laura and Francie Lund. 2012
Participatory Policy Making: Lessons from Thailand's Universal Coverage Scheme
WIEGO Policy Brief (Social Protection) No. 11
summary  |  download

For more information on these and other cases see Compendium of WIEGO and SEWA Case Studies.

Additional Cases

Inclusive Cities

Law & Informality

Other Cases