Job Posting: Urban Policies Programme Director

Join WIEGO as our Urban Policies Programme Director 

WIEGO is seeking an Urban Policies Programme Director. As an integral member of the WIEGO Programme Team, the Urban Policies Programme Director will work collaboratively with other WIEGO Team Members, including the WIEGO Research Team, as well as partners (especially membership-based organizations of informal workers) and consultants. 

WIEGO functions as a virtual team and as such, this position can be based anywhere in the world with good internet access. Women from the Global South are especially encouraged to apply.

Deadline to apply is January 19, 2018.


Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) is a network that consists of individuals and institutions from three broad constituencies: membership-based organizations (MBOs) of informal workers such as trade unions, cooperatives, and worker associations; researchers and statisticians who carry out research, data collection, or data analysis on the informal economy; and practitioners from development agencies (inter-governmental, governmental, and non-governmental) who provide services to or shape policies towards the informal workforce.  

WIEGO seeks to increase the voice, visibility and validity of the working poor, especially women:

  • Increased Voice – WIEGO works to support and strengthen membership-based organizations of the working poor (MBOs) and to link organizations together. We also help them gain representation in the policy-making and rule-setting bodies that affect their work and lives.
  • Increased Visibility – WIEGO undertakes and sponsors research and helps to develop and improve official statistics on informal employment and the informal economy. We produce a publication series and maintain a web resource on the informal economy (
  • Increased Validity – WIEGO promotes the mainstream recognition of informal workers as legitimate economic agents who contribute to the overall economy and are legitimate beneficiaries of economic and social policies. We also advance the incorporation of informal workers into policy-influencing and rule-setting processes.

WIEGO has five core programmes: 

  • Organization & Representation
  • Statistics
  • Law
  • Social Protection
  • Urban Policies

Urban Policies Programme

The ability of cities to generate more and better employment has become a major concern in the wake of recent financial crises and their legacy of jobless growth. The need to create more jobs is clear, but there is also a need to preserve and enhance existing livelihoods. WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme is motivated by a concern that despite the need to strengthen existing livelihoods in cities, mainstream urban planning paradigms bias investments toward elites and leave the urban working poor behind. WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme aims to transform urban systems so that the working poor in the informal economy have higher and more stable incomes; secure places to live and work; and the capacity to negotiate sustainable gains in urban policies, planning and implementation. 

The Urban Policies Programme Director will be a member of the WIEGO Programme Team, reporting to the WIEGO International Coordinator.  S/he will work collaboratively with other WIEGO Team Members, including the WIEGO Research Team, as well as partners (especially membership-based organizations of informal workers) and consultants.

Urban Policies Programme Objectives

The Urban Policies Programme aims to generate and disseminate research that leads to better outcomes for urban informal workers and their livelihoods; formulate, alongside local and global MBOs of informal workers and allies, alternative practices of inclusion and participation of urban informal workers (especially women) in urban policy, planning and design; develop and implement viable models and mechanisms of inclusion; and strengthen existing, and create new, engagements for organizations of informal workers in local, national and international urban policy-making and rule-setting institutions.

More specifically, WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme aims to:

  • Analyse and make visible the segmentation within the informal economy; the types of constraints on productivity of the different segments that are typically ignored in mainstream debates; the links between the formal and informal economies; and the ways in which these linkages create or enforce unequal terms of trade, transferring risk from more powerful actors to informal workers.
  • Bring urban regulations and their relationship to the self-employed to global policy agendas; bring visibility to the ways in which regulations adversely affect different categories of informal workers; link appropriate regulation — through the perspective of informal workers — to the segmentation debate; and produce original research to inform the advocacy efforts of MBOs in cities where the dominant narrative frames informal workers as evaders.
  • Contribute to a better understanding of taxation at the base of the economic pyramid.
  • Counter dominant growth-oriented narratives by linking our empirical work to an alternative narrative grounded in social and economic justice; contribute to alternative economic models (e.g. circular, social and solidarity economies); and bring credible evidence to bear on MBOs’ engagements with city officials so as to use the gains made in international agreements (SDGs, the New Urban Agenda and Recommendation 204) to protect their members’ livelihoods.
  • Put MBOs in a stronger position as they negotiate better access to infrastructure, public space, housing and transport through the production of practical tools based on our research and experience.
  • Support theory-building from the “Global South” by strengthening our case study methods in coordination with our city-level work; contribute to the growing body of knowledge on participatory democracy and civic engagement; develop participatory research methods including documenting how workers have developed key demands; and support more in-depth discussion on tools and strategies used in varying contexts.

Scope of Work

WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme (UPP) involves coordination of work primarily within and across Asia, Latin America, and Africa. In addition, the Programme entails participation in events organized by WIEGO and its partners in various locations. Its focus is on three primary occupational sectors: home-based workers, street vendors and waste pickers. 

Key Functions and Activities

  • Programme activities: Develop, oversee and directly participate in projects and activities designed to support UPP’s objectives, including research, local and global advocacy, and policy analysis. UPP’s research includes both primary data collection and secondary data analysis, and is undertaken in conjunction with MBO partners.
  • Coordination and management: Overall coordination and management of the Urban Policies Programme, including planning, budgeting and budget management, supervision of team members and consultants, and collaboration with other WIEGO team members and Programmes.
  • Relationship building: Build and maintain positive relationships with relevant urban actors, including national, regional or international agencies; alliances and networks; and academic units. Participate in events organized by relevant urban actors or by WIEGO, and attend visits by and to partner and allied organizations. 
  • Intellectual influence on urban policy discourses: Identify and engage with significant global, regional, national and city-level meetings and networks on urban policy and practice so as to insert the concerns, perceptions and needs of urban informal workers to strengthen their voice, visibility and validity. Produce original research that brings new knowledge and insight to key defining debates in the urban arena.
  • Fundraising: Identify and pursue sources of funding for UPP activities, in consultation with the WIEGO fundraising team.
  • Communications: Frame issues regarding urban policies for informal workers; write and disseminate reports, working papers, journal articles, op-eds and blogs, as well as the UPP pages of the WIEGO website.
  • WIEGO activities: Participate and contribute to WIEGO activities including team retreats, programme team meetings, general assemblies, strategic planning and evaluation activities, board meetings and others as required.

While the Director has overall responsibility for these activities, the lead in implementation of some activities may be delegated to other members of the WIEGO Urban Policies team with particular expertise and experience in the area. Thus, the candidate does not necessarily have to have expertise in all areas, and the division of responsibilities may be open to negotiation.

Skills and Qualifications

Essential qualities and skills are:

  • Knowledge of, and direct experience in, the field of urban policies, local government or urban planning, with a labour / employment perspective and experience working with non-elites.
  • Knowledge and direct experience of engaging in policy-influencing processes at a high level.
  • Skills in coordination and management, including project management, budgeting and budget monitoring, and supervision of other team members.
  • Skills in building and maintaining relationships and responding appropriately to ever-changing situations.
  • Knowledge and skills to carry out relevant research to write for diverse audiences, to develop capacity building materials, and to provide technical and strategic advice (or ability/knowledge to oversee these activities).

Ideally the candidate would:

  • Be known internationally as a scholar who has contributed directly to the development of urban policies, or an activist in the field of urban policies.
  • Have a post graduate qualification—a PhD or substantial progress towards a PhD and a commitment to complete—in a directly relevant discipline (such as, but not limited to, urban planning, architecture, sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, or development studies).
  • Have experience working with or on behalf of informal workers, ideally with one or more of the sectors of informal workers who are the focus of WIEGO’s work: domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors and waste pickers.
  • Be able to travel extensively.

Women from the Global South are especially encouraged to apply.

Terms and Conditions

WIEGO functions as a virtual team, so the person recruited for this position can be based anywhere in the world with good internet access.

The person recruited will be contracted as a self-employed consultant on an annual renewable contract, as are nearly all WIEGO team members. The position can be part or full-time, depending on the candidate’s circumstances, but normally requires at least 75 per cent time commitment. 

Applications should include a CV, references and a cover letter stating interest and key qualifications for the position. Please send to by January 19, 2018.