Five Blogs from 2017 that Take on Big Ideas for Informal Workers

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As a global research-policy-action network, WIEGO’s team members are in a unique position to lead debates and contribute grounded new ideas for improving the lives of informal workers across continents. Research units from our four core programmes – Law, Organization and Representation, Social Protection, Statistics and Urban Policies – regularly produce new research reports, policy papers, statistical briefs and workers resources to continue evolving understanding and perspectives on informal worker issues and potential actions. 

Many of these ideas are discussed throughout the year on the WIEGO Blog. Here are five articles from the last year that highlight key themes – from technology to global supply chains to universal health coverage – where new ideas grounded in the reality of informal workers could play a leading role in bettering their health, economic status, and workplaces. 


Technology at the bottom of the economic pyramid: What’s inhibiting uptake by informal workers?

By Kendra Hughes

Thu Jan 5, 2017

The consensus around the need for improved access to affordable technology belies the uneven uptake of technology among the working poor, despite increasing international emphasis and investment in its potential. To realize the SDGs and similar goals, there is a greater need to understand the specific barriers that have limited technological adoption by informal workers. 

In Spanish: Tecnología en la base de la pirámide económica: ¿Qué impide que llegue a los trabajadores y trabajadoras en empleo informal?


Protecting Homeworkers in Global Supply Chains: Evaluating the Rights-Based Approach

By Marlese von Broembsen

Mon Feb 13, 2017

Since the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza buildings in Bangladesh in 2013, the decent work deficits in global supply chains have enjoyed renewed focus. The question is how to regulate global value chains so that the retailers, most often in OECD countries, take responsibility for the human rights violations that are imbricated in their production processes, and how to ensure that such regulation includes the most marginalized workers at the bottom of the chains—homeworkers?

In French: La protection des travailleuses et des travailleurs à domicile dans les chaînes d'approvisionnement mondiales : évaluation de l'approche fondée sur les droits 

In Spanish: Protección de los y las trabajadoras a domicilio tercerizadas en las cadenas mundiales de suministro: evaluación del enfoque centrado en los derechos


Can informal employment actually reduce poverty?

By Mike Rogan & Paul Cichello

Thu Feb 16, 2017

Findings from South Africa suggest that supporting informal employment could help countries reach development goals.


The New “Gig Economy” Meets the Old Over Need for a Better Deal for Workers

By Martha (Marty) Chen

Mon Aug 7, 2017

A growing number of workers in developed countries are working without the traditional employer-employee relationship in the so-called “gig economy” – also referred to as the sharing or on-demand economy. This new economy has generated heated debates about the need for government regulation. But more fundamentally necessary are new ways to provide health insurance and health care, worker benefits and protections, and pensions and retirement savings to the on-demand workforce. 


Universal Health Coverage: An Informal Worker Perspective

By Laura Alfers

Mon Dec 11, 2017

Healthcare is a hot button issue around the world right now. As Universal Health Coverage (UHC) has become a rallying call for the global health movement, what’s really needed is to think through the realities with informal workers’ needs firmly in view.


Read more about our year in review: Five Blogs that Highlight Key Achievements for Informal Workers in 2017


Top photo: Waste pickers Liberia Mapesmoawe (left) and Justina Mokoena (right) are both waste pickers on the Boitshepi landfill in South Africa and members of the growing Majakathatha Cooperative. They sort through what the municipal and private trucks dump there, looking for valuable recyclables which they sell to a middleman. This provides them with an income and reduces the volume of waste buried in the landfill. The coop is fighting to have the price of recyclables regulated so that waste pickers receive fair payment for the glass, metal, plastic, and paper they remove from the landfill. Photo: Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images Reportage

Informal Economy Topic