Core Programmes

Organization & 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 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 programme strives to ensure informal workers, advocates, urban planners and researchers have the tactical evidence, tools and opportunities needed 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

Outside its five core programmes, WIEGO works on activities related to the informal economy.

These include

Activities often involve cross-programmatic collaborations.


WIEGO's Programmes often work together to increase their impact, and draw on a wealth of knowledge from experts, researchers and ground-level activists. All of WIEGO's work is done in close collaboration with, and driven by the needs of informal workers' membership-based organizations.

In each programme area, 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.