Sanitation Workers Forum

Caption: Cooperative worker in Belo Horizonte city - women are the backbone of the cooperative movement in Brazil (picture taken before the outbreak of COVID-19). Credit: Sonia Dias archives
2 December 2021 - 2 December 2021

11.30 a.m. – 1 p.m. GMT

This forum will provide insights on how sanitation workers’ needs regarding occupational health and safety can be drawn from surveys of informal workers done for the WIEGO-led COVID-19 Crisis on Cooperatives in Brazil and the Informal Economy 12-city study, as well as from WIEGO's Cata Saúde Online COVID-19 capacity building course.


The working and living conditions of sanitation workers – men, women and children engaged in the handling and management of human faecal matter across the globe – are receiving increasing attention in the spheres of research, policy and practice. Sanitation workers in many countries often face a myriad of challenges: exposure to health risks; inadequate safety protections; low and irregular pay; limited access to financial opportunities; and social stigma and discrimination. 

Learn about WIEGO's work to extend social protection to informal workers

Community members, researchers, activists and policy makers are calling for improved conditions for sanitation workers; the promotion of decent work; alternative skills development; and, in some cases, rehabilitation.

Despite some global progress, hazardous and degrading forms of sanitation work persist. Knowledge gaps remain about sanitation work globally, including information about workers' everyday lives; effective forms of intervention; health and safety best practices; and alternative livelihood options.

This forum aims to address some of these critical knowledge gaps by raising the visibility of sanitation workers and fostering discussion and collaboration in activism, research, policy and practice.


1. Share knowledge and good practices about sanitation workers globally.

2. Build a community of practice that includes sanitation worker representatives, activists, policy makers, practitioners, students and academics.

3. Discuss and prioritize areas of research, policy and practice.

More Information


Informal Economy Theme
Informal Economy Topic
Occupational group