Informal Economy Podcasts

Photo: Podcast host Cyrus Afshar (photo by R. Hernandez)

WIEGO’s podcast explores some of the most pressing issues faced by the world’s informal workers. It features experts from around the globe.

Top photo: Podcast host Cyrus Afshar.  Credit: Roberto Hernandez

More than half the world’s workforce lacks social protection. Informal workers (such as domestic workers, waste pickers, street vendors and home-based workers) typically earn little and carry big risks. Without social protection, they are extremely vulnerable to income losses and struggle to cope after a negative event or change (e.g. illness, disaster, injury).

From the future of work to the necessity of child care and universal health care, from local policy to international standards, this podcast discusses how informal workers can access better livelihood protection.

Episode #16 - Challenges to Protect Informal Workers' Livelihoods in Peru and Mexico (June 30, 2020)

Carmen Roca and Tania Espinoza help us understand how the livelihoods of informal workers are being affected in two of the countries in Latin America most hit by the COVID-19 crisis: Mexico and Peru. They analyze the main challenges on the implementation of the emergency cash-grant policies to protect informal workers' income, the problems of government responses and some of the possible solutions to address these issues.

Episode #15 - Lessons from Government Responses to Protect Informal Workers with Valentina Barca (May 26, 2020)

Episode #14 - Impact of the Global Pandemic on Informal Workers (May 2, 2020)

Episode #13 - Sally Roever Talks About Protecting Informal Workers in the Pandemic (April 1, 2020)

Episode #12 - Child Care Models for Informal Women Workers (March 3, 2020)


Episode #11 - Statistics, Social Protection and the Informal Economy (January 29, 2020)

Françoise Carré and Francie Lund talk numbers in this episode. Statistics are a powerful tool to shed light on the informal economy, and to make informal workers visible in policy arenas. This episode explores the linkages between social protection and statistics, the challenges, limitations and the most recent research.

November 21, 2019

#10 The Future of Work and the Missing Middle 

In this episode, we invite Christina Behrendt, head of the Social Policy Unit at the ILO, to talk about the relations between the Future of Work and the challenges to extend social protection to the so-called “missing middle” – the workers in the informal economy.

October 30, 2019

#09 Social Protection For Informal Workers in Togo

This episode offers an interview with Liliane Napoe of the Danish Trade Union Development Agency. Liliane is the International Adviser and Head of the West African sub-regional office, based in Lomé where she has been supporting informal workers in their efforts to expand social protection and to form a coalition to push for social rights for informal workers.

October 1, 2019

#08 Universal Health Coverage in Southeast Asia

WIEGO’s Social Protection programme director, Laura Alfers, was in Bangkok, Thailand, for the Association of South East Asian Nations People’s Forum (ASEAN People’s Forum), where civil society organization representatives gathered to prepare for the ASEAN Summit.

August 12, 2019

#07 Formalizing the Informal - The R204 Process

In 2015, the ILO’s International Labour Conference adopted the Recommendation about the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy, known as R204. Jane Barrett, WIEGO's Director of Organization & Representation, talks about what R204 is and why it matters  that governments get it right.


July 11, 2019

#06 Co-production of Social Services for Informal Workers

Who should bear the main burden of social service: the state, the private sector, NGOs, communities or individuals? This complex discussion is central to questions of inequality. To contribute to this debate, Laura Alfers published a paper for the UNRISD Conference “Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization” that took place in Geneva, and she talks with us about the issues.

June 10, 2019

#05 Domestic Workers and Violence in the Workplace

Violence and harassment in the workplace affect many workers all over the world, especially women. It is such a pervasive phenomenon that it was included in the agenda of the next International Labour Conference, which will take place in Geneva, where the issue will be up for a second round of discussions with a view to the adoption of an ILO convention.


May 10, 2019

#04 Child Care and the Informal Economy

Child care is often regarded as part of the education policy, centred on early childhood care and development. But child care is also the provision of a service that has a close relation to social protection and women's economic empowerment.

April 7, 2019

#03 Occupational Health and Safety and Waste Pickers

World Health Day is celebrated on April 7th. To mark this date, this episode examines a crucial issue: occupational health and safety. Health and safety measures at work play an important role in workers' quality of life and their capacity to have a steady and sustainable livelihood. And this is even more crucial for informal workers, who are often left out of regulations that assure a safe work environment.


#02 Urban Infrastructure, Social Protection and Women Informal Workers

March is the month when International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world. It is also when the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, CSW, holds its annual session in New York. This year, the priority theme is: “Social Protection Systems, Access to Public Services and Sustainable Infrastructure for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls”. This episode addresses specific issues that women informal workers face.


#01 Informal Economy and Social Protection

In this first episode, we discuss some of the more fundamental and general issues about social protection and informal employment.

Informal Economy Theme