Renana Jhabvala is the National Coordinator of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) of India, Chair of SEWA Bharat and co-founder and board chair of WIEGO. She received a BSc in Mathematics from Hindu College, University of Delhi and a BA in Mathematics from Harvard University. She did post-graduate studies in economics at Yale University She las a long and distinguished career in organizing working women in India into trade unions and cooperatives, engaging on policy issues, and writing about the informal economy. Her publications on the informal economy in India include include: Informal Economy Centrestage: New Structures of Employment, which she co-edited with Ratna M. Sudarshan and Jeemol Unni; and The Unorganised Sector: Work Security and Social Protection, which she co-edited with R.K.A. Subramanya. She recently served as the Chancellor of Gandhigram Rural Institute, a Deemed University in Tamil Nadu, India. Among other awards, she was awarded a Padma Shri from the Government of India in 1990 for her contributions in the field of social work. See Renana's full curriculum vitae.
Barbro Budin is the Gender Equality and Projects Officer at the global union federation, IUF, based in Geneva. She has spent most of her working life working for the IUF: from 1974-1977 and from 1982 to present. She has also worked for short periods in the hotel sector, for the Swedish National Association of Farmers as well as in the Human Resources Department of a French Multinational company.
Barbro has wide experience of the different sectors and different regions that make up the IUF, travelling frequently to different countries and to work with different IUF projects. She speaks several languages: Swedish, French, Spanish, English. Her main focus areas are gender equality, project coordination and trade union development, and responsibility for Nordic Unions.
In 2007 Barbro was instrumental in ensuring that the developing network of domestic workers (International Domestic Workers’ Network – IDWN) found an organizational base within the IUF. She now plays a key role in managing and promoting the domestic workers' project within the IUF and providing support, technical advice and political direction to the IDWN, in collaboration with the Steering Committee and the Interim International Coordinator. Barbro also plays a very active and important role in the ITUC Equality Committee, and in 2009 she joined the WIEGO Advisory Committee for the Organization and Representation Programme.
Gabriela Calandria Alvarez has been a self-employed worker for 30 years. She founded AFFE Uruguay (the Association of Sideshow Workers at Special Fairs) in 1990; the association was legally registered in 1996. AFFE has been an affiliate of StreetNet International since its formation. It strives to promote the dignity of self-employed workers.
Gabriela, the mother of two now-grown children, has contributed to the creation of social protection laws for self-employed workers. She fights from a gendered perspective to facilitate a process that has contributed to changes in the condition and status of women in their bargaining power, such that they have gained political, economic and social autonomy.
Debra Davis is a US certified public accountant and holds a Masters in Business Administration. She was born and raised in the United States but has lived predominately in the United Kingdom since 1990. In 2002, she retired as a partner in the consulting firm Deloitte after a successful 18 year career. While at Deloitte, she worked with corporations involved in international business.
Since leaving Deloitte, Debra has played financial management and treasury leadership roles in a variety of settings. She is especially interested in social investment and gender issues, and currently holds a portfolio of directorships and trusteeships for organisations active in these areas. Debra also volunteers as a Business Mentor for the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, a charity in the UK which helps young people wishing to set up their own business.
Luciana Itikawa has a post-doctorate in Brazilian Studies and a doctorate in Environmental and Urban Infrastructure from the University of Sao Paulo, which included a period as a Visiting Scholar at the Columbia University and the University of California in Los Angeles, granted by the Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP). She is a Labor Economics and Union Studies post-graduate specialist from the School of Economics at the University of Campinas. Her research interests include employment, the informal economy, gender, and urban planning. She published her post-doctorate research findings: Women in the periphery of urban planning: subordinated informality, detached autonomy and resistance in Sao Paulo, Mumbai and Durban, granted with a scholarship from the Latin American Social Sciences Council (CLACSO). She also coordinated a 3-year project Informal Labor and the Right to the City, a threefold research-advocacy-organizing strategy, financed by the European Commission.
She worked in Japan, granted with a scholarship by the Kochi Prefecture in participatory urban planning. She has worked on many initiatives organized by Streetnet and WIEGO, and has served on a number of international urban planning and informal economy conferences.
Lin Lean Lim, an independent consultant, is a development economist by training. She retired from the International Labour Organization at the end of 2008, after serving for 20 years. From 2007-2008, she developed the ILO global programme to make decent work a central objective of development policies, as part of the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. From 2004-2006, she was Deputy Regional Director of the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, where her responsibilities included the supervision of regional programmes in areas such as labour migration, youth employment, labour market governance and local economic development.
From 1994 through 2004, Lin's positions at ILO Headquarters involved providing policy advice, implementing projects and conducting research dealing mainly with gender issues and the protection of vulnerable women workers and informal economy issues. She wrote the technical report and served as the Secretary-General’s representative for the 2002 International Labour Conference discussion on Decent Work and the Informal Economy. The ILC resolution was a major breakthrough in terms of the technical approach and global programmes on the informal economy. She was also responsible for an ILO global programme on More and Better Jobs for Women. Before joining the ILO, she was Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Malaya and Visiting Fellow at several other universities. She is the author of several books, journal articles and technical reports.
Patrick Ndlovu’s 30-year career working with informal workers began during his first career as a Metro Police Officer – enforcing bylaws against informal traders. He later worked as an Area Manager for the eThekwini municipality, providing administration, dispute resolution and social facilitation for traders. He left the city in 2006 to co-found Asiye eTafuleni (a non-profit organization based in Durban South Africa that develops and promotes good practice and process around inclusive urban planning & design) and to focus on offering community development and social facilitation services to the informal economy. Patrick’s skill and experience with social facilitation and informal workers have been recognized globally.
Uma Rani is Senior Economist at the Research Department with the International Labour Organization (ILO), which she joined in 2008. She is part of the ILO Technical Secretariat for the Commission on Future of Work and is actively engaged in the deliberations and discussions. She holds a PhD in Development Economics from University of Hyderabad, India. Prior to joining the ILO, she worked as an Associate Professor at Gujarat Institute of Development Research, Ahmedabad, India and also taught at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, India. She has held Visiting Fellow positions at Institute of Developing Economies, Japan; ETH-NADEL, Zürich and Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement, Paris to undertake research on informal employment, precarious and non-standard forms of work. Her main research interest lies in development economics, the informal sector, minimum wages, social policies and gender. She has published widely in journals and edited volumes, and has co-authored a number of books.
In 2013, she led a research project on comparative international minimum wage research and one of the articles published in the International Labour Review. “Minimum wage coverage and compliance in developing countries” in 2013 had a policy impact as it was extensively cited and used by the National Minimum Wage Panel that was set up in South Africa to formulate recommendations to the Deputy President for national minimum wages. A long-standing member of WIEGO, her current research focuses on minimum wages, income inequality, global supply chains in electronics sector and the platform economy with a focus on informal and precarious employment.
William "Biff" Steel
William "Biff" Steel is one of the founding members of WIEGO, and has participated actively in the Steering Committee/Board, Management and Finance Committees. He currently lives in Accra, Ghana, teaching part-time at the University of Ghana and consulting for the World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and others. At the end of 2005, he retired as Senior Adviser in the Africa Region Private Sector Group of the World Bank, where he had worked since 1983, specializing in small enterprise development and microfinance. He led a WIEGO team in preparing the Diagnostic Framework for the World Bank’s study on Raising Productivity and Reducing Risks of Household Enterprises in six African countries.
As Co-Chair of the Committee of Donor Agencies for Small Enterprise Development (1991-2004), he led the development of Guiding Principles for donor support both for microfinance (1995) and for business development services (2001). He has published numerous studies, articles and books on small enterprise development, informal financial markets, microfinance regulation, informal workers, employment of women, and industrial adjustment. He previously taught economics at Vanderbilt University and the University of Ghana, and he has served as an Advisor in the African Development Bank and the Indonesia National Planning Agency.
Past Board of Directors
Ela Bhatt is founder of the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and served as the General Secretary of SEWA from 1972- 1996. She served as chair of the WIEGO Steering Committee until 2005. A lawyer by training, Ms. Bhatt is a respected leader of the international labour, cooperative, women and micro-finance movements who has won several national and international awards. She was one of the founders of Women’s World Banking and previously served as Chair of the International Alliance of Homebased Workers [HomeNet], of the International Alliance of Street Vendors [StreetNet], and of WIEGO. She also served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. Most recently, she authored the book, We Are Poor but So Many: The Story of Self-Employed Women in India.
Kofi Asamoah has been the Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC)of Ghana since 2008. Prior to holding this position, Kofi previously served as the Deputy Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress of Ghana from 2000-2008. He was before then the Deputy General Secretary (1988-1996) and then the General Secretary (1996-2000) of the Maritime and Dockworkers Union of the Trades Union Congress of Ghana. During this period he also served as the President of Dockworkers ITF in Africa and later Vice President of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) globally. Kofi currently serves on Boards of public organizations in Ghana representing working people including the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), a national Pensions Organization and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA). Kofi is a Titular Member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Juliana Brown Afari
Juliana Brown Afari has been a market vendor for the last 28 years – 4 years as a petty trader in Monrovia during the war, and the rest in the Makola Market in Ghana. A committed leader in the defense of informal workers and funding member of StreetNet International in Zimbabwe, Juliana has extensive trade union experience both at the national and international level. In 1999, she joined Makola Market Traders Union – that affiliated to TUC Ghana a year later. She was an organizer for StreetNet Ghana Alliance (now the Informal Hawkers and Vendors Association of Ghana, IHVAG), became elected its first secretary in 2005 and four years later was elected National Coordinator.
In 2007 she was elected to the international Council of StreetNet International. In 2010 she was appointed as Member Auditor of StreetNet International and was elected Vice President in 2013 at StreetNet’s Congress in Chile. She has participated in several executive boards for various organizations, including Womens’ Right in Ghana, NETRIGHT (a network that promotes women’s basic rights) and the Informal Workers Association (CWA-TUC Ghana). She is also a member of West African Women in Peace Mediation.
Marilyn Carr is development economist undertaking consultancies in: gender, trade and export promotion; women in the informal economy; women and non-timber forest products; and gender, science and technology. From 1998 to 2005, she was Director of the Global Markets Programme of WIEGO and until 2006 she served on the WIEGO Steering Committee. She has been a Research Associate at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK; a Research Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies; a Senior Research Fellow at the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa; and a Visiting Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development, London. She also was Senior Economic Adviser for UNIFEM, New York and Regional Director, UNIFEM, Harare; Senior Economist with ITDG in London; and worked on gender, technology and small business development throughout Africa with the Women's Centre of the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa. She has written or edited 10 books and published several monographs and articles in her specialist areas.
Jacques Charmes is an economist and statistician. Currently Director of the Département Sociétés et Santé at L’Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD, formerly ORSTOM), he is also teaching economics at the University of Versailles and at the Institute for Political Science in Paris. He has been involved in the design and analysis of many labour force, living standards and informal sector surveys in Africa, North and South of Sahara. He has written several articles, reports and manuals on the measurement of informal sector in labour force and National Accounts, with a special emphasis on women. He has participated in many UN and World Bankprogrammes and activities on these topics, especially: the new international definition of the informal sector adopted in 1993 (15th International Conference of Labour Statisticians, ICLS), the definition of informal employment (17th ICLS, 2003), the handbook on the household sector accounts for the implementation of the new System of National Accounts, the handbook on measurement of the non-observed economy (OECD), the World’s Women statistics compilations, and national human development reports in various regions. Recently he has been involved in two large programmes with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (African Centre for Gender and Development): the African Gender and Development Index (AGDI) and the “guidebook for mainstreaming gender perspectives and household production into national statistics, budgets and policies in Africa.”
Jose del Valle Perez was born in Mexico on December 19, 1946. He received a degree in law (barrister) from the Escuela Libre de Derecho. Since 1968, he has been active in union life, first as an advisor and in 1985 he began working with CROC (the Revolutionary Confederation of Workers and Farmers or Confederacion Revolucionaria de Obreros y Campesions en español) where he was elected to Secretary General of the Sindicate of Graphic Arts and Secretary General of the National Federation of Refreshment Workers. Within the structure of CROC, he was elected to Secretary of International Affairs and Policies. He has attended numerous international congresses, seminars, and workshops. He has taken part in the International Labour Conferences at the ILO for the past 10 years. At present, he is a member of the Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU in English or CIOSL en español). He has held many public roles within the administration of the government of Mexico, as well as many public posts within the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Dan Gallin is Chair of the Global Labour Institute (GLI), a foundation established in 1997 with a secretariat in Geneva. The GLI investigates the consequences of the globalization of the world economy for workers and trade unions, develops and proposes counterstrategies and promotes international thought and action in the labour movement. Gallin worked from August 1960 until April 1997 for the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant and Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF), since 1968 as General Secretary.
He was born in 1931 as a Romanian citizen, became stateless in 1949 and was granted Swiss citizenship in 1969. He studied political science and sociology in the United States and in Switzerland and lives, since 1953, in Geneva. He joined the socialist movement as a student in the United States in 1951 and has been a member of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party since 1955. He is a member of the Swiss General Workers' Union (UNIA) and has been a member of one of its predecessors, the Swiss Commercial, Transport and Food Workers' Union, since 1960.
He has served as President of the International Federation of Workers' Education Associations (IFWEA) from 1992 to 2003 and served as Director of the Organization and Representation Programme (ORP) of WIEGO from June 30, 2000 to July 31, 2002. He continues to serve on the Advisory Committee of the WIEGO ORP.
He is currently researching union organizations of women workers in the informal economy, labour movement history and issues of policy and organization in the international trade union movement.
Fandy Clarisse Gnahoui
Clarisse is the Treasurer of the Trade Union for vendors at the Dantokpa Usynvepid Market; and President of the Benin women traders’ group called Axissinon Kpan Akon; Second Assistant Secretary General of the Benin Vendors and Other Informal Economy Confederation (CSPIB); and Vice-President of the International Committee of StreetNet International. She sells stationery, fabrics and other items at the international market in Dantokpa in Cotonou, Benin. She has a 1st A Secondary class education.
Read Clarisse's analysis of the state of the informal economy in Benin.
Pat Horn is the International Co-ordinator of StreetNet International, an international federation which has been formed to promote and protect the rights of street vendors around the world. An experienced trade unionist and activist in the women’s movement, her work now focuses principally on the issues of workers in the informal economy, with a specialization in the areas of work of the street vending sector, such as urban policies and the own-account labour market. StreetNet International has almost 200,000 members in 19 affiliated organizations in 17 countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Prior to starting in 2000 to work full-time on the launch of StreetNet International, Ms Horn worked as a trade unionist from 1976 - 1991 in the emerging independent trade union movement in Apartheid South Africa (which became COSATU - Congress of South African Trade Unions in 1985) and as a women’s activist in the African National Congress (ANC) Women's League when it launched its democratic structures on the ground in the early 1990s. From 1993 she merged these two experiences into founding the Self-Employed Women's Union (SEWU), which organized women in the informal economy into a new kind of trade unionism in five regions of South Africa from 1994 - 2004.
Ravi Kanbur was born in India and brought up in India and in England. He did his University education in economics at Cambridge (undergraduate) and Oxford (doctorate). After his doctorate he taught for 10 years at the Universities of Cambridge, Essex, Princeton and Warwick before joining the World Bank.
The positions he held at the World Bank included Head of the Ghana Field Office, Chief Economist for Africa, and Principal Adviser to the Chief Economist of the World Bank (Joseph Stiglitz). As Chief Economist for Africa, he was a member of the joint World Bank/IMF task force that designed the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative. After eight years at the World Bank he returned to academia, to a Chair at Cornell University, where he has been since 1997. His academic CV shows over 250 published items, and he has published in the leading journals in economics, including American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy and Economic Journal.
He has been involved in joint research with SEWA for over a decade, and has held the SEWA Chair at the SEWA Academy in Ahmedabad. With Renana Jhabvala and Marty Chen he initiated the Cornell-SEWA-WIEGO Dialogue process, which brings together academic economists, non-economists, and ground level activists to discuss and debate key issues in economic analysis and economic policy.
Winnie Mitullah is a researcher and a lecturer at the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi. She formerly served as the Director of the Urban Policies Programme of WIEGO and as a member of the WIEGO Steering Committee. She holds a PhD in Political Science and Public Administration. Her PhD thesis was on Urban Housing, with a major focus on policies relating to low income housing. Over the years, she has researched, written and consulted in the areas of urban development, with a focus on housing, informal urban economy, politics, institutions, governance, and the role of stakeholders in development. Recently completed works include a contribution to the Global Report on Human Settlements 2003, a case study of Nairobi; a contribution to the fourth-coming World Development Report 2005: A Better Investment Climate for Everyone, a study commissioned by the ILO on the Informal Labor in the Construction Industry in Kenya: A Case Study of Nairobi and a book chapter on “Gender Inclusion in Transition Politics: A Review and Critique of Women’s Engagement.”
S.V. Sethuraman is an independent consultant working out of Washington, D.C. and a former member of the WIEGO Steering Committee. Until recently, he was the foremost thinker and writer on the informal sector in the ILO and wrote and/or edited most of the ILO’s publications on the informal sector in the last two decades.
Víctor E. Tokman is presently working as a consultant to several international organizations. Formerly, he served as an Advisor to the President of Chile and an international consultant for ECLAC, IDB and the ILO. He was a member of the Board of WIEGO. He also used to teach at post-graduate level in the Faculty of Economics of the University of Chili and in the post-graduate program of FLACSO in Santiago. He retired from the ILO in 2001 after a long career mostly in Latin America, where he was Director of PREALC (Regional Employment Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean) and ended as Regional Director for the Americas and Assistant Director General. He was also the Director of the Employment and Development Department in Geneva. He graduated at Oxford as a Doctor of Philosophy in economics, as a Master in the University of Chile and he obtained his first degree in the Universidad del Litoral in Argentina. He has published a large number of books and articles on employment, equity, labor and development. He is a recognized authority in the informal economy field.
His pioneer work started back in 1973 at the beginning of the introduction of the concept of informal sector and continues to contribute up to present days. His first book published in Spanish in 1990 and translated in 1992 was Beyond regulation: The informal economy in Latin America (Boulder, Lynne Rienner Publishers). More recent books on the informal sector are From informality to modernization (2000) and his most recent, including a main chapter on the evolution of the concept and policy proposals, was published by Fondo de Cultura Economica was Employment and Equity: 40 years of search (2004). Both books were published in Spanish.
His published articles includes from, “The informal urban sector in Latin America”, published jointly with P. R. Souza in the International Labour Review 114/3 (ILO, Geneva). The more recent include “From the Consensus Reforms to Reforms for Protected and Inclusive Employment”, in the IDS Bulletin, volume 39 number 2, May 2008, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex; “The Informal Sector”, in the International Handbook on Development Economics, Edited by Amitava Krishna and Jaime Ross, volume 1, Edward Elgar Publishing Limited (2008); “The Informal economy, insecurity and social cohesion in Latin America”, published in the International Labour Review, volume 146, 1-2, ILO, Geneva (2007). The most recent article, “From the informal sector to the informal economy”, is included in the Handbook of International Economy, edited by Jose Antonio Ocampo and Jorge Ross, Oxford University Press (published in 2011).
Jeemol Unni is Professor of Economics at Amrut Mody School of Management, Ahmedabad University, Ahmedabad. She was Director, at Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) and earlier RBI Chair Professor of Economics at IRMA. She holds a Ph.D., Economics and M.Phil, Applied Economics. She was a postdoctoral Fellow at Economic Growth Center, Yale University. She was an International
Labour Organisation Consultant and Senior Advisor to the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS), Government of India. She is currently on the Standing Committee on Labour Force Statistics, Ministry of Statistics, Government of India.
She is a specialist in Labour economics and is currently working on the changing geographies of labour in urban India and the multiple manifestations of informalisation in the labour market. She also works on issues related to gender and higher education.
Recent publications: “Employment and Education: An Exploration of the Demandside Story”, Devesh Kapur and Pratap Bhanu Mehta (edited) Navigating the Labyrinth: Perspectives on India’s Higher Education, Orient Blackswan, 2017; “Women Entrepreneurship: Research review and future directions”, Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 2016, 6:12(6).
Carmen Vildoso has a Masters in Sociology and is currently an independent consultant on the promotion of employment with a gender approach She has provided academic consultancy on the “Strengthening the Voice of Informal Workers in Social Policy Decisions in Latin America” project – WIEGO/Consortium for Social and Economic Research (2010).
Between 2011- 2014, she was the Manager of Business Development for the Municipality of Lima, Peru. Previously she was Minister of Women’s Affairs and Social Development (October 2008 – June 2009), Activities Coordinator for the Technical Secretariat for the National Agreement (2004-2008), Vice Minister of Promotion of Employment and Micro and Small Business at the Ministry of Labor and Promotion of Employment (2001- 2003). She was also a faculty member in the Master’s Degree Program in Labor Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and in the Master’s Degree Program in Public Policies at Saint Mark Main National University.
Her previous work includes twenty-five years of experience in the Education and Social Self-management Team (EDAPROSPO), a NGO engages in incomes generation, microcredit and adult education programs. Also, she was President of the Consortium of Private Organizations for the Promotion of Development of Micro and Small Business (COPEME) from 1998 to 2001. She is the author of several publications including Against Time. Public management in Women Ministry; Two Years at the Ministry of Labor; Agenda: Micro and Small Business; Las Gerentes (Women in Management); and Class Conscious Trade Unionism: Certainties and Uncertainties.
Vicky Kanyoka is the IDWF’s Regional Coordinator for Africa, with more than 20 years of experience working with trade unions and labour movements in Africa. She has a certificate in ideology (Mahiwa Ideology College), a certificate in teaching (Kleruu Teachers College), a certificate in childhood education (Aga Khan Nursery School), and a Bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration (Open University of Tanzania). For four years she acted as one of the Women’s Committee Chairpersons and a titular member of the Africa Regional Executive Committee, for the IUF. She was previously the Head of the Department for Women and Organization for the Conservation Hotels, Domestic and Allied Workers Union (CHODAWU). She was the National Project Coordinator for the International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour, supported by the ILO; and the Coordinator for a project on the elimination of child labour, in three unions (TPAWU, TAMICO, and CHODAWU).
She has extensive experience training and teaching, and from 1999-2008 presented several papers on child labour, domestic workers’ rights, and gender issues; facilitated workshops and training for trainers sessions for trade unionists; and aided the ILO with its study on the working hours of domestic workers in Tanzania and Zanzibar; as well as assisting WIEGO in its study of occupational health and safety for domestic workers, agricultural workers, and other informal workers in Tanzania. She participated in the global campaign to adopt C189 and aided in the mapping of domestic workers in Africa, helping to establish the Africa Domestic Workers’ Network (ADWN).