Olga Abizaid - Programme Support Officer
Olga Abizaid has worked with WIEGO in a variety of roles since 2014. Currently, she provides support to WIEGO's work in Colombia, Peru and Senegal to strengthen, and give visibility to, informal workers organizations. This entails documenting the challenges and progress made by informal workers’ organizations at the municipal level to improve livelihoods, especially those of women workers. She has also engaged in fieldwork to document the needs of informal women waste pickers in Ecuador, as they relate to gender and workers´ health issues. Before joining WIEGO, Olga worked at the Canadian Foundation for the Americas (FOCAL), where she led research on North American integration and directed FOCAL’s work in the areas of education, health and labour migration. Between 1997 and 2000 she was Editorial Assistant of the academic journal Política y Gobierno, published by the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE) in Mexico City. She holds a MA in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA)-Carleton University, and a Licenciatura in International Relations with a concentration in International Political Economy from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City.
Cyrus Afshar - Social Protection Officer
Cyrus holds bachelor’s degrees in Journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University and in Social Sciences from the University of São Paulo. He worked at CBN news radio station and completed a year-long university exchange programme at IEP-Université Lyon (France) before joining Folha de São Paulo newspaper, where he was a reporter for more than two years. Cyrus then worked as a communications manager with Instituto Polis, a Brazilian NGO that researches urban public policies. In 2010, he joined the Erasmus Mundus Master’s Programme in Public Policy and received an MA in Development Studies (Governance and Democracy specialization) from the Institute of Social Studies (Netherlands)and an MA in International Relations from Ibei (Spain). As a research intern at UNRISD in Geneva, he supported an international conference on Social and Solidarity Economy. Subsequently, he worked as a research assistant on an academic project on Argentine indigenous movements and state capacity. His most recent experience was at Dieese (a Brazilian labour union think-tank) as a research officer, studying labour topics such as turnover, youth employment, informal labour, and women’s participation in Porto Alegre and in São Paulo.
Laura Alfers - Director, Social Protection Programme
Laura has worked with WIEGO since 2009 in the Social Protection Programme and was appointed the programme's Director in 2017. During her time at WIEGO, Laura has been involved with projects investigating occupational health and safety in informal workplaces, informal workers’ access to health care and the links between child care, informal work and women’s economic empowerment. Laura holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, with a focus on social policy, and an MPhil from Cambridge University. She is currently a Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at Rhodes University, South Africa, and is a co-editor of The Handbook of Social Policy and Development (2019, Elgar).
Edith Anampa - Project Officer
Edith is a Project Officer based in Lima, Peru. She works on WIEGO's project, "Strengthening the Voice and Leadership of Informal Women Workers Around Social Policy Issues". She also worked on the Voice project that was implemented in Peru and Mexico. Edith holds a degree in Anthropology, with emphasis on urban issues. Her thesis focused on women street sweepers in Lima. She has worked across different sub-national regions of Peru on strategic planning for development initiatives.
Dorcas Ansah - Accra Focal City Coordinator
With 15 years of development experience and a background in designing and delivering adult learning programmes, Dorcas has worked extensively in facilitating processes, organizing development interventions, gender mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation, as well as training and capacity-building at many levels—from the informal sector to civil society and parliament. She is a graduate of the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland OSD Center, the University of Ghana Legon, and the Central University College and Corporate Administration Institute of Professional Studies, with an MA in social policy. Dorcas is the Accra Focal City Coordinator for WIEGO, leading organizational development as well as capacity- and relationship-building work for membership-based organizations (MBOs) and stakeholders.
Katia Araujo - Programme Advisor
Katia Araujo joined WIEGO in 2019. As Program Advisor, she coordinates the Home-based Workers Organizing for Economic Empowerment and Empowering Home-based Workers initiatives and manages the MLE. Katia is a passionate activist for women's rights, racial and economic justice with over fifteen years of development experience and commitment to amplify grassroots-led initiatives and voices. Katia holds a master's degree in international affairs (with a concentration in governance and human rights) from the New School University, NY. Before joining WIEGO, she held senior management positions with Landesa, Huairou Commission and advised the Global Coordinator for the PSEA at the International Rescue Committee. She currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Crossing Point Arts (Bringing the Arts to Survivors of Human Trafficking) and on the Board of Directors of the SLoCaT Foundation (Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport). She was a Ford Foundation's Public Voice Fellow 2014-2015 at The Op-Ed Project.
Most of Pilar's career has been spent in business development and marketing with the pharmaceutical and IT industries, both in her native Colombia and in Canada, her current place of residency. Pilar has also worked with the recycling industry, managing, designing, implementing and evaluating recycling programs and accounts, including with the Federal Government of Canada and major private companies in the Ottawa region. She holds a degree in chemistry, is fully fluent in Spanish and English and has a working knowledge of Portuguese and French. Originally contracted by WIEGO as a consultant supporting the communications and global project teams. she now works as with the Urban Policies team, dedicating much of her time to monitoring,documenting, disseminating and analyzing the global media coverage of workers in the informal economy and WIEGO’s members and partners. From 2014 to 2016, Pilar also played an active role in preparing WIEGO for Habitat 3 as part of WIEGO’s Urban Advocacy team.
Pamhidzai was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. She holds an LLB, LLM (Labour Law) and a PhD (Labour Law) from the University of Cape Town. She has worked as a Researcher in the Institute of Development and Labour Law at the University of Cape Town, and the Social Law Project at the University of the Western Cape and has published research on various labour issues in South Africa and southern Africa. She recently completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Stellenbosch University, where her project considered the Zimbabwean labour market with a focus on the development and regulation of its informal economy. She has consulted for agencies such as the International Labour Organization and SADC Secretariat on a number of labour and human rights issues.
Jane Barrett - Director, Organization & Representation Programme
See Jane's detailed Specialist Profile.
Jane is a trade unionist from South Africa with over 30 years’ experience in the labour movement. A former General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union (now the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union), she worked for the International Transport Workers Federation (London) for five years. Before joining WIEGO in 2016, she served as the Affiliate Support Officer in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Jane has a Social Work Degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, an Industrial Sociology honours degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, and an MPhil degree from SOAS, University of London. She has published widely. She is based in Johannesburg.
Mike Bird - Operations Director
Mike is based at the WIEGO office in Manchester. He has worked in the international aid and development sector for over 20 years, managing NGO programmes in Africa and Asia. Prior to joining WIEGO in 2010, he ran the New Zealand government's NGO funding programme. Mike is a generalist with a degree in French and Portuguese and a teacher training qualification.
Christine (Chris) Bonner - Advisor, Emeritus Team Member
Chris spent 20 years working in the trade unions in South Africa during the apartheid era: first as a volunteer and then as the Regional Secretary of the Chemical Workers Industrial Union, followed by six years as the union’s National Educator. In this position, she worked with a team to help set up the Development Institute for Training, Support and Education for Labour (DITSELA) based in Johannesburg, and in 1996 was appointed by the trade unions as its founding Director, a position she held until 2003. From 2004 until 2016, Chris was WIEGO’s Organization & Representation Programme Director. In that position, she focused on collecting and documenting information on organizations of informal workers — including developing an interactive data base (WORD) and facilitating and supporting global networking and capacity building among informal workers, in particular among domestic workers, waste pickers, home-based workers, and street vendors. She has also contributed to research and writing on organizing in the informal economy, as well as developing informal worker education materials. She now serves as an Advisor.
Françoise Carré - Director, Statistics Programme
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Françoise is also a Research Director at the Center for Social Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston, USA. Her areas of expertise are: labour economics and industrial relations; comparative employment systems; low wage employment; and worker representation systems. She conducts research on work transformation, nonstandard, and informal work in the USA and cross nationally. Recent projects include a study of retail employment in the US and Europe (Where Jobs are Better: Retail Jobs across Countries and Companies, with Chris Tilly, Russell Sage Foundation) and policy impacts of dependent contractor misclassification. On behalf of WIEGO’s statistics programme, she serves on the International Labor Organization Expert Group on the Revision of the International Classification of Status in Employment and the UN-Economic Commission for Europe Expert Group on Quality of Employment. She is an Affiliated Fellow at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UCLA. Françoise holds a PhD, Urban and Regional Studies, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Taylor works on WIEGO’s waste team coordinating the Reducing Waste in Coastal Cities project. She has worked at the confluence of waste reduction, job creation, and social inclusion for more than a decade, as both a project manager and an artist. Taylor spent four years developing a zero waste program for the Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative, in SE Bhutan. She also worked for the SWaCH waste picker cooperative in Pune, India, developing their “Red Dot Campaign” to improve sanitary waste management. Taylor began working with waste pickers in 2008 as part of Live Debris, a series of international workshops and art exhibits that she designed to draw attention to social inclusion in the waste sector. She has a background in environmental studies and a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Resolution. Taylor is currently based in Oregon, USA, where she also works part time for the organization Trash for Peace, supporting the formation of a new waste picker association there called Ground Score. In her free time, she herself picks waste for arts and crafts projects.
Martha Chen - Senior Advisor
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Marty is also a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Affiliated Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Before joining Harvard in 1987, she had two decades of resident experience in Bangladesh working with BRAC (now the world's largest non-governmental organization) and in India, where she served as field representative of Oxfam America for India and Bangladesh. In both capacities, she worked closely with working poor women in both villages and urban settlements to promote their economic empowerment. She led the WIEGO Network for two decades as the founding International Coordinator. Marty received a PhD in South Asia Regional Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of numerous books including Bridging Perspectives: Labour, Informal Employment, and Poverty (co-edited with Namrata Bali and Ravi Kanbur), The Progress of the World’s Women 2005: Women, Work and Poverty (co-authored with Joann Vanek, Francie Lund, James Heintz, Renana Jhabvala and Chris Bonner), Mainstreaming Informal Employment and Gender in Poverty Reduction (co-authored with Joann Vanek and Marilyn Carr), Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture (co-authored with Joann Vanek) and Perpetual Mourning: Widowhood in Rural India. Marty was awarded a high civilian award, the Padma Shri, by the Government of India in April 2011; and a Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War award by the Government of Bangladesh in December 2012. Her lifelong work as a champion of the working poor is featured in her alma mater's magazine, Connecticut College, Winter 2013. Marty's mother, Barbara "Barry" Beach Alter, also a Connecticut College alum, is honoured in a separate story for her 35 years of missionary work in India. Read both interviews.
Rhiana Chinapen - Video Consultant
Rhiana is a documentary filmmaker providing multimedia communications support to the WIEGO team and network from Ottawa, Canada. With experience in scripting, filming and editing, she helps capture and share the stories and expertise of the informal workers’ movement, both amongst workers, and to global audiences. Rhiana holds a BA in International Relations and Political Science from the University of Western Ontario, and an MA in Communication from Carleton University. She studied filmmaking at SAW Video, an artist-run media art centre.
Shirley Crowther - Finance Officer
Shirley is with the Manchester UK-based WIEGO Office. She lived in South Africa for a couple of years when her family emigrated there but on her return to England she left school at 15 and worked for a large Electronic Manufacturing Company for 11 years. She studied Business Administration at the company's own training college. Shirley has over 40 years’ experience in Business, Finance, Management, and Administration, including 15 years with a local import/export hat company which dealt with people in Europe and around the world. She also worked for the Student Union at Oldham College for 6 years where she supported students through counseling, accommodation, finance, benefits and welfare servicves.
Sonia has been WIEGO’s resident waste specialist since 2008. She is a sociologist by training and a “garbologist” with specialization in Solid Waste Management by the University of Kitakyushu, Japan (JICA grant). She also had a two years visiting professorship at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (she was housed at the Centre for Women´s Studies- NEPEM - from 2012-2014). She has a Master's degree in Human Geography (UFMG) on the role of the local governments in strengthening waste pickers' organizations in Belo Horizonte City, and a PhD in Political Science (UFMG) on the role of participation in solid waste management in Brazil. She has been active in the waste management field in Brazil since 1985 with a focus on promoting the integration of social inclusion aspects into the technical planning of waste collection and recycling, gender and occupational health. Her on-the-ground experience encompasses: work as a public officer at the Municipal Cleansing Agency in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; voluntary work for the NGO INSEA supporting the organization of waste pickers, and social activism for the Waste and Citizenship For and for the Observatory for Inclusive Recycling (ORIS). She is an Eisenhower Fellow for the Common Interest Program on Challenges of Urbanization – year 2007. Sonia was named best speaker at the International Solid Waste Association ’97 ISWA's World Conference, held in Wellington, New Zealand. She is member of Workers Place Health Without Borders. She collaborated in Habitat III as Policy Unit Expert (#2). She is based in Belo Horizonte, South-east Brazil.
Rhonda Douglas - Programme Strategy Advisor
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
In her role as WIEGO’s Programme Strategy Advisor, Rhonda coordinated the Inclusive Cities project and the Securing Economic Rights for Women’s projects, as well as the Focal Cities initiative. She is a member of WIEGO’s global operations team, leading the Programme Support and Communications Teams. She also provides operational and strategic planning support to membership-based organizations (MBOs) of the working poor. Rhonda holds a Master’s degree in Management for the Voluntary Sector from McGill University and has over two decades of experience in resource mobilization and organizational development. Prior to joining WIEGO in 2006, Rhonda held senior management positions with Amnesty International Canada and CARE International and worked as a consultant. She’s the Series Editor for Sustainability for MBOs: Resource Books for Organizations (WIEGO 2014), and Editor, Building Inclusive Cities: Lessons from the Inclusive Cities Project.
Tania Espinosa Sánchez - Mexico City Focal City Coordinator
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Tania comes to WIEGO with 10 years of experience practicing international human rights law. She studied law at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and holds a Master’s Degree in International Legal Studies from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. During the last three years she has focused on labour rights in the waste pickers’ sector, on the linkages between human rights and waste management services, as well as the interplay between human rights and the recycling industry. In 2011, Tania worked at the National Council for Discrimination Prevention in Mexico, where she collaborated on a project on labour law discrimination against domestic workers. As a paralegal, she worked with a USA-based law firm to assess the situation of migrant workers in Mexico, obtaining signatures for a class-action lawsuit regarding workers’ rights violations. In 2013, she worked in the Inter-American Human Rights Commission in Washington, D.C., and in 2014 she was appointed General Director of a human rights NGO in Mexico. In 2016, Tania was elected as an honorary board member of the Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission by the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City.
Jacqui Fendall - Financial Controller and Company Secretary
Jacqui is based at WIEGO's Manchester UK office. She has worked in the charity sector for most of her career, but more particularly she has worked in social housing for the past 20 years. She has enabled people of black and ethnic origin to access safe, secure, social housing. Jacqui is a qualified accountant with the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA).
Lucía is based in Montevideo where she works for WIEGO as the Waste Picker Sector Advisor and is a PhD candidate of the Doctorate in Architecture at Universidad de la República Uruguay. She is an assistant professor at both the Institute of Theory and Urbanism, of the Faculty of Architecture as well as the Social and Solidarity Economy and Cooperatives Unit. Lucía holds a MA in Architecture, focused on spontaneous recycling dynamics from the Ecole National Superieure d’Architecture (ENSAG) and a MA on Ethical and Sustainable Development from the Philosophy Faculty of Universite Lyon. From 2011 – 2013 Lucía was based in Boston where she had a research affiliation with CoLab, at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. She has worked with WIEGO since 2008, when she coordinated the first World Conference of Waste Pickers, held in March 2008. Since then, she has supported large scale networking, with the Latin-American Network of Waste Pickers and the international coordination of the Global Alliance of Waste Pickers. She has been involved for so many years with the waste sector that some people fondly call her “basurita”.
Taluah Girard - Communications Officer
An island girl with a passion for words and an effervescent personality, Taluah lives on beautiful Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Fluent in French, Spanish and English, her native tongue, her qualifications include a Master’s Degree in Project Management (2014) from the University for International Co-operation, Costa Rica and a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Modern Languages and Business with a concentration in Tourism and the Environment (2009) which she received from the Université de Franche-Comté, Besancon, France. She is currently pursuing a MicroMasters in International Law through the Université catholique de Louvain. Over the past ten years, Taluah has worked in the field of Marketing and Communications across various sectors, interacting with diverse stakeholders while developing exciting media campaigns, creating targeted communications and advocacy strategies, helping to build brands and implementing projects. A mother’s girl at heart, Taluah credits her mother Renee Girard for her organizational qualities and work ethic. Taluah joined WIEGO in August 2018 and currently serves as a Communications Officer.
Jenna Harvey - Global Focal Cities Coordinator
Prior to joining WIEGO in 2016 Jenna worked in Nicaragua, first with a women’s rights organization on cooperative development, and subsequently with a network of grassroots organizations providing project management support. After leaving Nicaragua she spent a year carrying out research on Nicaraguan migration and informal work in San Jose, Costa Rica. She has a bachelor’s degree in global studies and a master’s degree in City Planning from MIT. Jenna coordinates WIEGO's Focal Cities initiatives. Her specific interests are participatory planning, critical education, and inclusive models of urban economic development.
Kendra Hughes - Programme Support Officer
Kendra joined WIEGO in January 2012 and currently supports WIEGO’s Law Programme and Communications Teams. She holds a Master of Arts in globalization and development from the Institute for Development Studies (University of Sussex) where she explored collective actions by grassroots environmental groups facing human rights abuses. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Business (minor in Spanish). Kendra is currently engaged in a variety of work for WIEGO including research, project planning and evaluation support, desk-based research, social media management and strategic communications support. Her interests include the gig economy, business and human rights, and grassroots collective action.
Megan Landeros - Adminstrative & Research Assistant to the International Coordinator
Megan joined WIEGO in 2018 and provides research and administrative support from Rome, Italy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley and Master of Arts in Conflict, Security, and Development from King’s College London.
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Francie was the Director of the Social Protection Programme of WIEGO from 2000 until early 2016. Currently, she works in the role of Advisor. She is also a Senior Research Associate in the School of Built Environment and Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. She trained as a sociologist and community organizer and developed an abiding interest in social policy and social security issues. She is interested in understanding the effects of different forms of social assistance on poor households, and especially their effects for women and children in rural and informal areas. More recently she has been working on the link between women’s paid and unpaid care work and also on occupational health and safety for informal workers. She has worked as a research and policy consultant for a wide range of international organizations and for local, provincial, and national government in South Africa. She chaired the Lund Committee on Child and Family Support. Convened after the transition to democracy in 1994, this resulted in a new form of cash support for poor children.
Megan MacLeod - Copy Editor
Megan joined WIEGO as a student intern in 2013. Upon her graduation from the Professional Writing Programme at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada, she has continued as a member of the Communications Team. Beyond her role as copy editor, she assists WIEGO’s team through coordination of new publications; through writing, editing, research, and design and layout support; and through curation of WIEGO’s blog.
Avi Majithia - Dehli Focal City Associate
Avi joined WIEGO in 2017. She provides logistical and administrative support to the work in Delhi, and also plays a central role in building the knowledge base for Focal Cities Delhi through documentation, scoping work, organizational profiling and creation of communications inputs. Avi has a Masters degree in Regulatory Governance from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai, India), and is interested in building out her work in labor and regulation.
Laura Raquel Morillo Santa Cruz - Organization and Representation Programme Officer, Latin America
Laura works as WIEGO’s Organization and Representation Programme Officer. Her commitment to improve people´s working and living conditions motivated her to focus on labour issues. Since 2012, she has been supporting global networking among home-based workers organizations, especially organizations from Latin America, and also collaborating with organizations of workers in the informal economy. Laura was born in Peru and is based in Germany. She holds a Law Degree and a Diploma in Political Science and Governance from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and a MA in Labour Policies and Globalisation from the Global Labour University (GLU), the University of Kassel, and the Berlin School of Economics and Law.
Rachel Moussié - Deputy Director, Social Protection Programme
Rachel is the Deputy Director of the Social Protection Programme at WIEGO. Rachel contributes to WIEGO’s research, analysis and advocacy to extend social protection to informal workers. Since she joined WIEGO in 2016, she has led the Child Care Initiative, which supports informal workers’ access to quality child care services as part of social protection systems. Rachel previously managed programmes on women’s economic rights, tax policy reform and development financing at ActionAid International. She holds a MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics, and a BA from McGill University. After living in several other places, she now lives in Mauritius, where she was born.
Ana Carolina is a Research Associate for WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme. She currently provides research support to programmes on qualitative and participatory methodologies, gender and waste and urban related issues. Based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, she works closely with WIEGO’s waste specialist. She has collaborated on several WIEGO projects including the Gender and Waste project, the Child Care Initiative, and health risk mappings with waste pickers. She was also the senior qualitative researcher for the Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS) team in Brazil. Prior to joining WIEGO she taught at the Federal University of Minas Gerais as part of her post doctoral fellowship and was an affiliated researcher at the Women’s Studies Research Center (NEPEM-UFMG). She holds Ph.D in political science from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (2012), specializing in gender, feminist theory, and social movements.
Karin Pape - Deputy Director, Organization & Representation Programme
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Karin has been with WIEGO since 2007. She was a Works Council member at “Jacobs Kaffee” (now Mondalez) in Bremen, Germany, and an activist in the German Food and Allied Workers’ Union (NGG) for many years. She is an economist by profession. She worked as an international consultant on an industrial project in Russia before moving to Geneva. Since 2002 she has been working on informal and precarious employment at the Global Labour Institute (Switzerland) with a special focus on homework, in particular in Germany and Asia. From 2009 until July 2011 she was seconded to the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) to serve as the interim international coordinator of the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN). In August 2011 she went back to her “WIEGO Europe” work, which includes coordinating Domestic Workers Organizations in Europe, serving as liaison for the ILO, supporting networking among home-based workers in South East Europe, and ongoing work in Central and Eastern Europe generally.
Federico is an urban anthropologist/ethnographer with a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology. He has a PhD in Political Studies and International Relations at the National University of Colombia. Parra has undertaken several studies of urban recyclers as well as critical analyses of public policy related to waste management and social inclusion. His work has contributed to the understanding of the socioeconomic context of recyclers and the impact of public waste management policy on recyclers in the city of Bogota. Parra is a member of the Research Group on Collective Rights and Environmental GIDCA, and the Research Group on Public Policy and Public Management, both of the Faculty of Law, Political and Social Sciences of the National University of Colombia. Previously, as a public official in the Special Administrative Unit of Public Services (UAESP) attached to the Mayor of Bogota, he coordinated the development of the Inclusion Plan of Recyclers. He currently serves as coordinator of WIEGO’s Latin American Waste Pickers Programme.
Justina Pena Pan - Logistics Manager
Vanessa spent most of her adult working life serving the South African labour movement, first as a shop steward in a white-collar union and then as a worker educator. She joined the DITSELA Workers Education Institute early in 2000 where she worked until mid-2011, working across different sectors, unions and federations and in the region. Her areas of focus in workers’ education have been women’s leadership development and organisational development in a trade union context. She is especially interested in the application or ‘plough back’ of learning to build democratic working class organisations. Before joining WIEGO, Vanessa was the Director of a vocational skills training centre for disadvantaged youth. In addition to her management responsibilities at St.Anthony’s Education Centre, she facilitated life skills programmes for the unemployed youth. She holds a MPhil degree in Adult Education from the University of Cape Town. At WIEGO she serves as Programme Officer: Organization and Representation in Africa. Her responsibilities include supporting the strengthening of organization and representation of Membership-Based Organizations (MBOs) of domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors and waste pickers.
Carmen Roca - Lima Focal City Coordinator
Currently, most of Carmen's work is concentrated in WIEGO’s Focal City, Lima, Perú. Before joining WIEGO, Carmen worked for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada for almost 10 years on issues of social and economic policy. She was Deputy Director of the Consorcio de Investigación Económica y Socia (CIES) in Perú until 2009. Social protection for the working poor in the informal economy, capacity building for MBOs, and policy improvements at national and local levels are her current main areas of work. Carmen holds an MBA in Management for Development from McGill University (Canada), Perú.
Sally Roever - International Coordinator
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Sally Roever holds a PhD in political science from the University of California at Berkeley (2005). Her current research focuses on the risks and vulnerabilities associated with own-account work in the urban informal economy, the role of urban infrastructure and public space in supporting informal livelihoods, and innovations in urban legal frameworks regarding informal employment. Her research has appeared in several journals, including Environment and Urbanization, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, and Cityscape. She also has published articles in The Guardian, Cityscope, the Global Urbanist, and Development Progress, among others, and has been cited by media outlets including National Public Radio and Next City. Now WIEGO’s International Coordinator, Sally was formerly its Urban Policies Programme Director. She has lived and traveled abroad extensively, including a year in Lima, Peru, where she studied street vending organizations and local governance as part of her doctorate. Sally is currently based in Rome, Italy.
Michael Rogan - Research Associate
Michael Rogan is a Research Associate in WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme. He first worked with WIEGO in 2011 as part of the research team that conducted the 10-city Informal Economy Monitoring Study (IEMS). He has since worked on a number of projects and contributes regularly to the WIEGO blog. His current work centres on statistical analyses of earnings and status in employment in the informal economy, as well as issues around tax justice and urban regulation. Based at Rhodes University in South Africa, Michael works in the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit. His research and publications over the past five years have focused largely on informal employment, gender, poverty, food security, education and skills development, and survey design. He holds a PhD and MA in Development Studies and a BA in International Studies.
Miguel Sanz Caballer - Translation Coordinator
Miguel worked as a hematologist for over 10 years, establishing and heading the Hematology Departments for the Hospital Comarcal del Vendrell (Tarragona, Spain) and the Hospital Manises (Valencia, Spain). With a passion for activism, Miguel has been involved in several advocacy campaigns, including those on breastfeeding awareness, education and parenting, ecology awareness, labour issues, international protests, and in 2013 was the doctor aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza. He first worked for WIEGO as an interpreter for the 2014 General Assembly in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He is now based in Valencia, where he actively coordinates WIEGO’s translation work as well as supporting other communications efforts, such as the Global Monitoring System (GMS).
Halima Sadia - Finance Assistant
Halima is based at the Manchester UK office working as a Finance Officer. Halima is a part-qualified accountant and she studied AAT (Association of Accounting Technician) at Manchester College, Manchester in 2011-2013. She was born in Jhelum, Pakistan and came to live in the UK in 2004. She has had over five years experience in Business, Finance and Administration.
Shalini Sinha - Delhi Focal City Coordinator
Shalini is based in India. She holds a M.Phil in Political Science from Delhi University, and has published on gender and pro-poor issues in the Indian and the South Asian context. Her work focuses on developing and documenting decent work and livelihoods opportunities for women workers in the informal economy, especially women home-based workers in urban locations. Earlier Shalini worked as an independent consultant specializing in labour, gender and social development issues with several national and international NGOs and funding agencies.
Caroline Skinner - Urban Research Director
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Caroline Skinner is WIEGO’s Director of Urban Research and a Senior Researcher Senior Researcher at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. For over two decades, Caroline’s work has interrogated the informal economy and processes of informality with a view to generate new knowledge and to inform advocacy processes, livelihood-centred policy, and planning responses -- and to better equip current and future urban practitioners to engage with ‘informality’. She has published widely on the topic. Skinner has a long track record of policy and advocacy work at a local, provincial, national and international level. She has written policy papers for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank. She also provides technical support for membership-based organization advocacy campaigns both internationally and in South Africa. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Caroline was previously WIEGO's Director of Urban Policies.
Adama Soumaré - Dakar Focal City Coordinator
Adama is a lawyer in business law by training. He studied at the Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar (UCAD). Before joining WIEGO, he was the representative of the German organization Doleel Jigeen (Strengthening and Empowering Women) in Senegal. He was also administrator, in charge of pedagogy, of the Center of Exchange and Development of Artisans of Senegal. He then worked for several years at Enda’s Research-Action-Training Group where he was responsible for programmes focused especially on women, children, craftsmen, and waste collectors. He is currently a special advisor to the Mayor of the municipality of Malika where he lives. He has proven experience in action research, popular mediation, and management of community and non-formal organizations. He is a member of several national and international organizations. He worked as an activist in his country and across Africa for the causes of vulnerable people and development problems for more than 20 years.
Sofia Trevino - Programme Support Manager
Sofia is a development consultant with over 15 years of experience in organizational development, communications, and fundraising. Ms. Trevino has successfully designed programmes, raised funds for international development projects, and has over eight years experience in programme management, strategy, delivery, and reporting. Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Sofia immigrated to Canada after graduating with a MA from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs where she specialized in development studies. Ms. Trevino is currently WIEGO’s Programme Support Unit Manager and Latin America’s Regional Facilitator for the International Domestic Workers Federation. For both clients, Sofia provides diverse services in project controls and strategic communications planning.
Demetria Tsoutouras - Communications Manager
Prior to joining WIEGO, Demetria worked for 13 years in a variety of marketing and communications roles, including product marketing, product management, brand management and international marketing. In addition to working for 10 years in the private sector, Demetria also worked with Industry Canada, the Canadian Embassy in Mexico and the Canadian Education Centre in Mexico City. Demetria holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Biochemistry) from Carleton University and a Master of Business Administration degree (concentration International Development) from St. Mary’s University.
Joann Vanek - Senior Advisor, Statistics Programme
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Joann is a gender/social statistician. She retired from the United Nations Statistics Division after 20 years of work. At the United Nations, she led the development of the programme on gender statistics and coordinated the production of three issues of the UN global statistical report on women, The World’s Women: Trends and Statistics. She has co-authored several WIEGO flagship publications including,Women and Men in the Informal Economy 2012: A Statistical Picture, and been the driving force behind WIEGO's groundbreaking work on informal economy statistics. Joann is featured in the bulletin of her undergraduate college, St. Mary's College Courier (Spring 2012). The story highlights pivotal moments of her career as a statistician and her research on the informal economy.
Marlese von Broembsen - Director, Law Programme
See her detailed Specialist Profile.
Marlese hails from Cape Town, South Africa. Currently she is a Visiting Researcher at the Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School. Marlese joined WIEGO in 2015 as WIEGO’s first Law Programme Director. She holds law degrees from Stellenbosch, the University of Cape Town, and Harvard University. Marlese is a qualified attorney and has a MPhil in Development Studies. Early in her career she worked grassroots with informal enterprises (for four years), and was involved in policy work in Southern Africa for many years. She wrote the South African report on Business Rights for the UN Commission for the Legal Empowerment of the Poor and was the lead researcher for the Global Enterprise Monitor (South Africa) for its 2005 study on the informal economy. Marlese has taught at the Universities of the Western Cape; Cape Town and North Eastern Law School. She pioneered an inter-disciplinary Master’s Degree in Social Justice in the Law Faculty, University of Cape Town, which she taught from 2009-2014, when she was awarded a Harvard South Africa Fellowship. She has published in the areas of development, labour law, global value chains, and legal empowerment of the poor.
Leslie Vryenhoek - Writer/Editing Consultant & Website Curator
Leslie is a writer, editor and strategic communications professional with two decades of experience helping research and educational institutions and non-profit agencies tell their stories. She joined WIEGO in 2011 as the Writer/Editor and returned in 2018 after a hiatus. As a writer, Leslie specializes in creating compelling narratives that put a human face on policies and theoretical frameworks (including for WIEGO’s Workers’ Lives series). She is the author of four books of fiction and poetry, two historical biographies, and has written dozens of articles, essays and screenplays on a range of subjects. Prior to joining WIEGO, she was a Public Affairs officer for the Canadian Red Cross, where she directed communications during high-profile disasters; she has also held communications positions at the University of Winnipeg and Memorial University of Newfoundland. As a professional editor, she has honed millions of words to help writers reach their audiences and achieve results. Leslie is based in St. John's, Canada.
Henrial Yaidoo - Senior Finance & Administration Officer
Henrial is a Liberian citizen residing in the UK. By profession she is a part-qualified chartered accountant, having studied at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). In 2007 she graduated with a BA Hons in Accounting and Finance and is now studying to become a chartered accountant with ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). Previous roles have included working at Manchester Airport (Payroll Department), Shell Petroleum UK (Credit Management) and Oliver Wyman (UK, Wilmslow Office – Accounts Division). She has also worked for the public sector in the UK in the area of finance with the National Health Service (NHS). At present she works for WIEGO as the Senior Finance and Administration Officer at our UK office based in Manchester.