Integrating Informal Workers into Our Future Cities

July 2016 — Informal workers are the lifeblood of cities around the world. They sell vegetables on the streets, clean the homes of the more affluent, hawk goods at markets and collect and recycle waste. These livelihoods keep families out of extreme poverty, yet informal workersface many challenges, including harassment from authorities, exclusion from urban plans and lack of work-related social protection. This month, we'll discuss ways in which cities across our network are working to be more inclusive toward informal workers and protecting their livelihoods -- and how cities can truly be for all.



Photo Credit: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images Reportage

A voice for Mumbai’s domestic workers

Mumbai, 25 July 2016 — The majority of India’s 4.2 million domestic workers are women employed in urban areas. Many of them work in multiple homes a day, and on average earn far below the minimum wage. The National Domestic Workers’ Movement is lobbying for better social security and welfare provision for workers in Mumbai. See more.

Training and legal protection to strengthen unorganized workers

Delhi, 22 July 2016 — Sensitizing unorganized workers in garment factories in and around Delhi and offering them legal support is not enough to protect them from exploitative practices that deny them a living wage. An effort to reform the legal architecture and give it teeth is the need of the hour, discovers Delhi-based NGO Society of Labour and Development.See more.

¿Reciclaje inclusivo con recicladoras y recicladores en Medellín?

Medellin, 21 julio 2016 — Medellín logró convertirse en una ciudad modelo en términos de desarrollo urbano, según muchos, gracias a la promoción de una planificación urbana inclusiva y la consideración de las voces de todas las personas, incluyendo las de las más desfavorecidas. ¿Es eso cierto en la situación de los recicladores hoy en día? Leer más.

Vendedores informales en Cali: a la búsqueda de soluciones

Cali, 20 julio 2016 — La falta de oferta de empleo en el sector formal, el sorprendentemente elevado grado de satisfacción de los vendedores informales, y su nivel relativamente alto de ingresos dificultan de forma significativa la solución al problema de la venta informal en Cali. Los intentos masivos de reubicación realizados en los años 90 y en la década pasada acabaron en grandes fracasos. La aproximación actual de la alcaldía es la actuación focalizada en espacios concretos. Leer más.

Micro-credit expands business opportunities for informal workers

Dar es Salaam, 19 July 2016 — Dar es Salaam, just like many other cities in East Africa, is facing an unemployment crisis, especially for youth and women. Approximately 52% of the entire population of Dar es Salaam is formally unemployed. And approximately 11% of the unemployed population in Dar es Salaam earns an income through the informal economy and informal labor market, which is characterized by a lack of social security coverage, lack of written contract documents, lack of health insurance and low wages. See more.

Melibatkan sektor informal dalam promosi wisata kuliner

Surabaya, 18 July 2016 — Pedagang Kaki Lima (PKL) merupakan salah satu bentuk informal ekonomi yang sering kita lihat keberadaannya di kota-kota besar termasuk Surabaya. Mereka banyak menempati trotoar dan jalan-jalan utama kota sehingga menggangu lalu lintas. Surabaya memiliki cara unik menangani PKL yaitu dengan membuat sentra-sentra PKL dan promosi wisata kuliner sebagai upaya pemberdayaan ekonomi masyarakat. Baca lebih lanjut.

Unionizing informal workers in Ghana

Accra, 15 July 2016 — The informal sector plays a crucial role in sustaining Accra’s economy. However, informal workers have low wages and are very dependent on their employers. Ghana has a relatively well-developed union landscape. Informal workers have been organizing in Informal Workers Associations for the last few decades in order to create a lasting and sustainable path towards improving their working conditions and quality of life. See more.

Los recicladores en Bogotá: luchando por el reconocimiento legal

Bogotá, 14 julio 2016 — Los recicladores juegan un papel crucial, tanto desde el punto de vista económico como medio ambiental. Sin embargo, su labor ha sido siempre infravalorada, y se les ha privado de los derechos laborales más básicos. La Asociación de Recicladores de Bogotá ha liderado una serie de batalles legales y políticas que ha logrado cambiar esta situación. Leer más.

How normal is society’s normality? ‘The Ma(i)de Sessions’ – a talk show with domestic workers

Johannesburg, 13 July 2016 — The affluent suburbs of South African cities are served by a massive domestic work force. During apartheid, black women became domestic workers for white households due to restrictions on the jobs black people could perform. While rights, wages, legislation and living conditions all remain key issues, one team has branched away from traditional activism to establish a talk show called the ‘The Ma(i)de Sessions’, to speak with and about South African society from the point of view of one its most ubiquitous but invisible peoples.
See more.

Projeto de Lei Fortalece Economia Solidária em Curitiba

Curitiba, 12 julho 2016 — Além de representar uma inevitável luta por sobrevivência frente ao desemprego e à crescente exclusão, a Economia Solidária é uma resistência ao modelo que causa este cenário em primeiro lugar. E agora, em Curitiba, esta dinâmica econômica está mais forte do que nunca, graças a um projeto de lei que a reconhece oficialmente como fonte de trabalho e renda, definindo atribuições do poder público para o seu avanço e integração no mercado.Leia mais.

الباعة الجائلين في الشارع المصري يهزمون التهميش بالنقابة

Cairo, 11 July 2016 — قد يعتبرهم البعض متنمرين ولا أحد يهتم لسماع شكواهم وحل قضاياهم اليومية لكسب عيشهم، إلا أنهم قرروا إنشاء نقابتهم للحصول على حقوقهم والعيش حياة كريمة.. اقرأ المزيد عن ذلك

"Não adianta querer matar o comércio de rua"

São Paulo, 8 julio 2016 — A prefeitura de São Paulo tentou proibir o comércio nas ruas da cidade até 2012, quando foi obrigada pela justiça a deixar que ambulantes legalizados continuassem a trabalhar. Desde então, nenhuma nova licença foi concedida, enquanto o número de trabalhadores informais não parou de crescer. Agora, uma associação de mulheres pressiona a prefeitura para acabar com a violência física e moral que sofrem cotidianamente. Leia mais.

Improving labor practices in the shrimp sector in Bangladesh

Dhaka, 7 July 2016 — The industry of shrimp cultivation, including processing, freezing, and exporting, is a major sector of the fisheries of Bangladesh. This country's exporting of shrimp contributes 3.78% in GDP, and the industry employs 60,000 people, who in turn support well over 3.5 million dependents. Interestingly, as high as 80 percent of the workers are female. Although the cultivation is done in regions surrounded with water (bodies/coastal regions), a major part of compilation, processing, and packaging for export is done in Dhaka. Similar to poor but improving working conditions in the garment sector, the working environment for the shrimp industry labor force has significant room for improvement. See more.

Menjangkau Kelompok Rentan

Jakarta, 6 July 2016 — Kelompok miskin urban mayoritas berada pada sektor informal yang menyebabkan mereka rentan terhadap gejolak ekonomi, sosial dan politik. Jaring pengaman sosial kerap menegasikan keberadaan mereka baik yang diberikan oleh pemerintah maupun swasta. Namun kini dengan skema asuransi yang baru melalui BPJS dari pemerintah, diharapkan akan lebih banyak kelompok di sektor informal mendapat keuntungan sosial. Baca lebih lanjut.

Waste pickers in Lagos benefit from slum households’ recyclables

Lagos, 5 July 2016 — As one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Lagos generates huge amounts of waste – all of which is transferred to dumpsites through private trucks or informal collectors known as waste pickers. Wecyclers has begun to incentivize slum households to improve the supply and quality of waste received by informal recyclers. See more.

Bangladeshi Garment Workers Get a Chance at an Education

Chittagong, 4 July 2016 — Asian University for Women's (AUW) Pathways to Promise program provides female garment workers an opportunity to switch their sewing machines for books and computers. See more.

In Bengaluru, it's pedestrians vs. street vendors

Bangalore, 1 July 2016 — In 2014, after the directive of Supreme Court of India, the Street Vendors (protection of livelihood and regulation of street vending) Act was passed. The guidelines recommend each local government frame rules for facilitating implementation. While the rules are yet to be finalized in Bengaluru, the street vendors have to endure persistent harassment and evictions. On the other hand, an initiative in a residential area of Bengaluru towards inclusive street design is a ray of hope. See more.


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Hi Jorge,
Great article. we have also many marginalized recyclers in Cairo streets who are denied as professionals and do not have equal rights with their counterparts in other work professions. I wonder if ARB also advocates for their rights for pensions, healthcare and similar matters important for well-being, or it is just advocating for them to be included in the Municipality system. Did recylcers think to establish a trade union or an independent association to advocate for further rights? I wish also if the normal street people see the important of recylers in our community and start advocate also for them each person by his way starting at least with good behavior adoption toward those people.
Thanks for sharing about this.

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