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Question of the week 17


What are promising examples of development policies and programmes based on recognition and equitable participation of informal workers’ organizations?

Reactions (7)


Gladys Mponda - MUFIS
2016-11-2 18:54

Workers in the informal needs training on bargaining power, social protection and human rights so that they can demand their rights.

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L. Bisschop - Ghent University
2016-11-4 09:35

Together with a colleague, I’ve conducted a comparative study of informal waste management in two cities of the Global South (Accra & Porto Alegre). Our analysis points out that informal waste pickers play a crucial role in the implementation of waste policies in both cities, despite differing economic, social and institutional contexts. The study of the waste management system also points to multiple connections between informal and formal parts of the economy, at local, national and international level. Although the informal waste pickers... read more »

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Adrienne E. Eaton - School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University
2016-11-4 20:00

Based on primary research on 9 cases involving different countries in different regions and a wide range of occupational groups and an extensive secondary literature review, my colleagues and I identified characteristics of successful campaigns to improve the conditions of informal workers.  We found that a wide array of organizational types can help informal workers exercise collective power including traditional unions, cooperatives, associations or combinations of the three.  Similarly these organizations draw on a wide repertoire of tactics... read more »

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Ratna M. Sudarshan
2016-11-7 04:23

The Bidi Workers Welfare Fund (BWWF) in India is an example of a tripartite fund that recognizes and builds upon the strength of organized though informal bidi workers, many of whom are home based workers. A study conducted some years ago demonstrated that children of home based bidi workers were more likely to be in school than the other groups studied, and scholarships offered by the BWWF as a significant part of the explanation (... ).   This Fund was set up in 1976, and has been followed by several other Welfare Funds for unorganized sector workers. It is an approach to social protection that was recommended by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector. While the experience of these various efforts differs, the approach offers a good way for governments to build upon the outreach efforts of organizations of informal workers. read more »

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Kate Meagher - London School of Economics
2016-11-8 16:21

Numerous promising examples of collaboration with informal enterprise organizations exist in various parts of Nigeria.  Many informal organizations are involved in tax collection for the local government, engage in tax bargaining, or collaborate in security provision in local markets.  Larger nationally federated organizations, such Association of Nigerian Market Women and Men, the Nigerian Butchers Association or even the motocycle taxi association ACOMORAN -- all of which have a predominantly informal membership --  participate in dialogues w... read more »

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Pat Horn - StreetNet International
2016-11-10 15:13

Three programmes in the SADC region by governments directly involving representatives of workers in the informal economy instead of the more established practice of unilaterally developed programmes, after the adoption of ILO Recommendation 204, i.e.

1. Malawi - appointment of General Secretary of MUFIS (Malawi Union for the Informal Sector) as part of the labour delegation on the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council.  This recognises that organised informal workers are ready to represent their own sector, as opposed to soliciting formal econo... read more »

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INCLUDE secretariat - include
2016-11-12 15:30

Many thanks to all who contributed to this Question of the Week. The practical examples you have described are providing valuable insight into successful practice, and thereby identify possible pathways for policy makers that seek to more effectively include informal workers’ organizations.

The given examples of policies and programmes differed in terms of location, target group as well as project content. In this regard L. Bisschop (Ghent University) pointed out that, when designing and implementing policies, it is crucial to take into acco... read more »

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