Your Feedback

The GA 2014 may be well over, but we are still receiving feedback and praise regarding the structure and content of this year’s Assembly. We are very pleased that our work has had such a positive impact on so many and hope that the experience will continue to be a source of inspiration as we move forward. Below we have posted some of the many comments we received via email and social media both during and after the GA. Thank you all for your generous praise and invaluable contributions to this discussion.


Dear Wiego colleagues,

… I want to thank you all for a wonderful week in Yogyarkarta. 

It was a real pleasure meeting and learning from the WIEGO family - and how research can be effectively used towards advocating for change. A steep learning curve!

Masuma Mamdani


Thank you again for having me and my project partner colleagues at your meeting in Yogyakarta.

It was a valuable experience for me to meet with many WIEGO members with rich experience in organizing and making improvements in challenging environment in which the informal economy workers operate.

Aya Matsuura


The convention was a good experience for both myself and my wife as we could understand the activities of WIEGO in much detail. 
…. Hope we could expand the activities further for the benefit of informal women workers in coming years.

Govindan Raveendran


@WIEGOGLOBAL your team is doing a fantastic job of live tweeting #WIEGOGA2014! Thank you! Really enjoying following the discussion.

Victoria Okoye


I just want to take a moment to say how much I'm impressed by the website for your General Assembly, especially the agenda, the clarity of navigation, and the fact that it's translated into multiple languages. 

As a communications person, I appreciate that that is no small feat! 

Big kudos all around …

Katie Gillett


… my gratitude and admiration for all the team, what a bunch of committed people we can be, everyone worked very hard, and we had a very large Assembly, fantastic to have so many worker leaders and good WIEGO friends…..

Carmen Roca


Greetings and a big thank you for all that you did to make the event memorable. There is so much to learn from every WIEGO event. It is not only exchange of knowledge but a spirited journey ...

Namrata Bali, SEWA Academy


I heard the Assembly was the best ever, so congratulations to all involved in the planning of such a success.

Cheers & hugs

Lucia Fernandez

Solidarity Forever!

Over the course of the GA, WIEGO has expressed and received messages of solidarity.  

Our message of solidarity with the IUF EECA Women's Conference is embedded in the video below.  Click here to see the video of solidarity the IUF EECA Women's Conference sent to us in return via Facebook. Finally, keep reading for the IDWF's expression of solidarity to us in Spanish.

Estimadas compañeras de la Red de WIEGO reciban nuestros cordiales saludos de la Federación internacional de trabajadoras del hogar -FITH/IDWF. 

Mediante la presente le deseamos éxitos en su asamblea mundial de mujeres líderes de la economía informal  que se desarrollara del 11 al 13 de noviembre de 2014. Me siento muy orgullosa de saber que muchas compañeras de diferentes partes del mundo estarán reunidas en Indonesia.

A mis compañeras trabajadoras del sector informal les decimos que ustedes son parte de nosotros, también las trabajadoras del hogar/domesticas formamos parte de la economía informal, su sufrimiento y sus luchas también son nuestras , ya que vivimos en un mundo donde se nos invisibiliza ,explota y discrimina , donde la sociedad no valora nuestro trabajo, tampoco nos toman en cuenta a pesar que nosotras los que trabajamos dentro de la economía informal  somos las que más aportamos al desarrollo del país.

Gracias al trabajo y apoyo que viene realizando WIEGO durante años ha sido posible que mas trabajadores nos organicemos y hablemos por nosotros mismo así hemos podido decirle al mundo que nuestro trabajo es digno como cualquier otro trabajo lo que lo hace indigno es la discriminación y explotación por la que pasamos día a día, donde sacamos fuerzas para salir adelante, hoy más que nunca estamos convencidas que unidas y organizadas somos más fuertes . Ahora nos estamos preparando para lograr que nuestros hermanos también logren el próximo año tener una recomendación de la OIT y estamos seguros que lo lograremos y estaremos para apoyarlos en esa lucha, así como ustedes también apoyaron nuestras luchas para obtener el convenio 189 de la OIT, por favor hermanos tenemos que salir de la sombra y decir basta ya  SOMOS TRABAJADORES Y QUEREMOS UN TRABAJO DECENTE CON LOS MISMOS DERECHOS QUE CUALQUIER OTRO TRABAJADOR , mi corazón y oraciones  se quedara con ustedes  todos estos días, les envió mucha fuerzas desde mi país PERÚ donde hay una gran demanda de compañeros y compañeras que se dedican al trabajo informal, que son perseguidos por la policía, que quitan sus mercaderías que venden los ambulantes , que nos golpean y el gobierno no hace nada , yo misma formo parte de los vendedores ambulantes porque muchas trabajadoras del hogar trabajan por las mañanas y por las noches trabajamos como recicladoras y vendedoras ambulantes porque nuestros sueldos no nos alcanza para cubrir la canasta familiar por eso lo vivimos en carne propia, hace 2 años murió mi hermano víctima de un cáncer al estomago. El era un vendedor de caramelos en los carros; subía bailaba y vendía. Este trabajo lo realizo hasta el último de sus días, así como el de los trabajadores informales no cuentan con un seguro ante esta penosa enfermedad. Si DIOS nos permite el próximo año estaremos reunidos en Ginebra para pelear y apoyar en la conquista de la recomendación de la OIT y unidos buscaremos estrategias porque como dijo el presidente Mujica de Uruguay, nuestras luchas tienen que ser en conjunto si queremos ser escuchados. Nuestro agradecimiento  también a las organizaciones que vienen apoyando esta lucha, gracias Chris, Rhonda, Sofia Treviño, Carmen Roca y a todas las que apoyan el trabajo de WIEGO en diferentes partes del mundo. 



vicepresidenta de la federacion internacional de trabajadoras del hogar -FITH/IDWF

                                                  Representante de america latina 


Cooperatives and Formalization

by Simel Esim, ILO

This week more than 100 informal economy workers, mainly women, from over 40 countries, and those from solidarity organizations are participating in the 6th General Assembly of the Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) network in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

As I am watching the livestream from the event, I am struck by the energy, vision and accomplishments of the membership-based organizations of workers in the informal economy, largely led by women, since the network was formed in 1997. From street vendors (Streetnet International) and home-based workers to waste pickers (Global Alliance of Waste Pickers) and domestic workers (International Domestic Worker Federation), not only have they formed their national trade unions, cooperatives and solidarity economy organizations, but also established their international solidarity networks, alliances and federations to protect and advance the rights of their members.

Take the example of domestic workers, where the ILO has been a critical player. Domestic workers have mobilized through their unions and membership-based associations nationally, formed an International Domestic Workers Network, and successfully advocated for the passing of an ILO Convention and Recommendation on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. More recently, they formed a federation with 47 affiliates from 43 countries.

In a recent mapping undertaken by the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit in its Enterprises Department, over 40 cooperatives of domestic workers from around the world, which are facilitating their members’ transition to formality, were found. This has happened both through worker cooperatives as well as services cooperatives that provide a range of services from finance and housing to education and care. Domestic worker cooperatives market their members’ services, help negotiate contracts, provide education and advocate for rights of their members. Highlights of findings from the mapping on domestic worker cooperatives can be accessed in ILO COOP brief on cooperating out of isolation.

The cooperative world, especially that of workers' cooperatives, is starting to take note of domestic worker cooperatives. Late last year the Mondragon Bank and the National Cooperative Bank of the U.S. signed an agreement to support the establishment and development of domestic worker cooperatives.

I have been involved with WIEGO, a global action-research-policy network that seeks to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy, since its beginnings 17 years ago as a development practitioner member. Since then I held a number of roles within WIEGO from regional coordinator to nominating committee member.  One of my most unforgettable experiences with WIEGO was spending a full day with a 70 year old woman waste picker cooperative leader from SEWA in Ahmedabad, India collecting waste - mainly paper, plastic items, iron and steel, wood, old cloth and glass bottles.

 Since SEWA established waste picker cooperatives and negotiated with the municipality for better terms and conditions of work for their members, other waste picker cooperatives have been formed around India and the world. During the International Labour Conference this June, we talked with Suman More from SWaCH, a solid waste collection and handling cooperative that was established by a trade union Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari (KKPKP) in Pune, India. Suman said that before establishing their cooperative “when people passed us on the streets they would cover their noses, they would not talk to us or even stand next to us”. After the cooperative, she noted “there has been a big change in peoples’ attitudes” and that they “are treated with more respect”. You can read the full interview with Suman on the latest issue of ILO COOP News Update

 In a recent joint initiative with colleagues from the Sectoral Activities Department, we have looked into cooperatives of waste pickers in the electrical and electronic waste value chain, which is globally the fastest growing waste stream. Most of the world’s e-waste ends up in developing countries to be treated by workers in the informal economy who are vulnerable to the health and environmental risks of e-waste, have little power to negotiate their working conditions and end up recovering a fraction of the recyclable material while contaminating themselves and the poor communities where informal e-waste recycling takes place. Many of these challenges and opportunities can be addressed through the promotion of cooperatives and other social and solidarity economy organizations.

 Chris Bonner, the Director of WIEGO’s Organization and Representation Programme has indicated that the network has taken up cooperatives as a critical part of their workplan for the next five years. At ILO COOP, we look forward to working closely with WIEGO in strengthening cooperatives of informal economy workers in their transition to formality.

Day 1: Market Stall Exhibits

 Chris Bonner and the Law & Informality Market Stall

Chris Bonner and the Law & Informality Market Stall

WIEGO kicked off its Global General Assembly by offering participants a tour of four areas in which the worldwide WIEGO Network has turned collaboration with membership-based organizations into big changes at the local level. Two exhibitions offered a spotlight on WIEGO's Informal Economy Monitoring Study and Law and Informality. 

WIEGO's Law & Informality work is based on the fact that Informal workers need to know the law to leverage it in their favour-and legal frameworks need to recognize informal workers. "Law is a tool for building stronger organizations," Chris Bonner, Director of WIEGO's Organization and Representation Programme said. "On the other hand, in order to make legal gains, you need a strong organization."

The Informal Economy Monitoring Study--IEMS--was a large-scale research project designed to provide credible, grounded evidence of informal workers' situations. "We wanted to be able to say something substantial and reliable about the informal economy, and provide information that informal workers could use on the ground to improve their lives. And the research has had an impact in many of the 10 cities where it was conducted. Learn more through the video and other resources on the IEMS page.

Be sure to visit the blog again soon, as The other two exhibitions, Occupational Health and Safety and Focal Cities, will be highlighted soon.