WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising) is a global research-policy network that seeks to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy. The organisation is comprised of individuals and institutions from three broad constituencies:

  • membership-based organisations (MBOs) of informal workers such as trade unions, cooperatives, and worker associations
  • researchers and statisticians who carry out research, data collection, or data analysis on the informal economy
  • practitioners from development agencies (inter-governmental, governmental, and non-governmental) who provide services to or shape policies towards the informal workforce

Established in 1997, WIEGO strives to create spaces where informal workers have a voice, visibility, and validity, and does so by  building capacity among informal worker organizations, expanding the knowledge base, improving statistics and research, and influencing local, national and international policies through dialogue.

ACC collaboration and the WIEGO Urban Policies Programme
WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme aims to contribute to the reshaping of urban policy debates and government practices by:

• increasing visibility of urban informal workers, their issues and contributions

• demonstrating viable options for including urban informal workers

• shaping urban policy debates and government practices

• supporting membership-based organizations (MBOs) and their campaigns

• institutionalizing inclusive practice via curriculum innovation

Research and dissemination is conducted by a group of researchers largely located in the South and co-ordinated by Caroline Skinner.  Since August 2009, the ACC has hosted Caroline Skinner, as policy director of the programme.

The Inclusive Cities project
The Inclusive Cities project, active in 10 cities around the globe, is a collaboration between membership-based organisations (MBOs) of the working poor, international alliances of MBOs, and those supporting the work of MBOs. It also falls under WIEGO’s work and is coordinated by Caroline Skinner.

Launched in 2008, the project stemmed from a shared vision amongst WIEGO and its Inclusive Cities partners that the needs and contributions of all people living in cities are valued equally in the spaces in which they live and work. Inclusive cities ensure that all residents – including the urban working poor – have a representative voice in governance, planning, and budgeting processes, and ensure that the working poor have access to secure and dignified livelihoods, affordable housing, and basic services such as water/sanitation and electricity supply.

In a move towards this vision, WIEGO and its collaborative partners on the project strive to monitor the informal economy in 10 cities, documenting the state and organisational practices that shape livelihoods, and constructing statistical profiles of urban informal work. Influencing urban planning curricula, analysing the impact of mega events on the urban working poor, and monitoring global news, are also amongst the projects active within the framework of the Inclusive Cities project.

WIEGO publication series
Enacting its commitment to open source content, WIEGO provides a publication platform, which Caroline Skinner also manages. WIEGO’s publication series is a up-to-date and comprehensive collection of work on the informal economy consisting of approximately one hundred publications. The series hosts different types of resources that are targeted towards and accommodate diverse audiences.