Dec 202016
 
Published on Mar 5, 2014 This video describes our program "Securing Economic Rights for Informal Women Workers" with Gumutindo Coffee Cooperative in Uganda. Children work in the informal economy in many parts of the world. They often work as scavengers (collecting recyclables from the streets and dump sites), day laborers, cleaners, construction workers, vendors, in seasonal activities, domestic workers, and in small workshops; and often work under hazardous and exploitative conditions. It is common for children to work as domestic servants across Latin America and parts of Asia. Such children are very vulnerable to exploitation: often they are not allowed to take breaks or are required to work long hours; many suffer from a lack of access to education, which can contribute to social isolation and a lack of future opportunity. UNICEF considers domestic work to be among the lowest status, and reports that most child domestic workers are live-in workers and are under the round-the-clock control of their employers. Some estimates suggest that among girls, domestic work is the most common form of employment. Total Suffering The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of children are being abandoned and with many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear. Others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites and diseases, thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease spawned in the Landfill. And yet others are being enslaved and abused. It must be so. Every time there is plenty, There is poverty. This very fact will automatically lead to an increase in the urban population and “naturally” will increase the poor population and the “natural” state of starvation and misery continues. In a universe of social media and selfish genes, blind physical forces and social divisiveness, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. It is the intent of Green Fire to go beyond luck and create a new and better enviroment for them. The universe of the Children living on Landfills that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no recognition, no purpose but survival, nothing but pitiless indifference. Thank you for reading. Don’t be indifferent (more…)
Dec 112016
 
Informal Workers | WIEGO Informal workers do not receive social protection through work or legal protection through the state. Too often, these workers are unfairly stigmatized as “illegal”, “underground”, “black” or “grey” – but the vast majority are simply trying to earn a living against great odds. Informal workers may be self-employed in small unregistered enterprises; they may be sub-contracted workers or even work for wages in unprotected jobs. And they can be found in urban or rural settings, and in the richest as well as the poorest countries. In recent decades, informal employment has persisted or grown, emerging in unexpected places and in new guises. Today, half to three-quarters or more of non-agricultural workers in developing countries earn their living informally. They work in plain sight… Street vendors in Mexico City; rickshaw pullers in Kolkata; jeepney drivers in Manila; push-cart vendors in New York city; garbage collectors in Bogotá; roadside barbers in Durban… those who work on the streets or in open areas belong to the more visible occupational groups in the informal economy. …and out of sight Some informal workers are less visible – even invisible. Down the crowded lanes are workshops that repair bicycles and motorcycles; recycle scrap metal; make furniture and metal parts; tan leather and stitch shoes; weave, dye, and print cloth; polish gems; sort and sell paper, and plastic waste; and more. The least visible informal workers, the majority women, sell or produce goods from their homes: they may be garment or food workers, incense-stick or cigarette rollers, paper bag or kite makers. Then there are those – again usually women – who work in others’ homes. Tens of millions of domestic workers around the globe are among the most vulnerable of all workers. And informal workers are not confined to developing countries. There are informal garment workers in Toronto; informal embroiderers on the island of Madeira; informal shoemakers in Madrid; and informal assemblers of electronic parts in Leeds. Other common categories of informal work in both developed and developing countries include contract workers in restaurants/hotels; sub-contracted janitors and security guards; casual day labourers in construction and agriculture; piece-rate workers in sweatshops; and temporary office helpers or off-site data processors. Most workers in all of these categories are informally employed. But despite great differences … Working conditions and earnings differ markedly. Even within countries, the informal economy is highly segmented by place of work, sector (more…)
Dec 082016
 
Informal workers do not receive social protection through work or legal protection through the state. Too often, these workers are unfairly stigmatized as “illegal”, “underground”, “black” or “grey” – but the vast majority are simply trying to earn a living against great odds. Informal workers may be self-employed in small unregistered enterprises; they may be sub-contracted workers or even work for wages in unprotected jobs. And they can be found in urban or rural settings, and in the richest as well as the poorest countries. In recent decades, informal employment has persisted or grown, emerging in unexpected places and in new guises. Today, half to three-quarters or more of non-agricultural workers in developing countries earn their living informally.     Share this:FacebookLinkedInTwitterGoogleTumblrPinterestReddit (more…)
Mar 302016
 
New research released today – ahead of International Waste Pickers’ Day on March 1 – highlights the role and impact of those who make a living from what others throw away. The study challenges the common view that waste pickers have no place in modern solid waste management systems. Waste pickers are among the most invisible workers in the informal economy and often work in deplorable conditions. The study shows how waste pickers in five developing countries play a role in keeping cities clean and highlights the challenges they face in recovering recyclable materials. In cities where local governments have provided better access to recyclables, integrated waste pickers into formal solid waste management systems and provided protected spaces for sorting and baling waste, waste pickers have report higher earnings, improved door-to-door waste removal services, savings to municipal coffers and reduction in on-the-job health issues. However, waste pickers in all five study cities – Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Bogota, Colombia; Pune, India; Nakuru, Kenya; and Durban, South Africa – reported significant challenges. Study respondents experienced increased competition from other waste pickers, a reduction in prices for recyclables, and stigmatization and harassment. These challenges impact family well-being in countries where waste picking is the only work option for many poor people. In Pune, India, for example, waste picking is the main source of household income for 85 per cent of waste pickers’ households. Only 25 per cent of respondents reported having another work activity, indicating the relevance of waste picking as a main source of income. With the exception of Durban, none of the cities reported formal wage employment as their primary household earnings. Households in some cities received additional income from government grants, illustrating the need for a cushion to fall back on in times of instability. “Waste pickers are closely linked to local governments and to the urban economy,” says Sonia Dias, Waste Picker Sector Specialist of Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), who co-authored the study with Melanie Samson, WIEGO’s Africa Waste Sector Specialist. “Formally integrating waste pickers into the solid waste management system makes sense because, in many cities, these workers are the ones who are already providing the only collection of household refuse.” The study findings imply that policymakers should devise better programmes to reduce vulnerability in workers’ lives, create opportunities to integrate waste pickers into formal systems, and effectively protect basic rights to pursue waste (more…)