Moving forward with new StreetNet International Council

30 January 2017

By Oksana Abboud, StreetNet Media Officer

Pictured are StreetNet Council members during the Leadership Training

A three day Leadership Training for the members of StreetNet International Council took place on 23-25 January in Durban, South Africa.

The training program was aimed on getting new Council members to be familiar with StreetNet structure, policies and power as well as outlining strategic areas for the next three years.

The training method was participatory, with participants breaking into language based groups who had to read through the clauses of the StreetNet Constitution which describes the roles of the office bearers (clauses 9.5 to 9.9), as well as the powers and duties of the International Council (clause 10.6), and the StreetNet policies.

Pictured are StreetNet Council members during the Leadership Training

The groups reported back describing the relevant Constitutional clauses and developed some suggestions which included the following:

  • Greater clarity needed on International Council member responsibilities, particularly in relation to regional authority and responsibility e.g. Council members should be responsible for bringing in new organisations from the region into StreetNet, and should be able to travel to other countries in the region;
  • Policies should be more concise;
  • Code of Conduct is comprehensive and needs no additions.

The Fundraising strategy and information about specific donors was presented by Pat Horn, StreetNet International Coordinator, which turned into a lively discussion among participants and resulted in proposals’ list to be discussed at the International Council Meeting on 26-27 January.

Pat Horn emphasized that while approaching the donors, we have to create confidence and make sure that we are continuing to evolve in a way that is collectively supported by the leadership. Donors get very worried if old decisions, obligations and planning are abandoned by new leadership.

She also reminded that a big task for the coming period is to raise funds, as currently there is very little money in the StreetNet’s pot.

Day two of the StreetNet Leadership Training was aimed at Strategic Planning. Jane Barret, WIEGO International Coordinator was facilitating the whole day sessions.

Pictured are StreetNet Council members during the Leadership Training

The participants were working on the following issues: Impacting on laws and urban policies through collective negotiations; how to roll out to all StreetNet affiliates using the New Urban Agenda; Implementation of R204; gaining access into tripartite forums; extension of social protection; social solidarity economy structures. The Council Members also discussed the issue of regional impact and informal cross-border traders, regional alliances, how to roll out to more regions. Consolidating a strategic plan for current International Council mandate was successfully achieved.

The third Day of the Training was focused on management of resources in order to equip the new leadership to lead on these issues, and to make any recommendations for amendments to the systems in the International Council meeting. Pat Horn, StreetNet International Coordinator introduced to the Council Members the issue of Resources Management and Annelene Muhammad Shafi, Financial Administrator clearly briefed about current StreetNet financial situation.

During the evaluation session, the participants expressed their views and satisfaction about the training, pointing on learning a lot of useful and necessary knowledge about StreetNet functioning and other interesting topics.

Leadership of Ubumbano Traders’ Alliance, StreetNet affiliate from Durban, visited the Training to greet a new StreetNet President and the Council Members.

Pictured is StreetNet International Council during its Meeting in Durban

On 26-27 January, StreetNet International Council took place in StreetNet Office in Durban.

Lorraine Sibanda, StreetNet President professionally chaired the Council Meeting which had a lot of items on its agenda.

The first Council Meeting was held successfully as all the agenda issues were discussed and agreed by the Council members.

The Council also adopted a Draft Strategic Plan which indicates main four strategic focus areas for StreetNet work going forward. The strategic areas are the following:

  • Using collective negotiations and other related strategies of mobilization and pressure to influence laws and urban policies in favour of street vendors and other informal workers;
  • Implementing ILO Recommendation 204 at country level including gaining access to tripartite forums, extension of social protection and advancing social solidarity economy structures;
  • Building regional solidarity between StreetNet affiliates across borders and building regional alliances to advance the interests of cross-borders informal traders;
  • Continue growing and developing StreetNet International.

International Coordinator’s report and recommendations have been also supported and adopted by the International Council.

Happy New Year 2017!!!

Dear Affiliates

Happy New Year 2017!!!

May this year will be full of success for all of us and street vendors’ rights will be respected and recognized in each country!

Nothing for Us without Us!

Ukrainian small entrepreneurs ask to stop violence and to let them work to feed their families!

28 December 2016

Pictured is Mrs. Valentyna Korobka, FTUEU Chairwoman

Free Trade Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (FTUEU), a StreetNet affiliate from Ukraine, reports about continuous violence and harm towards its members and other market/street vendors in Ukraine, namely in Kyiv city – the Ukrainian capital.

Kyiv Local Administration talks about so called “beautification of the city” development program and started to dismantle trading booths and local markets from their locations, which is aimed to pave the way for the establishment of a new entertainment center.

Bizarrely, the small business entrepreneurs and market traders have never been informed in advance neither about the plan to destroy their working places, nor about any relocation plan perspective.

Consequently, an immense conflict started to take place between the Kyiv City Council and the large and small businesses concerning the placing of trade stalls. It has to be noted that the local authorities together with employees of the National Police of Ukraine often, in contrary to the applicable law, support the large businesses only. This leads to cases of theft or destruction of property of small entrepreneurs, injury and even death of people.

Pictured are destroyed trading places of small markets in Kyiv city

On December 17, while attempting to demolish the stalls at the market near the metro station "Kyiv Polytechnic Institute", local clashes erupted with police which resulted in an injury of at least one trader.

On December 20, a number of small entrepreneurs were injured by police officers as a result of local clashes during a peaceful gathering in front of the Kyiv City Council.

On December 22, as a result of collisions of small entrepreneurs and volunteer battalions with police, while trying to pull down trade stalls at the market near the metro station "Kyiv Polytechnic Institute", one woman was hospitalized and two police officers got injured.

Later, on December 25, 2016 during the fire at Lisovy second-hand market, one woman died and 11 people were injured. This case and a number of other aggressive actions towards traders which took place at other Kyiv markets of Darnytsia and Kharkivsky districts, is totally in violation of related Ukrainian Laws and all ILO Conventions and Recommendations. According to some witnesses, it was an arson fire.

Pictured are destroyed trading places of small markets in Kyiv city

The above was just some examples of recent violent cases involved “traders” issue in Kiev city.

“Though the small business entrepreneurs have to suffer so much in order to survive and to fight so hard for keeping their livelihoods. They don’t violate the laws or regulations of the country, and though they are those people who created jobs living for themselves, it seems that the authorities have set a plan for closing all routs for their survival and for depriving them from finding any means for living along with their families”, – says Valentyna Korobka.

FTUEU, with support of its umbrella organization – Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine- held the urgent Press-Conference to draw attention of the City Local Administration, General Prosecutor’s Office and Members of Parliament to stop violence towards small entrepreneurs and traders and to start immediate investigation process of those incidents which caused even the death of one trader.

Valentyna Korobka, FTUEU Chairwoman clearly announced all demands on behalf of small entrepreneurs to Ukrainian authority and called on traders to mobilize and unite as only traders themselves can and have to protect their rights and interests.

StreetNet International has already expressed its concern to the Mayor of Kyiv and the Speaker of Ukrainian Parliament with appeals for their consideration of the issues rose above. StreetNet requested the Officials to facilitate the investigation process with regard to the above-mentioned cases, and to take measures to persuade the Kviv City Council to adopt a more inclusive way of dealing with street/market vendors in Kyiv through negotiations with Free Trade Union of Entrepreneurs of Ukraine (FTUEU) and Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) representatives.

FTUEU has its own supporters and allies around the country. Thus, a Coalition of human rights’ Organizations of Ukraine also calls on all parties to begin negotiations as soon as possible to stop the violence on the streets and return to the legal field. It also expressed some recommendations for the government and National Police of Ukraine.

Information provided by the FTUEU.

Strengthening our internal organizational democracy

2 December, 2016

By Pat Horn, StreetNet International Coordinator

Pat Horn, StreetNet International Coordinator

StreetNet was launched on 14th November 2002, and has held 5 international congresses every three years in accordance with the StreetNet Constitution – in 2004 in Korea, 2007 in Brazil, 2010 in Benin, 2013 in Chile, and in 2016 in India. This is an important part of maintaining our organizational democracy. But does this mean that our work of strengthening our internal organizational democracy is done?

If we are listening to what StreetNet’s affiliates are saying, the answer is NO. Since the Fifth StreetNet International Congress in Delhi, India, in October 2016, we have had many expressions of dissatisfaction about undemocratic practices that were observed in the Congress, despite the Congress being held in compliance with StreetNet’s constitution, policies and established practices. Dissatisfaction has been expressed about the “slate” system (an electioneering tactic whereby certain participants pass around lists of who should be elected, during democratic elections), punitive electioneering behaviour on the part of some delegates, electioneering through spread of misinformation on the part of other delegates, and failure to uphold the principle and established StreetNet practice of equitable regional distribution of office-bearer positions in the International Council. It should be stressed that there is no official complaint demanding a nullification of the elections which took place at the Congress. However, any democratic organization ignores such expressions of dissatisfaction at their peril. So we have resolved that we must listen to our members, create a safe and transparent space where they can express themselves without fear of victimization, and we are asking for suggestions for ways of strengthening weaknesses in our internal democracy.

StreetNet’s West and Central African Regional Focal Point convened a post-Congress teleconference, where a frank analysis of the congress was done, starting with a frank self-criticism of the lack of unity between delegates in their own region. They went on to critique of the quality of French interpretation, and also the last-minute logistical organisation with regard to tickets and visa arrangements, and poor communications. For these inconveniences StreetNet coordination has taken full responsibility and apologized to the Regional Focal Point.

The critique went on to mention observations about lack of democratic conduct by some participants – without going into detail.
In retrospect, we realised that we have not been sufficiently active in publicising the StreetNet Code of Conduct and advising our members how to defend their democratic rights using this Code of Conduct. So we are now rectifying this by circulating the Code of Conduct to all StreetNet affiliates and asking for feedback (which will be kept anonymous unless specified otherwise by the organisation concerned) with regard to the following questions:

  1. Do you feel that the Code of Conduct was well observed during the Fifth StreetNet International Congress?
  2. If not, can you give examples of which clauses you believe were breached by staff or delegates?
  3. What are your suggestions to StreetNet to ensure that the Sixth StreetNet International Congress in 2019 will be more democratic than the last one in 2016?
  4. Are there missing elements which you feel need to be added to the Code of Conduct?
  5. What is your view about the “slate” practice during democratic elections?
  6. Any other concerns/comments.

In future, we will include the Code of Conduct in the documents packages of every StreetNet event – and all participants will be made aware of their rights in accordance with the Code of Conduct, and those who step out of line can be guided by their fellow delegates using the Code of Conduct, at the time of the problem. We hope that this will increase the level of trust and confidence of our members about the protection of their democratic rights, as well as the level of understanding of all delegates about the ethical limits which apply to the exercise of democratic rights. In the meantime, we hope that there will be a transparent debate about this issue, so that we can do better during the Sixth StreetNet International Congress.

Click here to find a full version of the Code of Conduct: http://www.streetnet.org.za/docs/policydocs/2016/en/coc-eng.pdf

Streetnet holds successful Regional Workshop in LAOS

28 November, 2016

By Oksana Abboud – StreetNet Organizer

Pictured is a group of all participants attending the Workshop

StreetNet held a successful Regional Workshop on Organizing Informal Workers, on 21-22 November 2016 in Vientiane City, Laos. The workshop was part of a StreetNet-OXFAM partnership.

40 participants attended the workshop which Oksana Abboud, StreetNet Organiser, facilitated.

The main aims of the workshops were:

  • To understand how to organise workers in the informal economy and conduct collective bargaining;
  • To learn about international experiences and best practices in other countries;
  • To understand the role of trade unions in transitioning from the informal to the formal economy;
  • Planning a programme and the way forward;
  • Information-sharing on the informal economy.

Participants were welcomed by Mr. Simoon Ounlasy, Vice-President of the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU), Mr. Inpeng Meunvieth, Acting Director of its International Relations Department and Mr. Antonino Faibene, Programme Manager of the Oxfam office in Laos.

Mr Ounlasy highlighted the importance of informal sector workers, their contribution to the country’s national economy and the challenges the LFTU faces in organising informal sector workers in Laos. The country’s Trade Union Law doesn’t mention informal workers and their right to be organised. LFTU plans to amend this law to include "informal workers” in its definition. He pointed out that informal workers outnumber formal workers and are an important source of worker power. When street vendors are brought into society, they become formal workers – a development which can be beneficial in financial terms, i.e. they pay taxes. The budget from the government to help street vendors is insufficient; support from other parties is needed.

Pictured are (from left to right) Mr. Simoon Ounlasy, LFTU Vice-President, Mr. Antonino Faibene, Programme Manager of the Oxfam office in Laos and Mr. Inpeng Meunvieth, Acting Director of LFTU International Relations Department

70 % of Laos’ workforce is active in the informal sector, said Mr Antonino of Oxfam. 90 % of these are women, who often lack skills and knowledge and are vulnerable. The Government has not taken any concrete actions to address their situation.

Mrs. Souphone Voravong presented research – ‘Street vendors in Vientiane City’, Laos" – by UN Women, which underlined the substantial growth Laos had made in its GDP over the last few years. This is needed, she said, to help women get income, make them less vulnerable and let them feel they are protected, appreciated and welcomed by society and government. She also suggested training on credit and negotiations for women street vendors, building their capacity, self-esteem and self-respect to strengthen them.

The workshop comprised seven activities. The first was introductory. The rest was made up of small working groups which discussed and developed different tasks around organizing and negotiations in informal economy sector.

Workshop participants while working in groups

The groups first discussed the need to organise workers in the informal economy . Central to this was understanding the specificities of organising in the context of the informal economy, developing appropriate organising strategies and responses for informal economy workers and developing and understanding key skills and abilities required by good organisers.

The groups next discussed addressing the needs and demands of informal economy workers through collective negotiations aimed at gaining a better understanding of some of their problems and demands. They also examined the importance of direct representation in collective negotiations for informal economy workers.

Next, the working groups identified three issues of their sector workers and had to translate these into demands for negotiations. The facilitator explained how this process is done, through simply re-phrasing the issues. She emphasised the use of specific wording as demands should be realistic and aimed at achieving maximum success. This is especially important for an organisation at the beginning of negotiations.

Lessons from trade unions in other countries on organizing in the informal economy, followed. Participants used cases studies to examine how trade unions around the world organised in this sector. This exercise was to enable them to develop their own thinking and ideas around organizing in the informal economy.

Workshop participants while working in groups

One of the most crucial ILO documents, Recommendation 204, was also discussed and analysed. ILO Recommendation 204 focuses on transitioning from the informal to the formal economy. This activity was important for understanding the meaning and concept of the informal economy, organising within it and the requirements for an effective transition from the informal to formal economy. The groups had to read ILO Recommendation 204, identify the formalisation elements, most progressive clauses and the missing elements in it. Most participants found this task difficult.

To help, the facilitator spoke on the key strategic gains of ILO Recommendation 204, which were very progressive and good for informal workers. She also mentioned those clauses which could harm them, and issues which were missing in the Recommendation, e.g. the lack of inclusion at local level authority level.

The last but very important activity, was developing a union strategy for informal economy workers. Participants revisited earlier discussions in order to develop a clear strategy and practical action plan directed towards achieving the vision of the different union groups, in the future.

The working groups drew up their action plans, defining their target groups and key priorities. They presented the step by step actions needed to organise informal workers and to overcome the obstacles they face in building their strategy.

During the workshop evaluation, participants expressed their happiness at learning about organising informal workers, and about ILO instruments. The workshop had offered them a chance to express their own views; however, learning about other countries’ experiences was a bonus. Vietnamese and Cambodian delegates had added value to the workshop by sharing their experiences in organising informal economy workers.

Workshop participants while working in groups

In his closing speech, Mr. Simoon Ounlasy stated that LFTU would implement the acquired knowledge and skills fruitfully in its trade union activity. He hoped for further support from both OXFAM and StreetNet International.

The Regional Workshop was successful and very useful for the LFTU participants who had just started learning about organising informal economy workers. Their leadership understands the importance of and need for organising informal workers in Laos; they have a great willingness to learn about this to move forward.

Lastly, StreetNet thanks Khamphy Khammvong, Oxfam Programme Officer in Laos. His dedicated preparatory work made this Regional event possible.

Streetnet International President’s Message on International Vendors Day (14 November 2016)

14 November, 2016

Lorraine Sibanda, StreetNet International President

Comradely Greetings to you all Informal Economy Workers in the entire world.

Today marks the 5th commemoration of the International Vendors Day. This is a special DAY for all informal economy workers who have become the bulk and majority of the working population across the whole world, of which the majority are women.

As the formal economy continues to shrink due to casualisation of work, company closures and growth of precarious work in the formal set-up, the informal economy work has continued to offer fall back survival and livelihood lines to the world’s populace, with street vending been the simplest and highest sector. However, these workers have and are continuously being victims of HARASSMENTS, CRIMINALISATION, POLITICISATION, DECENT WORK DEFICITS which include lack of social protection.

The importance of this day is that we as informal economy workers have continued to assert ourselves and fight for our rights and dignity against all odds. Our hope has been strengthened by the International Labour Organisation Recommendation 204 of 2015 which speaks on the transformation of the informal economy to the formal economy. This puts us on a high pedestal to set conditions and dictate the pace for the transformation process.

Therefore, comrades outside the sufferings we have been going through, our celebration or commemoration this year is equipped with the ammunition (R204) which awaits our practical implementation to cause our governments and the entire world decision making bodies not to ignore us anymore. It is our obligation as a united force to keep fighting this war. Let us not tire or allow anyone to divide our efforts. Our struggle is ONE and UNITED WE STAND, TOGETHER WE CAN under a TOUCH ONE TOUCH ALL approach.

Lastly we need to all popularise the commemoration of this day as much as possible through awareness campaigns and various activities so that we build on the visibility of the day. This should strengthen the day to become a holiday event for us in the international calendar.

As StreetNet International we say “NOTHING FOR US WITHOUT US”.

Thank you.

Lorraine Sibanda StreetNet International President

"Sustaining current struggles to end destruction of informal homes and livelihoods and establish a credible vendors/government negotiation structure in Lagos, Nigeria"

21 October, 2016

Pictured in Comrade Gbenga Komolafe, FIWON General Secretary

The ban of street trading in Lagos will take away the means of livelihood from street vendors in the midst of economic hardship in Nigeria.

Taking into account a high unemployment rate in the country, Lagosians feel the governor should have looked for a way of regulating the activities of the vendors and hawkers, instead of an outright ban.

Comrade Gbenga Komolafe, a General Secretary of Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria (FIWON), new StreetNet affiliate from Nigeria, highlights the challenges for the informal vendors in Nigeria to force the authority to negotiate with street vendors.

"It’s been turbulent here with the Lagos State Government continuing with its destruction of homes and livelihoods of the poor in Lagos. We had to stage two demonstrations in the past two weeks. First on October 4, 2016 to protest demolition of informal workplaces in some parts of Lagos and on October 13, 2016 and yet a more massive one on October 17, 2016 to protest the Governor’s declaration that would destroy all water front communities in Lagos! The protest continues.

Inaugurating the Osun State Chapter of FIWON

Local governments in Nigeria especially Lagos State are absolutely dysfunctional. The state governments actually control their finances, organize election into local councils and administers local government funds. This had led to gross abuse of the local government as an arm of governance while rendering them useless as an effective organ of local governance. Lagos State Government (LASG) has refused to organize election into local governments for several years while the ‘Party Leader’ appoints ‘Sole Administrators’ to manage them.

State government ministries and departments seem to be more relevant to informal workers here: Ministry of Commerce deal with traders, collects taxes from them, Ministry of transport deal with transporters and collect all manner of levies from them, Ministry of Environment deals with waste pickers etc. The local governments also collect certain forms of taxes but offer virtually no services.

The immediate challenge is to fight the current battles to stop further demolitions of homes and livelihoods of informal workers and use the struggle as an opportunity to building lasting structures of engagement with the vendors and use that to force open at least some of the closed space for service delivery and permanent collective negotiations.

Pictured are FIWON members during one of their Training Programs

We are demanding for the state government to retract its statement that it would destroy all water front communities in Lagos and engage with us on other inclusive options including the necessity for negotiation forums between informal workers and relevant line ministries.

The next challenge for FIWON is to organize a comprehensive advocacy campaign to respond to the terrible injustices being meted out to informal workers and get LASG to review its overt gentrification policies in the name of building a ‘mega city’ as part of a ‘modernization’ agenda. Such a campaign will involve meticulous interface with the street traders, an action plan with them, vigorous media campaigns, possible mass actions and of course interface with government officials and institutions with a view to achieve credible negotiation structures with the government institutions".

FIWON massive protest action against the Governor's declaration that would destroy all water front communities in Lagos (October 17, 2016)

Information provided by Gbenga Komolafe, FIWON General Secretary

FIWON was inaugurated on June 18, 2010 in Abuja in the course of its 1st National Conference in Abuja with over 34 self – employed workers’ organizations in attendance. FIWON’s membership is spread across 21 states in Nigeria, encompassing organizations of informal workers across 28 sectors ranging from agriculture and food processing to street and market vending, auto repair, petty manufacturing, carpentry and others.

 

5th StreetNet International Congress in the eyes of Admin team "A remarkable moment for StreetNet International"

Ruby Essack, Congress Administrator
Ruby Essack, Congress Administrator

My impressions are that the Congress focus was predominantly about voting in the new leadership instead of being focused and used as an opportunity to discuss various strategic issues and strategies for the organization and its future.

I think that it is great that for the 1st time in history StreetNet has a woman president and who is also from Africa. She sounds very competent and I’m sure she will do StreetNet proud.

I believe that most things went according to plan and what didn’t, we managed to find ways to make things happen.

The most difficult was working with a travel agent in another country, with 3.5 hours time difference ahead of South Africa and the language barrier. Some others were working with two hosts where one was very willing to work together and the other not really.

Previous Congresses, StreetNet had a full team working on the congress, it this instance it was just me, so it was burning the midnight oil for almost 3 months.

Teleconferences with the hosts were few and very difficult to have due to the communication line kept dropping every few minutes despite the different methods of communication being tried.

Holding the whole together in Delhi including the finance to ensure that everything ran smoothly and sometimes needing to get directly involved in tasks delegated to others, as they were not taking full responsibility for what was needed to be done.

However, working with Muskan and Shubendran who were always willing to do whatever was needed to be done and the pleasure of hearing how grateful they were for the new learning gained, lifted my spirit despite how tired I felt! Some affiliates expressing their appreciation for the good job being done

I think that most of the tasks were achieved. People did complain about not getting their visa requirements on time, but if you look at the ratio of how many people did make the congress despite the late requirements, I think is a very good achievement and not forgetting that there was only a 1 person team working on the congress preparations from the StreetNet end.

I would like to add that there were many people that were assisted in obtaining their visas due to my proactiveness and going the extra mile and it would’ve been good to hear feedback about this instead of complaints or criticism.

I wish that the StreetNet leadership work closely together with the coordinator to strengthen the organization and fulfill the vision and mission of StreetNet and its affiliates.

Sibailly M. Douhouré, StreetNet Organiser for Africa & Educator
Sibailly M. Douhouré, StreetNet Organiser for Africa & Educator

For the first time in the history of StreetNet, a woman has been elected President. For the first time, an African is elected President. The participation of women was 60%. This is the highest percentage of participation in all of StreetNet’s Congresses.

It was difficult in contacting affiliates in Africa to urgently confirm their itineraries. The consequence of this was that there wasn’t enough time to carry out visa applications particularly for affiliates who do not have Consulate of India in their countries and needed to travel to other countries for the procedures. We worked under stress while waiting for visas. Despite all these, with the collaboration of NASVI almost all expected delegates arrived, except Guinea who couldn’t obtain their visa.

The interpretation into other languages was not that good which made the discussion difficult, especially discussions regarding resolutions.

Oksana Abboud, StreetNet Organizer, Media Officer
Oksana Abboud, StreetNet Organizer, Media Officer

I am very happy to be part of StreetNet International staff since I started in January 2013.

This is my second time to participate in the StreetNet Congress nevertheless the preparation for the 5th StreetNet Congress was different as I got new responsibilities and tasks to do before and during the Congress.

I was always involved in all the Congress preparation stages and know how hard and challenging it was up to the Congress dates in October. Administrating all the StreetNet affiliates is a huge task especially for one person. But due to great experience and professionalism of Ruby Essack, the 5th StreetNet Congress went well.

It was also challenging for me as a Media person but at the same time when you see some results and positive feedback, you understand that all the spent efforts were not just wasted.

We didn’t fully succeed in Media Workshop and cultural evening, but this is a good lesson for our future Congress planning. Our Congress preparation team was small but effective as we were working in coordination and on one wave.

Bobby Marie, Congress Newsletter Editor and Photographer
Bobby Marie, Congress Newsletter Editor and Photographer

I think the 5th StreetNet Congress has been successful in its main official objectives especially in brining delegates from 49 countries, with no major failures.

However, with regard to the Media Plan we didn’t succeed everything. We just got to do an exhibition and Newsletter, FaceBook and Twitter postings. We did not do our Media workshop, and cultural evening due to the work of the congress which does not allow evening programme.

I think the Congress planning should start long before the Congress but big thanks to the admin staff from NASVI who worked very hard and helped a lot in making the 5th Congress happened.

Starting the Congress with a panel discussion about Indian Act on Street Vending was very successful start of this event. I believe the Congress in general is a great opportunity for delegates from different parts of the world to meet once in 3 years.

Miguel Sanz from WIEGO
Miguel Sanz from WIEGO

It was a pleasure and honour to help at the StreetNet International 5th Congress. I got the chance to meet workers from around the globe, united to improve the livelihoods and rights of street vendors. Incredibly strong women in action! And of course a great team to make that possible.

Thanks to all!

La lucha sigue!

Muskan Khan, NASVI Administration Department
Muskan Khan, NASVI Administration Department

I have never thought about the StreetNet but when heard and things happened very close to me, I really feel proud to be a part of this big world organisation.

I strongly believe everything went according to the plan. There were some difficulties during the Congress itself but most of planned stuff has been arranged successfully and I was really enjoying doing arrangements of panel meetings, arrival and departure of participants, smooth good environment, food arrangements and hospitality.

I got a great experience within such a short period of time and I know that StreetNet is very big organization and is the best platform for every vendor and affiliated organization.

Please remember to give me a chance again with such opportunity to be a part of next StreetNet International Conference.

Biggest Thanks to StreetNet for this congress conducted in India and a special thanks to Respected Ruby Madam and Oksana Madam. Both were too good and so kind. Also thanks to Respected Pat Madam for yummy chocolates.

Shubhendra Sachan, NASVI Admin Department
Shubhendra Sachan, NASVI Admin Department

Before this Congress, I did not know about the StreetNet, work done and achievements of StreetNet International as how it is improving the livelihood of the informal workers around the world. But, after being a part of StreetNet International I came to know with the reality of the work done for the informal sector from past 15 years since its inception and taking oath to continue such great work in future.

I saw everybody tried hard to make 5th StreetNet International a success and made sure that everything goes as per the plan.

The most difficult task was to make the delegates comfortable as it was their 1st visit to India and they were very much relying over us for each and everything. So, our aim was to make this Congress a remarkable for all the delegates too and I feel honored to be a part of it and doing my job perfectly.

The best part during the preparation of the Congress was to introduce the delegates with the Indian culture.

I think there were some issues related to interpreters and their equipment which were partly achieved and could be provided much better for better results.

It was my first experience working with StreetNet International and I must say it was a very nice experience. Meeting delegates from around the world, understanding their concerns, trying to provide all kind of help to make them feel comfortable and let them concentrate on their work for which they have come really meant to me a lot. It really helped me as a person and in my professional life too. There was so much to learn from everybody present that I am taking a lot of learning from it.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate StreetNet International for a successful visit to India. I wish StreetNet International come soon again to India and give me pleasure to provide my services once again.

Benu Sainy, SEWA Finance
Benu Sainy, SEWA Finance

I had a wonderful experience during the Congress to meet to all the StreetNet staff, Ruby Ma’am, Bobby and other participants. Such a great experience to work with all of you!