KENASVIT/StreetNet/ Africa Regional New Manifesto Campaign Workshop
18th-19th July 2011,Sandton Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya
Welcome and Introductions
-Simon Sangale Nasieku (Chairman, KENASVIT)
-Wilson Maina (Secretary, KENASVIT)
-Richard Muteti (SME and informal traders’ representative, Youth Board)
The Chairman, Simon Sangale Nasieku, welcomed participants to the workshop. Participants introduced themselves, with representatives from Ghana, Swaziland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, South Africa and various regions in Kenya.
Richard Muteti noted that there are 8.6 million informal traders in Kenya, not including agro-based traders. Major issues they face include access to dignified worksites, absence of a legal/policy framework, affordable credit, lack of market for their products/service, and lack of managerial/technical skills. On the other hand, the informal sector in Kenya prides itself on many achievements, including: self-organized circles and revolving loan funds, the Mbao pension scheme (traders pay 20 KSh a day through their mobile phone that goes into a pension fund), and progress on holding courses for informal traders at the Kenya Institute for Business Training. He noted that the government has begun to take the informal sector more seriously, although there is still a lot of work to be done; government policy towards the sector is fragmented, as 5 different ministries deal with the sector, and their mandates often contradict one another. He emphasized that no country in Africa has yet to enact a comprehensive legal framework for the informal sector although he acknowledged that some countries were more advanced in this sense than others (such as Ghana). The MSE Bill in Kenya would create a full-fledged council to handle this. KENASVIT has advocated for it and sensitized its members, and will have a commissioner on the small council for the Bill once it is enacted. Unfortunately, the Bill is being deliberately stalled because it will empower the informal sector and threaten corporate and big business interests. Muteti then called on the Kenyan informal sector to attach the MSE Bill to 2012 election demands. “Tell them, ‘vote for the MSE Bill and we will vote for you!’”
The Chairman thanked Richard and also described the SME handbook for small business operators that they are working on, which will be an important and beneficial resource for informal traders to tell them where they can access services, what the relevant laws are, and what organizations and associations of SME operators exist.
Sharing Experiences of Successful Campaigns
Facilitator: Simon Sangale Nasieku (Chairman, KENASVIT)
The Chairman described a campaign he participated in in 2007, which was a procession to protest corruption at Nakuru Municipal Council. After obtaining a permit, they marched carrying a black coffin with ‘corruption’ written on it and burned it at the New Town Hall, he and some protestors were arrested and beaten. They contacted a Minister who was an ally and was able to get them released on the basis that they had obtained a permit to demonstrate. As a result of the campaign, officers from that Council were transferred and new officers were brought in.
The Chairman then asked others to give examples of campaigns they participated in.
Anne Matondo of the LDFC in the DRC described a campaign to raise awareness about sexual violence against women, which involved holding events in military camps and distributing leaflets to inform women of their rights and how to file a complaint if they have been the victims of such a crime.
Antony Kwache of KENASVIT’s Kisumu affiliate described how his organization wrote petitions and held meetings to pressure micro-finance institutions to have more fair terms and conditions after the post-election violence in 2007-2008 when many informal traders had trouble paying back the loans.
Rosyline A. Owuor of KENASVIT’s Migori affiliate MISVEST described how the organization was successful in pressuring the Municipal Council to build a market by writing letters and pressuring them to have a meeting.
Vida Tangwam of Street Net’s affiliate in Ghana described a campaign to be involved in decision-making at the municipal level, in which street vendors and informal traders organized and formed associations, and were successful in getting representation in the assembly.
Wilson Maina of KENASVIT’s Nairobi affiliate NISCOF described a campaign to get a viable trading site, in which the organization held meetings with local authorities, held demonstrations, did a census, allied with Kituo cha Sheria, and were able to get Muthurwa market built.
The KENASVIT Chairman described a long campaign to push for the MSE Bill in Kenya, which began in 2003 and is still ongoing. They approached the MP in Nakuru to bring a motion in parliament to legalize hawking, and then the government took it over and drafted the first MSE Bill in 2006. KENASVIT has participated in validation workshops, wrote letters to the government and anti-corruption commission, held peaceful processions, sensitized members about the Bill, and collected input to send to the Ministry of Labor, which was subsequently incorporated into the draft Bill.
The participants decided that common ingredients for a successful campaign include human and financial resources, clear and realistic goals, public demonstrations, honest and selfless leadership, adequate consultation, media utilization and continuous monitoring of objectives.
New Manifesto Campaign: introduction, vision and plan
Facilitator: Pat Horn (International Coordinator, StreetNet International)
Pat Horn presented on the international street vendors manifesto. She emphasized that Street Net envisions something that comes from the bottom-up instead of someone writing it for you. This is first African meeting of its kind, and next year there will be another West African meeting. She explained the process of visualizing, creating, and finalizing campaign plans, which aims to make the public aware and respectful of street vendors, and to ultimately create an international manifesto that voices demands and rights of street vendors all over the world. She described the phases involved in this process:
PHASE 1 – Awareness raising
PHASE 2 – Collecting vendors’ demands
PHASE 3 – Processing demands
PHASE 4 – Promoting national debates, actions and events on issues raised
PHASE 5 – Crystallizing demands
PHASE 6 – Formulating manifesto
PHASE 7 – Using the manifesto
The final manifesto will be a living example of a bottom-up campaign, and Street Net is confident that there will be wonderful feedback from their very creative affiliates.
Brainstorming Campaign Goals
*Group 1: Vida Tangwam (Ghana’s StreetNet Affiliate)
*Group 2: Anthony Kwache (KENASVIT’s Kisumu Affiliate)
The workshop participants split into two groups to brainstorm demands for street vendors and informal traders. This exercise will be useful to replicate in workshops to collect demands from members to contribute to the national manifesto.
-Gain societal respect and acknowledgment
-Develop collective/unified voice
-Protect vulnerable groups (women, youth, persons with disabilities, persons with HIV/AIDS)
*Activities: distribute brochures, leaflets, calendars, newsletters; hold public debates; contact the media; put on plays, dramas
-Secure safe sites for traders that are convenient for consumers
-Use “friendly” infrastructure
-Ensure inclusion in urban plans
-Gain services in workplace (toilets, clean water, electricity, security)
*Activities: lobby authorities; pressure authorities; use petitions, memorandums, meetings, negotiations and letters; survey/create database
Financial resources and security demands:
-Access to loans from banks and fair credit
-Create social security schemes
*Activities: revolving loan funds, circles, meet with social security fund representatives, forge relationships with insurance funds, handouts/handbooks (ex: Mbao scheme in Kenya)
- policy framework that addresses informal sector
-Pass MSE Bill (Kenya)
-Formalize informal businesses
-Gain representation in government and good relationship with government
-Have access to affordable legal representation
-End harassment, bribery and arbitrary arrest
*Activities: meetings with the government, write letters, appointments, procession, public pressure, media campaigns, train paralegals, engaging pro bono lawyers
Market development grievances:
-Poorly built markets
-Poor allocation (corruption)
-Markets don’t consider people with disabilities
-Markets are too small with no space for service provisions
-Have a committee to approach local authorities
-Local authorities should include street vendors in decision-making process
-Good planning on markets (markets should be accessible to vendors’ clients)
-Ensure good governance
-Rules and regulations set by local authorities should be transparent and affordable
-Taxes and fees should be adjusted to the size of particular business
Access to finance grievances:
-High interest rates
-Strict terms and conditions
-Lack of collateral objectives
-Money should be channeled through informal traders’ organizations
Campaign Plans of Action
Facilitator: Anne Matondo (LDFC of the Democratic Republic of Congo)
Anne Matondo presented the tasks that are required to develop a New Manifesto draft campaign. She explained how each affiliate must identify realistic and clear campaign goals that can be carried out in order to collect demands and then to use the manifesto to achieve those demands and contribute to an international campaign. Each affiliate should also identify allies that share their values and goals in order to gain a broader base and have access to their human and financial resources. Next, organizations must create or identify a coordinating committee to implement and make the decisions related to the campaign. The coordinating committee should then plan, organize and implement activities that relate to and forward the goals set out. The committee should know what results they expect to see, and how to measure and evaluate the progress and impacts of the campaign. This involves a time frame to complete the activities, which Anne suggested to create a calendar. In order to implement the plan of action, each organization must identify and utilize its human and financial resources. Human resources may include interns, partners, employees, or allies, while financial resources include membership base, donors, and NGOs. Finally, Anne emphasized that the organization must have monitoring mechanisms in place in order to ensure that things are going as planned.
Each country completed their campaign plans of action to be presented on Day 2.
The second day of the workshop began with each country presenting their completed campaign action plans.
Ghana Campaign Action Plan
Presented by Vida Tangwam
Tanzania Campaign Plan of Action
Presented by Jimton Mboya
Democratic Republic of Congo Campaign Plan of Action
Presented by Anne Matondo
Kenya Campaign Plan of Action
Presented by Antony Kwache
Swaziland Campaign Plan of Action
Presented by Bheva Hlophe
Facilitator: Anne Matondo, LDFC DRC Congo
Anne Matondo went over the structure and purpose of the campaign. She spoke about StreetNet’s objectives and how street vendors are the most appropriate agents of change. They are entitled to the same rights as other workers in accordance with international standards laid out by the ILO. She explained that the ultimate purpose of the manifesto is to form the basis for collective bargaining demands at the national level in order to establish legal representational systems at the local, national and international level. It will also work to change unjustified and misinformed negative public perceptions.
Briefing on Media Tools
Facilitator: Maja Cerar
Maja underscored the importance and use of media tools including print, radio, TV, online and social media. She talked about the need to identify a target population (youth, street vendors, the government, local authorities, women) before starting any media outreach. In promoting publicity in print media, radio and TV, organizations must set up a meeting and then write a PR release, which should include a big title, the important facts and the impacts. For social media, she urged organizations to create a Facebook account, both as an individual and as an organization, as well as a twitter account and a blog. With blogs, she discussed how organizations could share pictures, videos, and updates about their activities and accomplishments.
Facilitator: Pat Horn, International Coordinator, StreetNet International
Pat Horn facilitated a discussion about the campaign plans of action that had been presented earlier in the day. She emphasized the bottom-up strategy of creating a charter and unifying its members, in which each country and/or affiliate can design their own strategy in their own way by collecting demands to be synthesized at the international level. Participants discussed the need to collect group-specific demands as well as general demands, including women, persons with disabilities and youth. Pat spoke about the role of StreetNet in the process of the campaign as a resource for technical issues, funding and synthesis of international demands.
Facilitator: Professor Winnie Mitullah, Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi
Professor Mitullah opened by remarking how far KENASVIT has come. She spoke about the role that she played in facilitating its formation from the bottom up, which carries people with it and allows a contextualized approach. She advised the participants not to be discouraged by disagreement but to take advantage of it to resolve the issue and improve the organization. She spoke about the fact that the number of members is not the most significant thing, but rather the strength and quality of members. In her final words, she encouraged organizations about the progress they have made and will make: “Given a voice, in 20 years people will not know where we came from.”
Participants shared what they learned from the workshop, mentioning the importance of a bottom-up approach, the different circumstances that each country faces, and the goals and process of the campaign.
The KENASVIT Chairman Simon ole Nasieku closed by summarizing the accomplishments of the workshop. He thanked Street Net and said he believes the campaign will work because KENASVIT has a sustainable program. He then thanked all of the visitors who traveled to Kenya to attend the workshop, and urged everyone to continue with the same spirit of the workshop and to take what everyone has learned back to their members.
Pat Horn said she was very proud to delegate responsibility of coordinating such an international event to an affiliate, and and she thanked all of the participants for being there and for the solidarity that was formed over the course of the workshop.
Visit to Muthurwa Market
Some of the participants went to Muthurwa market after lunch to see informal traders in their places of work. The delegation visited the market chief and assistant chief, and walked through the market before returning to the hotel.
List of Participants:
There is also a portuguese version of the Blog where one can access personal updates on news and events. It can be found on this link: http://streetnetbrasil.wordpress.com/
StreetNet Newsletter 32 [pdf]
INDIA. DP is irreparable, scrap it, say activists. Times of India (10 April 2015).
TANZANIA. College plans to identify trade opportunities for hawkers. Daily News (10 April 2015) by Ludovick Kazoka.
INDIA. No street vendors, cycle rickshaws in Lajpat Nagar market: NGT. Zee News (8 April 2015) by PTI. New Delhi:
BOTSWANA. EDD is the way to go. Mmegi Online (8 April 2015).
USA. Five Courses: Hawkers' street food flair & more. Creative Loafing Tampa Bay (8 April 2015) by Meaghan Habuda.
INDIA. Hawkers may be allowed near Rishi Kapoor, Anil Ambani's Pali Hill residences. DNA India (8 April 2015) by Amrita Nayak Dutta.
ABU-DHABI. Abu Dhabi Municipality raid scares away street hawkers. Gulf News (7 April 2015).
SINGAPORE. Hawker centres to be spruced up with murals and art installations. Channel News Asia (5 April 2015) by Vimita Mohandas.
MALAYSIA. 'Development will be inclusive'. The Star Online (3 April 2015).
INDIA. 'Street vendors denied right to livelihood'. The Hindu (1 April 2015) by K.N. Umesh.
StreetNet International is an alliance of street vendors. It was launched in Durban, South Africa, in November 2002.
Membership-based organizations (unions, co-operatives or associations) directly organizing street vendors, market vendors and/or hawkers among their members, are entitled to affiliate to StreetNet International.
The aim of StreetNet is to promote the exchange of information and ideas on critical issues facing street vendors, market vendors and hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors) and on practical organizing and advocacy strategies