By StreetNet International
March 24, 2020
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Impact of the pandemic on the street/market vendors and all informal traders

COVID-19, a global catastrophe and emergency brought huge challenges not only
related to the health of the whole world population but also economic decrease
and livelihood troubles which require fast and proper solutions from the
consolidated actions of governments and all stakeholders, to make sure – No
One is Left Behind!

International, representing over 690 000
street vendors, informal market vendors and hawkers in 54 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Eastern Europe,
is deeply concerned about unprecedented pandemic COVID-19 and its rapid spread
around the globe which has an enormous negative impact on one of the most
vulnerable category of workers in informal economy. These are the workers who
are usually not covered by labour laws or receiving social and health
protections in their countries.

and market vendors are those whose working place is public space and the
streets where they earn their basic livelihoods, however, to keep safe and not
to be exposed neither to the COVID-19 infection nor to be a transmitter of this
infection, they also need to stay in self-isolation in quarantine and maintain
social distance.

every single day for an informal trader without work makes a big difference.
Every single day for a street vendor is a loss of a very basic income to make
ends meet. Therefore, in order to simply survive, the vendors still go to the
streets and sell as they can’t afford to close their activity and at the same
time, they are exposed to a big danger which can cost their life.

make sure, that each life is counted and valued, and the world is moving
towards social justice and equality where humans are the priority, StreetNet
International encourages its affiliates to:

  • Call on your governments both at local and national level to
    consolidate their efforts and all stakeholders concerned to put in place
    measures and resources to keep all workers and their income safe
    , no matter
    what their job or employment relationship is;
  • Call on your governments to provide a universal health
    and a basic emergency living cash grant to all informal economy
    workers and the most vulnerable categories of population regardless of their
    nationality and residency status;
  • Call on your governments for all informally engaged workers
    and the most vulnerable to be exempted from the bills for utilities during a
    time of coronavirus crisis;
  • Call on trade unions, CSOs and any other possible allies in
    your countries to jointly advocate and address the government with possible
    solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, considering all workers,
    despite their formal or informal employment form;
  • Call on your members, comrades and all citizens in your
    community and country for a mutual solidarity support to assist each other in
    such a needy times and global crisis.

recommend the entire StreetNet membership base and the whole society to
organize solidarity initiatives where the united community can act to prevent
street vendors and informal traders from going through a situation of extreme
scarcity and vulnerability.

are already initiatives of solidarity funds, online crowd funding platforms,
distribution of hygiene and sanitary stuff and food in defence of street
vendors in various parts of the world.

failing to hold the public power responsible for the life of its people, times
like the one we live in cries out for solidarity and community action.

We are
also worried about the need of educating our members about the COVID-19 and how
to prevent themselves from this infection as well as following all hygienic
methods that reduce the risks of the spread of the virus which are extremely

The same goes regarding the
need of always use only official information from official institutions, such
as World
Health Organization
, which provides clear guidelines on all aspects related to
the COVID-19, including on how to self-check the health status.

Office located in Durban, South Africa will be closed until general situation
improves and South Africa withdrawn the lockout. Our team will continue to work
from their home in their respective countries on a virtual basis.

It’s a
hard time for all of us but we shouldn’t panic, instead, we should support each
other and believe that only united we will overcome any challenges including the
pandemic COVID-19.

for Us Without Us!

In solidarity,

StreetNet International


Abboud, International Coordinator (

Kharate, Regional Organizer (

Masta, Regional Organizer (

Vannuchi, Regional Organizer (

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