How was it being present at the launch of StreetNet in 2002?

By StreetNet Media
November 13, 2023
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We asked Marty Chen, Co-Founder, International Coordinator Emeritus and Board Member of WIEGO for her thoughts.

I was very privileged to attend the launch of Street Net International in Durban, South Africa in 2002 together with Ela Bhatt the founder of SEWA and a co-founder of WIEGO.

Prior to the launch, I had supported Ela Bhatt and Renana Jhabvala, a senior SEWA colleague,  to help found Street Net International. In 1996, SEWA had convened the first international meeting of street vendors and their allies at the Rockefeller Centre in Bellagio, Italy.  This meeting was a major first step towards founding the international network.  Three years later, Ela-ben and Renana-ben assigned me the task of  recruiting Pat Horn to be the founding international coordinator of Street Net International – which I did during a WIEGO meeting in Ottawa, Canada in 1999.

StreetNet International was the first global network of informal economy workers.  It paved the way for the global networks that followed – the International Domestic Workers Federation, HomeNet International, and the International Alliance of Waste Pickers: showing the other networks how to develop a constitution, hold elections and promote a global platform of action and solidarity.

Twenty-one years later, StreetNet International has exceeded the expectations of its founders in terms of numbers of affiliates and members and of solidarity across more than 50 countries.

I wish StreetNet International all the best for the future.  May it go from strength to strength.

Photo of Marty Chen at the founding of StreetNet with Caroline Skinner and Winnie Mitullah (current and former directors of WIEGO’s Urban Policies Programme).

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