StreetNet International alliance of street vendors 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.
Through StreetNet, member organizations should gain an understanding of the common problems of street vendors, develop new ideas for strengthening their organizing and advocacy efforts, and join in international campaigns to promote policies and actions that can contribute to improving the lives of millions of street vendors, market vendors and hawkers around the world.
Representatives from four organisations, in particular, have played a key role in the genesis and evolution of StreetNet International: the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Ahmedabad, India; the Self-Employed Women’s Union (SEWU) in Durban, South Africa; Women’s World Banking in New York, and the International Coalition of Women and Credit in New York. StreetNet is supported by the action research of Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising (WIEGO) – primarily its Urban Policies Programme.
A StreetNet office was set up in Durban, South Africa, early in 2000. The three-year preparation for the international launch of StreetNet in November 2002 included regional street vendors’ workshops which were held in Latin America (Lima, Peru, February 2001) and Asia (Patna, India, February 2002) and Africa (Accra, Ghana, May 2002). Initial field trips were also made by the International Co-ordinator in 2000 and 2001 to meet organizations of street vendors, market vendors and hawkers, visiting Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines, Thailand, Uganda and Zambia. As a result of some of these field trips new alliances were formed, such as the Nairobi Hawkers Alliance (2001) and the Kisumu Alliance of Street Vendors (2002) and Informal Traders in Kenya, and the Alliance of Zambia, Informal Economy Associations (October 2002). In South Africa, some visits to the Eastern Cape province resulted in the formation of the Eastern Cape Alliance of Street Vendors in May 2002.
- Building and expanding StreetNet International;
- Identifying organizations organizing and/or representing street vendors, market vendors, hawkers (i.e. mobile vendors), vendor leaders, and encouraging them to join StreetNet;
- Involving member organizations in international campaigns to improve the lives of street vendors, market vendors and hawkers;
- Designing and implementing suitable organizational support programmes to strengthen member organizations.