Crowdfunding for women street vendors in Rwanda: Challenges & Lessons Learned

StreetNet is currently developing a capacity-building crowdfunding pilot project, in which several of our affiliates are learning how to build an effective campaign and support their membership.

Jeanette Nyiramasengesho is one of the participants of the project, representing the Syndicat des Travailleurs Indépendants de l’Économie Informelle ), in Rwanda. Their campaign was focused on supporting 300 women street vendors who are currently facing many challenges due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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3 things you should know about violence against women street vendors – and how to combat it

On December 7, 2020, StreetNet organized a live Facebook webinar about the importance of ratifying the Convention 190 of the International Labor Organization on Violence and Harassment. This landmark international instrument has rallied organizations of women workers all over the world through the hashtag #RatifyC190, but for many its relevance for women informal workers, and women street vendors in particular, is still vague.

Thankfully, the distinguished guests of the webinar Ratify ILO C190: Violence Against Women Street Vendors successfully articulated and explained the importance of this Convention for women informal economy workers and how the working lives of women street vendors are plagued by violence and harassment which we must urgently address.

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Collective Struggle: the foundation of StreetNet International

Collective Struggle is a new article series by StreetNet International which aims to share and highlight the numerous ways street vendors, hawkers, cross-border traders and other informal economy workers have come together to enact change and fight for their rights.

In anticipation of the International Day of Street Vendors November 14, we chatted with StreetNet’s Senior Advisor Pat Horn about how the organization was created and why is it important for street vendors and other informal traders to self-organize and promote international solidarity.  You can listen to a podcast version of this article here.

StreetNet International was officially launched on November 14, 2002. The story of how the organization was founded and what it has accomplished since then is a testament to what informal economy workers can achieve when they are organized and speaking with a united voice.

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Why invest in online workers’ education?

Education has always been one of the pillars of StreetNet’s action. Although nothing can quite replace face-to-face interaction, the current pandemic is forcing many organizations to move their training programs online.

In the case of StreetNet, online workers’ education was always on the horizon. As a global alliance of informal traders represented in 56 countries, there are many barriers to being able to reach all our affiliates in person. Therefore, the potential of online learning tools was always to be seized upon.

But what are the specific benefits of online workers’ education? And how can StreetNet seize these benefits to strengthen affiliate organizations? We talked with several members of StreetNet’s team and members who are working on this topic to explain us the important of an online education strategy to build capacity and make actions on the ground more effective.

We also talked with Renaldi Prinsloo, Educator & Online Curriculum Developer of the International Federation of Workers’ Education Associations (IFWEA), who has been collaborating with StreetNet to assist the team in developing online courses through IFWEA’s Online Labour Academy (OLA). StreetNet is also a member of IFWEA Executive Committee.

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What COVID-19 teaches us about the Right to the City of street vendors?

October 31, officially known as UN World Cities Day, has been re-interpreted by activist across the globe as the World Day for the Right to the City. To mark that important date, the Global Platform for the Right to the City (GPR2C) and its members have developed a series of initiatives and campaigns, known as the Urban October, culminating in October 31. UN Habitat will be also hosting the Global Observance on that date in celebration of World Cities Day, with the sub-theme Valuing our communities and cities.

StreetNet International is one of the members of the GPR2C and this Urban October, we want to highlight the importance of street vendors as crucial elements for vibrant, democratic, and inclusive cities. We also echo the demands of UN Habitat and ask for more participatory urban governance which values street vendors and other informal traders as integral for sustainable urban development.

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Inspiring Workers: Lorraine Sibanda

Lorraine Sibanda, also known as Lorraine Ndlovu, is the first women President of StreetNet International. Being the first woman leader in an organization is not news for Lorraine – she has been a trade unionist since her early twenties, and she tore down boundaries for women everywhere she went.

A kind of superwoman with a contagious laugh, Lorraine has been a teacher, a student activist, and a leader for informal economy workers – all of this while pursuing her own activities in the informal economy as a trader and dressmaker.

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6 months of pandemic: StreetNet’s response to COVID-19

When 2020 started, informal traders all over the world had no way of knowing this year would put their resilience, determination, and solidarity to a more challenging test they could hardly imagine, despite their lives always being in danger. Six months after the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world, leading to crippling social and economic problems for all nations, we can attest that StreetNet International and its affiliate organizations have risen to the challenge.

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Country Snapshot: India’s loan scheme for street vendors

In June 2020, the Indian government launched the Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi scheme (or PM SVANidhi Scheme, for short), funded by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The goal of this scheme, according to Prime-Minister Modi, to promote the holistic development and economic upliftment of street vendors.

Amar Kharate, StreetNet International organizer for the Asia Region, explains what exactly this policy entails, why it is important and its limitations.

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