International Council

The International Council meets annually, consisting of representation by eleven (11) elected members in addition to the International President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer, of whom at least (50%) must be women.

Lorraine Sibanda (Zimbabwe)

President

Lorraine Sibanda ( nee Ndhlovu) is the current President of the Zimabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) and StreetNet International. She is based in Gwanda town, which is about 600kilometres south of Harare, Zimbabwe. Her life line business is cross border trading and goat farming. Prior to her new life and positions of engagement, Lorraine is a qualified teacher and taught primary school for 10 years. She left teaching to start self-help projects in 2008 when the Zimbabwean economy became complicated for civil servants. This is when she started becoming a member of civic organizations. In 2011 she was voted ZCIEA Gwanda territorial President.

As a result, she started growing through the ranks of ZCIEA work and activism until 2015 when she was voted ZCIEA National President. In 2016, Lorraine was voted StreetNet International President. This StreetNet Presidency was renewed in April 2019 in Kyrgyzstan.

During her National and International portfolios, Lorraine has raised the unsung song of the recognition of the informal economy workers in the global working world as people who contribute to their countries’ economies. They must be recognised and not criminalised. Part of this campaign includes her meaningful participation at the International Labour Conference in 2018 and 2019, where she headed informal economy workers’ International advocacy on inclusion of the informal economy workers in the convention on eradication of violence and harassment in the world of work. She even presented a position paper at the ILC in both years. This advocacy was a formidable success. Lorraine has been a champion of the informal economy workers’ advocacy for change since her International engagement. She has been at various International platforms to defend the rights of workers in the informal economy. This includes expressing vulnerability of women in various forms of precarious work for their lives to be improved. Read Lorraine’s full biography here. 

Alberto Santana (Dominican Republic)

Vice-President

Alberto Santana is the Vice President of Streetnet Internacional, President of FUTTEINCO, and Secretary for projects of the Confederación Nacional de Trabajadores Dominicanos – CNTD. He started in the union of self-employed metalworkers, in his native Barahona, Dominican Republic, then he studied Industrial Engineering and started his own business. He was Secretary of International Relations of the CNTD, where he studied immigration, international development cooperation and social protection. Alberto graduated as a lawyer and works on projects for the protection of labor rights and social security for independent and self-employed workers.

Read Alberto’s full biography here.

Oksana Abboud (Ukraine)

International Coordinator

Oksana Abboud is StreetNet International Coordinator since June 2019. She joined StreetNet in 2013 in the capacity of Regional Organizer for Asia and Eastern Europe. In 2016 Oksana got additional responsibility of a part-time StreetNet Media Officer and greatly contributed to media and particularly –social media development of StreetNet globally.

In 2005-2012 Oksana used to work as an International Secretary at the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU). It was her first official working place after graduation from Kyiv National Linguistic University, which in its turn, impacted and designed her future passion to focus on a field of labour movement, namely promoting workers’ rights and interests at different levels; advocating for human & labour rights and values, campaign for social justice and a fair future of work.

In 2006-2007 Oksana won a fellowship opportunity and completed an education course on International and Security Policy; Economic and Social Challenges in the process of Democracy Building at Robert Schuman Institute in Budapest, Hungary.

Since 2005 she was involved in the KVPU youth work – chairing the KVPU Youth Committee and in 2006-2008 she was serving as an elected Member of the Youth Committee of the Pan-European Regional Council, an ITUC wing for Europe.

Email: coordinator@streetnet.org.za

Jeanette Nyiramassengesho (Rwanda)

Treasurer

Jeannette Jeanette Nyiramassengesho is a gender and informal economy advocate with over 12 years of experience in championing informal workers’ rights, mainly for women and girls. She is the founder of SYTRIECI, a Trade Union for Independent Workers in Informal Economy in Rwanda dedicated to the promotion and protection of Informal workers’ rights and living conditions. She also has a vibrant experience in financial issues management with 9 years of experience in exercising school financial management and audit in her Church parishes and Rwandan trade unions. She is currently the Chairperson of SYTRIECI, an affiliate of Street Net International in which she serves as International Council Member and the focal person of ATUMNET (African Trade Unions Migration Network) ITUC- Africa. She is the vice president of the Forum of Trade Unions in Rwanda.

Jeanette Nyiramassengesho is a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences (Sociology) obtained from the school of social sciences at Kigali Independent University, Rwanda.  She has been trained and is experienced in Financial and Management issues, Conflict transformation and peer mediation, Negotiation Skills, Communication Skills, leadership skills, Counselling, and Psychotherapy skills. With a leadership working experience of more than 13 years, she has been attending various big conferences and meetings at national and international levels. She speaks four languages: French, English, Swahili, and Kinyarwanda.  Lastly, Jeannette is a friendly person, team & hardworking, self-motivated woman who adapts rapidly to a situation and is much interested in giving advice to others and assisting them.

Jamaladdin Ismayilov (Azerbaijan)

Secretary

Jamaladdn Ismayilov was born in the village of Slavyanka, Gadabay region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. After graduating from secondary school, he was accepted in the Kharkov Civil Engineering Institute, from which he successfully graduated in 1972 with a degree in construction engineer of industrial and civil facilities. He worked in the city of Uralsk in Kazakhstan, and during this time he advanced in his career from a  foreman to chief engineer to head of a construction department to an instructor and part of the city executive committee. Then in 1988, he moved to the city of Baku, Azerbaijan, where he have been working in a trade union since 1990. At present I am the vice-president of the Federation of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan Xhidmat-ISH. The Federation unites trade workers such as street and market vendors, and other service industries. It has always been a priority for Jamal to protect the social and labor interests of ordinary workers right up to litigation. Xhidmat-ISH has defended the interests of their union members in labor dispute litigation in more than thirty sessions and twice in the Supreme Court, and won all of  them. In addition, Xhidmat-ISH engaged in cooperation with local municipalities on the problems of creating worthy places of trade for street vendors in the region. They pay great attention to the promotion and awareness to the public about the problems of street vendors and the activities of StreetNet. Read Jamal’s full biography here.

Alice Nkunzimana (Burundi)

Member of International Council

Alice Nkunzimana is a single mother of Burundian nationality. She has a degree in Computer Science, specialising in Management and Telecommunications. Alice is an active and dynamic defender for the promotion, protection and defense of women’s rights and more demanding the rights of girls. She was born in Rumonge provinde and currently resides in Bujumbura.

Alice is an integrated and committed person in the associative movements for human rights. She is the President of the Union of Market Vendors and Street Vendors of Burundi (SYVEBU). She has 12 years of experience in the management and implementation of projects, particularly those related to the inclusion of gender in all sectors of the country’s life, the economic empowerment of women and young people and coaching on the choice of innovative income-generating initiatives. She also has experience in coaching young people for reintegration and return to school. Alice has strong capacities in the management and coordination of work in consortia, coalitions and/or platforms.

Alice has experience in supervising and coaching community-based groups and various solidarity groups. She has also worked as a project coordinator in various local women’s rights organizations and worked in various volunteer roles. She has done consultations related to the promotion of women’s rights and the empowerment of women.

Afiavi Anastasie Chodaton (Benin)

Member of International Council

Anastasie Chodaton is the Acting General Secretary of am Acting  of Streetet affiliate Syndicat National des Vendeurs, Vendeuses et Assimilés des Marchés du Bénin (SYNAVAMAB) and she is a member of the International Council of Streetnet.

She also the current representative of market vendors sitting on the Board of Directors of Société de Gestion des Marchés Autonomes SOGEMA, and President of the Association des vendeuses Unies pour le Développement.

Within her work with these organizations, she carries out awareness-raising activities, actions for the fight for the rights of informal economy workers within markets in her country. They work upstream with the government for a good organization of the markets.

Anthony Kwache (Kenya)

Member of International Council

Anthony joined the informal economy in 1993 in Nairobi. Along the way, he moved to Kisumu and started trading along the street at the heart of the city. It’s here that Anthony started organizing of street vendors and marketeers. He became the chair of Kisumu Informal Traders in 1995 and was later elected as Management Board of KENASVIT in 1996 until 2012. In 2013, Anthony was elected as National President of KENASVIT and he holds that position to date. During this period, he was part of the national agitation for the enactment of Micro and Small Enterprises Act of 2010, which included the establishment of a MSE Authority, a Tribunal and a Fund, now known as Hustlers’ Fund. KENASVIT has been part of the MSE Authority Board since its inception. Anthony has been at the forefront advocating for comprehensive and inclusive social protection for KENASVIT’s members. Markets have been built for the members across KENASVIT’s regions and they have implemented collective bargaining between members and local authorities. Anthony is also a champion for giving space and enabling women and youth to take up leadership positions, as well as people will disabilities to be recognized and have leadership positions.  Currently, he is prioritizing issues related to Child Welfare and Occupational Health and Safety. Anthony considers advocating for inclusion in policies and influencing policy-making  is key. A luta continua – there is nothing for us without us!

Gbenga Komolafe (Nigeria)

Member of International Council

Olugbenga Ebenezer Komolafe, well known in Nigerian human rights and trade union circles as Gbenga Komolafe was born October 16, 1964 in Southwest, Nigeria. He came into limelight in 1989 when he was arrested by the General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida military junta, in the aftermath of massive popular protests against military despotism, economic mismanagement and political corruption. As Senate President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, (NANS), he helped to give articulation and purposeful direction to the opposition to military despotism in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Gbenga Komolafe graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1991 and immediately became part of a growing pro-democracy movement, co-founding the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), that has evolved into Nigeria’s foremost human rights organization.

In 1998, Gbenga Komolafe won a research grant by the Center for Research and Documentation (CRD), Kano, Nigeria to probe into the different dimensions of economic informality and the significance of the informal economy in the wider civil society.  He joined the American Center for International Labour Solidarity in 2002 but resigned his position as a Senior Program Officer in 2010 and started organizing the Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria (FIWON) in fulfillment of his long – standing passion to help organize working people in the informal sectors of the Nigerian economy. At a great personal sacrifice, he has led several campaigns on the streets to struggle against entrenched traditions of oppression and repression of informal workers. Since the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and its terrible impacts on working people in the informal sectors, he has devoted more attention towards ensuring that basic social insurance services especially health insurance, as well as life and accident insurance are extended to the working people in the informal sectors. Hundreds of informal workers have now enrolled in these programs for the first time.

Jorge Antonio Peralta (Guatemala)

Member of International Council

Jorge Antonio Peralta Pérez is from Guatemala. He has a diploma in Journalism and Labor Law from the National University USAC. He has also completed higher studies in graphic design, computing and web page editing. He is currently the General Secretary of the FENTRAVIG Federation. Jorge is 50 years old in 2023, is married and has three sons.

José Herminio Diaz Guevara (El Salvador)

Member of International Council

José Hermínio Diaz Guevara has been working in the informal economy since he was ten years old, particularly as a street vendor. He joined the organization FESTIVES when he was 17 years old as Youth Secretary. He stayed in that position for a long period. He then became Finance Secretary and is now the General Secretary of the organization. He has been a part of several associations of informal economy workers and he is a member of the StreetNet International Council at the international level.

Kashiwa Lameck (Zambia)

Member Auditor of the Executive Committee

Kashiwa Lameck is a co-founder of the Zambia National Marketeers Association (ZANAMA), Alliance for Zambia Informal Economy Associations (AZIEA), Zambia Markets Streets and Allied Workers Association (ZAMSAA) and StreetNet International. He was born on 16 June of 1963 and was previously formally employed in the mining industry for 12 years. He served as a shop-steward and union leader at branch level.

Lameck has been working in the informal economy as market vendor and cross-border trader for 36 years. He has a wide knowledge of informal economy issues and is a trained leader by ITC-Turin, with vast experience at both local and international level. Lameck also initiated the establishment of the AZIEA Mutual Fund, a pension scheme for informal economy workers.

Lameck is currently serving as General Secretary of AZIEA and Executive Member of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions. He is also a member of the technical working group on social protection of the Ministry of Labour. Futhermore, he is a member of the Kitwe City markets rehabilitation team and a management board member of TEVETA, of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

He describes himself as a critical thinker, who prefers to discuss issues and not personalities.

Martha Garcia Santoyo (Mexico)

Member of International Council

Martha García Santoyo was born in 1960. She is the representative of FNOTNA, SNI’s affiliate in Mexico. She was the founder and is the current Secretary-Geral of the Asociación de Comerciantes en Pequeño de Matamoros Tamaulipas and has held leadership positions in many local associations in her region. Her work has been recognized in Mexico, especially by women’s organization. In 2014, she received a medal of “Mujer de Lucha, mujer con Valor” awarded by the Republicano Ayuntamiento of the city of Matamoros Tamaulipas.

Maya Gurung (Nepal)

Member Auditor of the Executive Committee

Maya Gurung is 39-years-old as of 2023. She is from Nepal, living in Kathmandu, where she leads the Nepal Street Vendors Trade Union (NEST). After joining NEST, she first became the head of the local committee. Maya was then elected as Women’s Committee Coordinator and continued to rise through the ranks as Secretary-General and Vice-President, until now. She is the elected President of NEST. She is also a former board members of GEFONT, the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions.

Mwijuka Jesca (Uganda)

Member of International Council

Mwijuka Jesca is a mother of 3 children, a workers’ leader and activist for worker’s rights focused on changing the conditions of workers in the informal economy. She is also an online educator of informal economy workers. Jesca works as a market vendor in Mbarara Central Market.

She started in the labour movement as a secretary of Wakasanke market in 2010. She was appointed Union Clerk of Uganda Markets and Allied Employees Union in 2011. In 2015, she was also elected as Commitee Member of the Central Organisation of Free Trade Unions in Uganda and Secretary of Youth Commitee.

She was elected Deputy General Secretary of Uganda Markets and Allied Employees Union in 2018. That same year, she also became a Board member of the National Organisation of Trade Unions representing informal economy workers.

Jesca is currently the Workers’ Councilor of Mbarara City since 2021. She also became the chairperson of a network of informal economy workers she helped to create in Uganda.

 

Tamara Bodnari (Moldova)

Member of International Council

Even in her youth, as a student, Tamara liked being amid of things, making friends with colleagues, helping them in different situations. And perhaps that is why at the age of 17 she was first elected as a trade union organizer of an entire faculty comprised of 300 students. The social activities absorbed her and she realized that helping and caring for others is her passion. Since then, she has not parted ways with the trade union movement.

For more than 16 years, Tamara has been in the friendly family of the Trade Union Federation “Moldova-Business-Sind”. Together with other colleagues, she tries to help members of the trade union in every possible way. As a trade union, they consider very important to protect the social rights of people trading in the markets of the country and self-employed workers. They hold joint meetings, trainings, seminars, make proposals in the development of various laws of Moldova. In recent years, work has also intensified on the creation of new primary trade union organizations and they have increased building relations with workers in the informal economy, specifically in matters of gender equality, combating violence in the workplace, urban policy and other topics. Tamara and “Moldova-Business-Sind” are grateful for the help and support they receive as a StreetNet affiliate.

Tamara is married, has two children and a granddaughter whom she loves very much. Her hobbies are organizing excursions and going fishing.