Social Protection Series I
- Spotlight on Informal Workers -
18 - 25 March 2021 (Three online sessions)
In the wake of figting back the spread of COVID-19 infectious disease, countering measures like lockdowns and social distancing have affected informal workers disproportionaltely with higher risk of falling into extreme poverty as their economic activities were severely disrupted by those measures. The WIEGO-led COVID-19 Crisis and the Informal Economy Study in 2020 indicates that informal workers have displayed three common patterns since the onset of the pandemic: sudden and massive drop in earnings, limited and disproportionate reach of relief measures, and lastly, heavy reliance on coping strategies that erode any assets accumulated.
Informal workers usually work in poor occupational safety and health surroundings with poor access to social protection services. They are easily exposed to the risk of illness and injury. Even before the pandemic, access to healthcare was almost out of reach for these workers because the cost of such services was far too high for their earning.
As shown in the WIEGO study, informal workers experienced significant disruption to their earnings regardless of variations in lockdown measures with 69.8 per cent of all respondents reporting zero earnings during the lockdown period. The study clearly demonstrates that Informal workers are more vulnerable to socio-economic disruptions caused by sudden shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of social protection can worsen the realities facing those in informal sectors. For instance, drastic revenue cuts and lack of social protection in place during the pandemic have pushed the workers to depend on other alternatives such as digging into savings, borrowing money, and selling off their assets. This will lead to the rapid increase in their household debt, thus making it more difficult for them to recover financially from the crisis since most of them earn on a daily basis.
In this challenging context, it would be critical to develop appropriate mechanisms to extend social protection to informal workers, which can be conducive to protecting their economic and social rights, reducing their vulnerability and minimising negative impacts on local communities and societies.
Many countries have come a long way in developing and enhancing their social protection systems, and the COVID-19 crisis prompted governments to consider implementing relief measures. According to the WIEGO-led study which was conducted for 12 cities around the world, the relief measures, even though being implemented, were limited in most cases and uneven. Across these cities, about 40 per cent of workers reported getting food or cash from the government. This urges both national and local governments along with the international community to effectively respond to the the specific needs of vulnerable popuations for better devising and implementing social protection policies.
In this regard, CIFAL Jeju organizes an online event entitled as Social Protection Series: Spotlight on Informal Workers. This virtual event will discuss various approaches to social protection with a focus on informal workers in the pandemic situation, and explore how social protection can be applied in different contexts. Participants will be given an opportunity to share their own case studies and get engaged in designing action plans for better implementation of social protection strategies in line with their own national and local context.
To provide a platform for good practices and lessons learned
To share and discuss how various social protection strategies and policies by country have been implemented for informal workers
To practice designing an action plan to be implemented in participants’ home countries for resilient livelihoods of informal workers
Better understanding of the realities facing informal workers in the pandemic context
Sharing policy strategies to minimize the economic and social impact of the pandemic on informal workers
Viable action plan designed to better implement the social protection schemes for informal workers
This program is open to government officials and practitioners from CSOs who have been working in the social development area.
* Please download the concept note file attached to this announcement for the program details.
*All online sessions will begin at 15:00 (Seoul Time, GMT+9).
Selected participants are required to:
Application and deadline
Send the following two documents to firstname.lastname@example.org by 12 March 2021 (Friday)
*Kindly note that only selected applicants will be notified individually.
UNITAR CIFAL Jeju/Jeju International Training Center
Once selected participants have completed the course along with assignments, UNITAR and UNITAR CIFAL Jeju will jointly issue a certificate upon completion of the training.
* Successful participants will receive a hard copy of the certificate along with CIFAL Jeju resource materials by mail.
WIEGO 2020, available at https://www.wiego.org/blog/informal-workers-see-long-road-recovery-ahead-unless-governments-act
 OECD Development Matters, available at https://oecd-development-matters.org/2020/04/17/why-protecting-informal-economy-workers-is-so-critical-in-time-of-covid-19/
 WIEGO 2020, available at https://www.wiego.org/blog/informal-workers-see-long-road-recovery-ahead-unless-governments-act