Street Vending

Why Support Organizing?

Street vendors sell goods and services that are essential to everyday life in cities. They generate employment for themselves and for others. Many street vendors source their goods from formal suppliers and create revenue for city governments through direct and indirect taxes and fees. Street vendors often bring home the main source of income for their households.

Yet street vendors often face municipal crackdowns, harassment, eviction, and seizure of goods. They also can work in poor conditions created by fire risk, lack of access to water, and inadequate waste management in market areas.

Street vending organizations can help alleviate these risks. They also help their members

  • secure vending space
  • access credit and saving mechanisms
  • upgrade their skills
  • mediate relationships with local authorities.


Organizing Globally, Nationally, and Locally

Street vendors’ organizations help workers negotiate with authorities, secure their workspaces, and defend their economic rights on global, national, and local levels.

  • StreetNet International was formed in Durban in 2002 after three years of mobilizing street vendor organizations in Africa and Asia. Through affiliation with StreetNet, member organizations gain an understanding of street vendors’ common problems, 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. StreetNet has been instrumental in organizing the World Class Cities for All (WCCA) campaign in response to mega-events like the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics. With Asiye eTafuleni, the WCCA campaign also helped save the Early Morning Market in Durban, South Africa, from being turned into a mall development.
  • In India, organizations SEWA and NASVI were critical in leading the struggle for the National Policy on Urban Street Vendors, which resulted in India’s Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act 2014. The Act protects the rights of urban street vendors and regulates street vending activities.
  • In Accra, Ghana, street vendor representatives worked with the municipal government to plan the Abokobi market and lorry park, including bath and toilet facilities.

Our Building Organizations page has street vendor-specific resources on helping leaders develop strong organizations and negotiate with authorities.

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