AeT works to increase the voice and visibility of informal workers within urban planning and policy processes, and change attitudes and perceptions about informal work among policy makers, educators and built environment professionals.
Influencing political and social agendas is crucial to achieving real, sustainable change for informal workers and their organizations. Promoting engagement between different stakeholders takes place through a number of different activities and opportunities:
- media engagement;
- presentations to local, national and international stakeholders at conferences and meetings;
- policy dialogues with local, provincial and national government;
- engagement with the private sector – built environment professionals and enterprises;
- education and exposure for the general public and tourists through Warwick Market Tours;
- promoting workers’ legal empowerment through the Law Project (local laws and regulations affecting informal workers.
Ultimately, AeT’s advocacy efforts always focus on inclusivity and building capacity among informal workers to empower them to become their own advocates, and to promote environments and processes that embrace workers’ voices and engagement.
In 2018, AeT established Incident forums, an extension of the Know your Rights’ initiative. These are regular meetings with traders, facilitated by trader leaders with the support of AeTs legal specialist and senior project officer. The forums seek to normalise a discussion about enforcement challenges as well as provide legal awareness and educate traders on their rights. Incident forums, designed as an advocacy tool to advance socio-economic rights for informal workers in urban spaces, has become a platform for meaningful engagement with informal workers. Further, a rights-based toolkit was launched, which comprised of 6 Vikelani Amalungelo booklets in both isiZulu and English.