India’s economy is supported by a massive informal work sector. This category of work provides income for millions of poor people in urban areas. Included in this group is over 10 million street hawkers (vendors) throughout India’s major cities who use entrepreneurial means to make a living. Until the Indian parliament enacted The Street Vendors Act, 2014, their work had limited legal protection.
The act provided social security and livelihood rights to street hawkers, but many of them still have limited knowledge of the protection their are entitled to. This is the problem were are planning to address within a community of street hawkers in Bangalore, India.
Social organization at the community level is one of the most effective ways to facilitate collective action against injustice. In combination with information technology tools, it has the potential to give representation to communities that would otherwise be unheard or ignored. The technological disparity in India makes it difficult to employ this method; most people who wish to organize their communities lack access to or knowledge of information technology. ACORN India is an organization based in Bangalore which is helping street hawkers in their efforts to organize. Although they are making great progress without it, a framework of IT/communication tools would improve their ability to communicate with and keep track of their over 35,000 members.
Alongside ACORN India and Suresh Kadashan, an individual who helped push the protection act to the national parliament, we will introduce a variety of IT tools and teach the necessary knowledge to those who will be managing them. Our planned solution is to customize a constituent relationship management (CRM) software to catalog member information and set up a communication/file-sharing platform for organization staff. Two of our members will teach the necessary skills for using these tools to staff members over a 6 week trip to Bangalore and learn about the needs of street hawkers by traveling to various major markets. Preparation for our project is underway and will be completed within June, implementation will span from July to August, and the follow-up/debrief segment will be completed during September.
The money we hope to raise from this campaign will go towards room and board expenses for 2 people staying in Bangalore for 6 weeks. Any donation amount is appreciated and will help us ensure that our project is successful.