HomeNet International welcomes 127 home-based worker leaders from 29 countries to its Congress in Nepal

Kathmandu, Nepal. April 25, 2023: HomeNet International (HNI) welcomes 127 home-based worker leaders from 71 of its 75 affiliate organisations to its four-day Congress in Kathmandu, Nepal, taking place between April 25 – 28, 2023. This is the first time that HNI delegates meet in person to discuss their priority areas of work, showcase their products in a vibrant HBWs Bazaar, elect a new governing body, and deepen the solidarity and unity that were built by HNI during the pandemic’s online activities. The Congress will also see the presence of supporters, sister organisations and major allies such as Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) and Ford Foundation.

This historic event is a celebration and a showcase of solidarity of the home-based worker’s movement from around the world, a movement that has been growing stronger since the 1970s. The theme of HNI’s Congress – “We Are Many, We Are United, We Are HomeNet International”, summarises the vision of the event. Over the course of the week, HNI will host a series of thematic discussions that highlight many of the emerging issues that home-based workers face, such as the struggle to organise, the lack of access to markets and Social Protection, and the impact of climate change on their daily lives.

Who are home-based workers?

Home-based workers are those who work from in and around their homes, producing goods and/ or providing services. They are both own account workers, as well as sub-contracted workers, also known as homeworkers, who are provided work through a series of subcontractors. Home-based workers are part of both global as well as domestic supply chains.

The majority of HBWs are women who contribute significantly to their families, communities, and national economies. However, they remain invisible and unrecognized. As per an ILO study done in the year 2019 – there are over 260 million HBWs across the world, representing 8% of the global workforce. And, of these 260 million, 147 million (57%) are women. Almost two-thirds (65%) of the world’s home-based workers are in Asia & the Pacific.

Like other informal economy workers, most home-based workers do not enjoy adequate economic opportunities, legal rights, Social Protection, or a representative voice. These are only a few reasons that gave life to HNI’s vision: “HomeNet International was created to provide greater visibility and recognition of HBWs, especially women, and for a strong, united, and representative voice on global platforms where HBWs effectively engage and challenge those, such as governments and employers, who have power over their working lives” said Janhavi Dave, HNI International Coordinator.

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