WIEGO Law Programme Officer for Africa

Remote‌ ‌-‌ ‌Home-Based‌ ‌Location‌ ‌(Southern Africa)
Women‌ ‌in‌ ‌Informal‌ ‌Employment:‌ ‌Globalizing‌ ‌and‌ ‌Organizing‌ ‌(WIEGO)‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ global‌ ‌network‌ ‌focused‌ ‌on‌ ‌securing‌ ‌livelihoods‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌working‌ ‌poor,‌ ‌especially‌ ‌women,‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌informal‌ ‌economy.‌ ‌We‌ ‌believe‌ ‌all‌ ‌workers‌ ‌should‌ ‌have‌ ‌equal‌ ‌economic‌ ‌opportunities‌ ‌and‌ ‌rights.‌ ‌WIEGO‌ ‌creates‌ ‌change‌ ‌by‌ ‌building‌ ‌capacity‌ ‌among‌ ‌informal‌ ‌worker‌ ‌organizations,‌ ‌expanding‌ ‌the‌ ‌knowledge‌ ‌base‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌informal‌ ‌economy‌ ‌and‌ ‌influencing‌ ‌local,‌ ‌national‌ ‌and‌ ‌international‌ laws and ‌policies.

The Law Programme
We are a dynamic team of lawyers who strive for the recognition, inclusion and protection of the rights and work of informal workers in international instruments, national and local laws and regulations; and to build the capacity of informal workers and their organizations to use the law to fight for secure livelihoods and labour rights. As we expand the scope of two streams of our work – namely i) Administrative Justice and ILO Recommendation 204, and ii) Community Paralegals and Legal Empowerment of Domestic Workers Project – we are seeking to recruit a go-getter activist lawyer as our Law Programme Officer in Africa.

i) Administrative Justice and R 204
All over the world, the working poor rely on access to public space and public resources such as waste to secure their livelihoods. And all over the world, they face challenges that impede their ability to work.

For example, street vendors are unable to access space to trade or critical infrastructure, such as toilets, in many countries. Local authorities often relocate vendors from natural markets, which enjoy considerable foot traffic, to areas that attract relatively little pedestrian traffic. Street vendors are routinely harassed by police and local authorities: they face evictions from their trading sites, and their goods are often confiscated and destroyed, even when they have the necessary licences or permits to trade.

Waste pickers are often excluded from tendering for waste collection and recycling contracts and are denied space to sort recyclables. They also experience harassment: local authorities confiscate the recyclables that they have collected and deny them access to waste.

Many of these challenges result from decisions made (most often) by local government authorities that control access to public space, and to waste. Known as administrative actions, decisions about allocating trading spaces and issuing licences, or even the failure to make legally mandated decisions, have far-reaching impacts on informal workers’ livelihoods.

The project aims are:

To build the legal capacity of workers’ organizations to use administrative law to challenge local authorities’ decisions and actions;
To build the capacity of workers’ organisations to use Recommendation 204 to demand their recognition and protection as workers;
To build collaboration between informal worker organizations and lawyers; and
To establish a process of dialogue between worker organizations and local authorities
ii) Community Paralegals and Legal Empowerment of Domestic Workers Project
Domestic workers in Africa experience an access to justice deficit affecting their ability to hold employers accountable for violations of their human and labour rights. This deficit is the result of a number of factors – that vary from country to country, -including limited legal recognition and protection; employers’ non-compliance with statutory obligations; feeble or non-existent law enforcement and monitoring; domestic workers’ low/lack of rights awareness and legal knowledge; fear of retaliation from employers; and low capacity of domestic workers’ trade unions to support domestic with legal issues.

The purpose of the Project is to train domestic workers who are members of International Domestic Workers’ Federation (IDWF) affiliates in Africa as community paralegals. The ultimate goals of the project are the following:

Participating IDWF affiliates’ domestic workers members know, use and shape the law to address their employment-related legal issues;
Employers are aware of their statutory obligations and of their employee’s human and labour rights and entitlements;
Participating IDWF affiliates conduct advocacy and movement-building activities based on legal data and evidence;
Participating IDFW affiliates create partnerships with relevant government authorities – including local authorities, the police, and the ministry of labour – to support the realization of domestic workers’ rights.
The Position
The position involves supporting organizations of street vendors and waste pickers in Southern and East Africa, who are affiliates of StreetNet and the International Alliance of Waste Pickers, in their struggle for legal recognition, for rights to collective bargaining and for access to waste and to public space to trade and sort waste as part of our Administrative Justice project. It also involves supporting affiliates of the International Domestic Workers’ Federation (IDWF) in Africa in their efforts to build a cadre of community paralegals.

The Law Programme Officer will report to the Law Programme Coordinator for Africa. Supporting trade unions of domestic workers, street vendors and waste pickers to know, use and shape the law for their legal recognition as workers and for access to labour rights (including collective bargaining and social protection) as well as access to space to work and access to waste through, the key responsibilities are as follows:

Researching the relevant laws and their implementation in the city/country;
Building relationships between legal organisations and worker organisations;
Organizing and facilitating capacity workshops and engagements between worker organisations, legal organisations, local authorities and other stakeholders;
Supporting worker organisations to develop and implement their strategies to achieve legal recognition, labour rights and access to space;
Documenting progress made by worker organisations in implementing their legal strategies;
Conducting research on the right to work and developing a strategy to support workers in informal employment to use it in their advocacy.
About You
To be successful for this position you will need to be:

A highly motivated, resourceful individual who is passionate about legal change, and who can work independently and as part of a team;
Someone who enjoys legal analysis and strategy on the one hand, while on the other hand enjoys working in partnership with worker organisations to understand and support their socio-economic, political and legal goals;
Fluent in English and at least one other African working language. Ndebele and/or Shona would be an advantage;
Based in Southern Africa and be willing to travel;
A self-starter who can follow through on assignments.
You will also need to have:

An LLB and a minimum of 3 years’ work experience in supporting marginalized communities to address their legal problems;
Excellent research, legal analysis and writing skills;
Experience in litigation, legal activism and project-management will be an advantage.
What we offer
This role will commence from 1st April 2023 until the end of March 2024 with renewal of the contract thereafter on an annual basis for up to a further two years by mutual agreement and subject to satisfactory performance. The position is offered with an initial 3-month trial period. The position is home-based and successful candidates will need to have their own office and office equipment.

Pay‌ ‌is‌ in US Dollars and is ‌dependent‌ ‌on‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌location‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌role‌ ‌profile‌ ‌as defined by WIEGO’s Remuneration Policy–‌ ‌this‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌discussed‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌successful‌ ‌candidate.

Next Steps
To be considered for this position, please submit your application to [email protected] which will need to include:

a cover letter, explaining how you fulfil the above requirements;
curriculum vitae with 2-3 contactable references;
academic transcripts; and
a writing sample in English that has not been edited by someone else.
The deadline for submission is Monday, 13 February 2023. Shortlisting will take place week commencing Monday, 20 February 2023.