Date: Wed February 3, 2021 08:00:00 AM
Location: Online
Contact: Sundas Liaqat
Event| Webinar| Event| Starts: Wed February 3, 2021 08:00:00 AM - Ends: Wed February 3, 2021 09:30:00 AM

Covid-19, Cities and Informal Workers: A Look at Ahmedabad

Cities event



Wednesday, February 3

8:00 – 9:30 a.m. (EST)


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Meeting number (access code): 180 132 1494

Meeting password: fhT6JWc6qM8


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As we all know, the COVID 19 pandemic have caused major economic hardships around the world, taking a disproportionate toll on informal workers, exacerbating pre-existing disadvantages. While the effects of the crisis continue, it is critical to implement effective delivery channels to quickly provide the needed support to the informal workers, in order to achieve inclusive economic recovery.


Join this session of our Innovations in Slums Upgrading Series for a deep dive on urban informal workers in India, during the covid-19 crisis and beyond.

The event will feature external speakers from: Amdavad Municipal Corporation; WIEGO- who will present findings of their recently published  12-city study: COVID-19 Crisis and the Informal Economy; Ajeevika, an NGO focused on supporting migrant workers in India; and Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA).


Catalina Marulanda, Practice Manager, Urban SAR, World Bank 



Martha Chen, Senior Advisor, WIEGO Network


Mr. K.B.Thakkar (GAS), Deputy Municipal Commissioner,

Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation

Manali Shah, National Secretary, Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA)

Divya Varma, Programme Manager (Policy and Partnerships), Aajeevika Bureau



Puja Vasudeva Dutta, Consultant, Partnership for Economic Inclusion, World Bank


About the Speakers



Martha (Marty) Chen is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Co-Founder, Emeritus International Coordinator and Senior Advisor of the global network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing ( An experienced development practitioner and scholar, her areas of specialization are employment, gender and poverty with a focus on the working poor in the informal economy. Before joining Harvard in 1987, she had two decades of resident work experience in Bangladesh and in India. Dr. Chen co-founded and, for twenty years, led the WIEGO network which is well known worldwide for its work to improve the status of the working poor in the informal economy through stronger organizations, improved statistics and research and a more favorable policy environment. Dr. Chen received a PhD in South Asia Regional Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.  She was awarded a high civilian award, the Padma Shri, by the Government of India in April 2011; and a Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War award by the Government of Bangladesh in December 2012. 



Mr. K.B.Thakkar, Gujarat Administrative Service officer (GAS) has worked in various senior position like Resident Deputy Collector / Resident Additional Collector / Land Acquisition Officer and Deputy Election Officer in Govt of Gujarat. He has experience of working in Municipal Corporation cities and associated with administration of cities like Ahmedabad/ Rajkot/ Jamnagar and Baroda.

Mr. K.B.Thakkar (GAS) is working as Deputy Municipal Commissioner in Ahmedabad Municipal corporation since  last three & half years. He also looks after Housing Project and Slum Networking Project department and along with North Zone, Election, Municipal School Board, Urban Community Development (UCD), RTI etc.



ManaliManali Shah has been working for SEWA for the past 31 years. SEWA is a Central Trade Union working in 17 states with more than 1.7 million women members in the informal sector. Manali has been extensively involved in policy interventions related to extending Livelihood Security as well as Social protection for women workers in the informal economy: Street vendors, Waste Recyclers and Construction workers. She represents the informal economy women workers issues and rights in the Joint Committee of Central Trade Unions, and she played a relevant role for involving the poor, vulnerable and traditional waste recyclers in all levels of Urban Solid waste management chain in Ahmedabad city.



DivyaDivya Varma works with Aajeevika Bureau, a specialized public service initiative that works with communities dependent on informal work and migration. She leads Aajeevika's policy research and advocacy work, engaging with a range of stakeholders, from industry to governments. Previously Divya held field-based positions in rural source and urban destinations of Aajeevika Bureau’s migrant support operations. Most recently, Divya led a multi-locational policy study that explored the challenges faced by migrant workers in accessing social protection and public provisioning in cities. A Fulbright Scholar, Divya holds a degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Postgraduate Diploma from the Institute of Rural Management, Anand.