【IN FOCUS】Decent Work and Social Protection: Putting dignity in practice for all

2023-10-17 15:12:14

October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, and this year’s theme is Decent Work and Social Protection: Putting dignity in practice for all

Poverty is not just an economic problem but a multifaceted phenomenon that includes a lack of income and the basic ability to live with dignity. People living in poverty are deprived in many ways that are interrelated and feed on each other to perpetuate poverty, including hazardous working conditions, unsafe housing, unequal access to justice, and limited access to health care. etc.

To this end, cities need to innovate in many aspects, establish new partnerships, and protect the rights and interests of the poor. This issue of IN FOCUS selects five urban innovation cases from the 6th Guangzhou Awards Shortlisted Cities to show you how cities use innovative means to put dignity in practice for all.


Gwangju, Republic of Korea: GwangJuness Community Care

“No citizen is left out” is not just a slogan for the city of Gwangju. The previous caregiving system in Korea selected beneficiaries based on age and income, and only supported those who were eligible to make an application. To address this gap, Gwangju has created an innovative care model, Gwangjuness Community Care, for anyone who needs care.

Dong-office (smallest administrative division) care managers visit individuals in their homes, check their situation, and apply for needed services. Gwangju has launched 16 new care services and plans to inject US$7.74 million annually to encourage citizens facing economic hardship to take advantage of these care services. “Care Call” has been launched as a single application channel to increase convenience.

To ensure implementation, Gwangju has established a “dedicated division,” designated 320 care managers, and selected 38 private sector care service providers.


Alcaldia Iztapalapa, Mexico City, Mexico: UTOPIAS – Urban transformation and organization for social inclusion and harmony

Iztapalapa is one of the largest municipalities in Mexico City. 43% of its population lives in poverty, and 23% works in the informal economy. Socio-economic and territorial inequalities are key challenges among the local population.

The UTOPIAS initiative is a strategy to deepen social and urban transformation that addresses the structural socio-territorial inequality of the municipality of Iztapalapa via the regeneration of deteriorating public spaces and the construction of a system of large, comprehensive, high-impact public facilities that promote human rights and well-being of communities, with a focus on the equitable distribution of public spaces and facilities, which provide free social, cultural, sporting and recreational activities and services that are open to people of all ages.

The initiative applies an innovative approach to urban management that adopts an integrated, trans-disciplinary, and trans-sectorial vision that has recovered and transformed more than 500,000 square meters of public space. In addition, it provides alternative activities for at-risk youth in an environment prone to violence.


Pimpri Chinchwad, India: Navi Disha community toilet model

The access of families living in informal settlements to sanitation facilities is low in the Indian city of Pimpri Chinshwad. The municipality decided to address this problem by constructing community toilets in slums. Under the initiative, women from the targeted communities have formed groups that have taken responsibility for operating and maintaining the community toilets.

The initiative was conceived through discussions with the communities. The community members identified operation and maintenance challenges and suggested the assigning of this responsibility to women’s groups. Despite training in community toilet management, the municipality also makes a monthly payment to each women’s group to cover the cost of sanitation equipment and cleaning materials to generate revenue streams for the women’s groups.

The initiative is a good example of gender mainstreaming in the sanitation value chain and also of effective public-community partnerships. Besides reimbursing costs and providing training, the municipality also provides management support to the women’s groups with end-to-end operating manuals, streamlined procedures and effective monitoring systems.


São Paulo, Brazil: Programa Tô Legal

Tô Legal’s main goal is to ease and expedite the issuance of authorization and permits to those who work and provide services informally in public areas and sidewalks. It has provided an opportunity for those who are unable to enter the formal employment market to work legally.

Tô Legal is an electronic system funded by and used in the city of São Paulo in Brazil, which allows citizens who currently work illegally and insecurely on the streets to formalize themselves and their production over time. Via the system, citizens are now able to apply for documents, to change their registration or to pay municipal fees online. Civil servants can readily access permit and authorization information, which expedites inspection procedures. Revenue collection is streamlined, with funds going directly to the Municipal Treasury.

The initiative has provided an opportunity for those who are unable to enter the formal employment market to work legally, and has fomented entrepreneurship. It has also improved transparency, efficiency, and location monitoring (GIS), and reduced corruption through payment control.


Kampala, Uganda: An innovation for pit-emptying services using a GIS-enabled application

Kampala, Uganda’s capital city, has a population of 1,738,000. Over 60% of this population lives in informal housing, while only between 10% and 15% of the city is connected to the formal sewerage system. 90% of the population relies on the on-site sanitation model, making waste-emptying services unavoidable for many residents. Pit latrines and septic tanks are often emptied haphazardly into the environment by vendors providing these services.

It is within this context that the Weyonje App was developed and introduced. Citizens can use the app on their mobile phones to order emptying services that are monitored until the sludge is successfully delivered to the regulated dumpsite. Citizens without smartphones, especially those living in poor informal settlements, have the option to contact the Village Health Team (VHT), which requests the service on their behalf using the Weyonje Village Health Team Application.

The App ensures that the faecal sludge is safely transported and managed at the treatment plant. Data from the App feeds digitally into the city’s data management dashboard enabling the city to track progress and gaps in the emptying service.