How We Are Structured


WIEGO is a network of individuals and institutions from three broad constituencies:

  • membership-based organizations (MBOs) of informal workers such as cooperatives, unions and associations
  • researchers and statisticians who carry out research, data collection, or data analysis on the informal economy
  • professionals from development agencies (inter-governmental, governmental, and non-governmental) who provide services to or shape policies towards the informal workforce

MBOs of informal workers who are active in WIEGO are invited to become our Institutional Members. Individuals from the other two constituencies who are active in WIEGO are invited to become our Individual Members. As of May 2014, the WIEGO network had 177 Members –  34 Institutional and 143 Individual Members – from 41 countries. For more detail, see Who We Are.

The membership of WIEGO is central in our governance and accountability structure. Members are entitled to review and comment on WIEGO’s progress reports and financial reports, to attend General Assemblies held every four years, to elect representatives to a Nominating Committee that prepares the slate of candidates for the Board of Directors that is selected every four years.

WIEGO also seeks to involve our Members in the design of our programmes and activities by serving on planning and steering committees or in less formal ways. WIEGO also develops collaborative projects with our Members as well as other partners. During 2010, WIEGO had on-going projects or one-time activities in 70 countries around the world.


A 10-person Board of Directors governs the WIEGO network. Board members are drawn from our three constituencies. The Board has two committees: a Management (or executive) Committee and a Financial Committee. Most of our five Programmes have an international Advisory Committee, with members drawn from the three WIEGO constituencies. From 1997 until 2007, WIEGO functioned as an unincorporated international network with an international Steering Committee. In April 2006, the WIEGO General Assembly ratified a Constitution detailing the roles and responsibilities of the Membership, the Board and Committees, and the key personnel of WIEGO. The Constitution also detailed the composition of the Board, the terms of Board membership, and the nomination process for selecting new Board members.

In July 2007, WIEGO was registered as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee in the UK. When WIEGO was registered in the UK in 2007, the principles enshrined in our Constitution were incorporated into our Articles of Association. See WIEGO Articles of Association. In 2011, WIEGO was granted charity status by the Charities Commission of England and Wales (Registered Charity No. 1143510).


The Management and Finance Committees of the Board oversee the policies, operations, and financial management of WIEGO. Six members of the WIEGO Team – the International Coordinator, Operational Manager, Company Secretary, Global Projects Director, Financial Controller, and Secretariat Manager – constitute the Operations Team that manages the operations and finances of WIEGO on a day-to-day basis. WIEGO’s activities are coordinated through a matrix structure: with programmes and activities on one axis and cross-cutting functional teams (advocacy, capacity building, communication, fundraising, monitoring and evaluation, programmes, and research) on the other.

Prior to registration in the UK in 2007, WIEGO had two fiscal sponsors: Harvard University for the funds that covered the Secretariat and related costs; and the Tides Center for other funds. The vast majority of our funds are now routed through WIEGO Ltd. which banks with the Royal Bank of Scotland in Manchester, UK. However, we maintain an account at Harvard University to handle the funds that cover costs related to our Secretariat at the Harvard Kennedy School where our International Coordinator is on the faculty; and we maintain an account at the Tides Center for other funds that cannot be routed to the UK.

The Finance Committee of the WIEGO Board reviews the budgets and reports of all WIEGO funds and accounts, including those managed by the two fiscal sponsors in the USA and those managed by WIEGO Ltd. in the UK. The WIEGO accounts at Harvard University are audited each year as part of the annual financial audit of Harvard University; and our accounts at the Tides Center are audited each year as part of the annual financial audit of the Tides Center as a whole. The accounts at WIEGO Ltd. are audited each year by an external auditor.

The WIEGO management and financial systems in the USA were reviewed in December 2007 as part of a pre-grant inquiry by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Our financial and management systems in both the US and UK were reviewed in July and August 2008 by KPMG as part of a pre-grant inquiry by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Both reviews determined our financial and management systems were sound; and both organizations subsequently made grants to WIEGO.


The number of people working for WIEGO has doubled since 2007. As of December 2010, the WIEGO virtual team was comprised of seven employees and 20 contracted consultants. Nine members of the team were based at the WIEGO Secretariat at the Harvard Kennedy School in Boston, USA or the WIEGO Ltd. office in Manchester, UK; the rest lived and worked in 11 countries around the world. Only six members of the team worked full-time for WIEGO; other members worked from one-third to three-quarter time.

The WIEGO Team is based around the world:

Secretariat at Harvard Kennedy School (Cambridge, USA)

International Coordinator
Secretariat Manager
Web Officer

WIEGO Ltd. Office (Manchester, UK)

Operations Manager
Company Secretary
Financial Controller
2 Finance Officers
Events & Travel Manager

Eleven Countries

5 Programme Directors
1 Global Project Director
1 Global Project Officer
1 Research Coordinator
2 Regional Advisors (Europe, Latin America)
3 Waste Picker Coordinators (1 global, 2 regional)
3 Sector Specialists (home-based workers, street vendors, waste pickers)
1 Communications Manager
1 Occupational Health-and-Safety Researcher