India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), members of the International Health Cooperative Organization (IHCO) and the International Organization of Industrial and Service Cooperatives (CICOPA) were among the first to respond to the pandemic highlighting the impact of the crisis on informal workers, identifying it as a double pandemic with people potentially losing both their lives and livelihoods. SEWA members like healthcare cooperative Lok Swasthya were implementing immediate measures to resist the crisis. Lok Swasthya continues to run low cost pharmacies, manufacture low cost sanitizers at their Ayurvedic manufacturing unit. The federation’s other cooperatives are supplying food to children and the aged, producing low cost masks while also creating awareness on the pandemic locally. SEWA is lobbying with government(s) for cash transfers to informal women workers’ accounts as solatium and loans to help women work and earn income again. SEWA is also pushing for universal health coverage, universal childcare and micro-insurance through investing in cooperatives. Read the full report made by the ILO here.
Self-Employed Women's Association
21 May 2020