Press release: 9th International Street Vendors Day Celebration

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Ms Pov Chandary with her cart. Photo: Oxfam 

Download press release in Khmer: CLICK HERE

Phnom Penh, 14 November 2021 – A former factory worker Ms Pov Chandary, 30, is a now street vendor whose husband is a tuk-tuk driver—they both have been members of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) for three years now. As a member, Chandary said she could attend meetings and training on social protection and understand more about the issues she and other street vendors are encountering.

Based on her experience working in a factory with social protection, Chandary could see the differences and benefits that formal workers could gain from the social protection system, including health care, occupational accident scheme, maternity leave, pension and compensatory allowance. She wants to see street vendors and informal workers deserve the same benefits. “I would be delighted to be a part of social protection even if it means I have to pay some contribution,” said Pov Chandary.

Today, Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA) and partners jointly celebrate the 9th International Street Vendors Day to share the importance of street vendors in social inclusion and their contribution to national economic development.

The forum on “Social Protection for Street Vendors in Cambodia” is conducted to remind and acknowledge the street vendors’ rights, discuss their situation and challenges while sharing information and experiences on social protection policies and practices.

Street vendors in Cambodia face a number of challenges, including insecurity, poor sanitation, no social protection, and all forms of harassment and discrimination. Yet, street vendors are not recognized and registered in the national social security system. The hit of global pandemic Covid19 has added another layer to their existing hardship and makes them more vulnerable and exposed to more risks and uncertainties.

Mr. Von Pov, President of IDEA, said that since 2007 his association has been proactive to improve working conditions, including social protection for street vendors to incorporate them into social protection policies and Law on Social Security. The street vendors also need protection benefits from this law that would contribute to social equality and equity.

“Currently, IDEA is coordinating, offering training, and consolidating a street vendors network in Cambodia, consisting of 22 street vendor groups in Phnom Penh and provinces. The street vendor network aims to initiate appropriate dialogues with relevant government agencies for gaining greater recognition of their rights and therefore to have better access to social protection and decent living conditions,” he added.

Ms. Sophoan Phean, Cambodia National Director of Oxfam said: “Street vendors contribute significantly to the family economy and the national economy. They have the same rights as workers in other sectors. Access to social protection and well-being, including health insurance, maternity protection, child care, education, hygiene and safety, and access to financial services is crucial for them, especially in the context of Covid19.

“Oxfam believes that it is necessary to continue to support street vendors, give them access to social protection, and have a specific study about their needs and situations to develop policies that reflect and respond to their needs,” Ms. Phean added.

In collaboration with Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA), Solidary Centre, and Center for Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL), Institute for Advocacy and Policy (API), Partners for Development Alliance Democracy (CPDD), the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) and Oxfam, the forum brings together approximately 50 participants, including street vendors, and representatives from the informal economy, development partners and government stakeholder at Tonle Basac II restaurant. The event is opened for other 300 online participants.

The forum urges the Cambodian government and relevant counterparts to take necessary steps to provide street vendors with social protection and security to ensure they have access to health care, pensions and other benefits in the national social protection policy and related laws.

Notes to editors: 

Mr Vorn Pov
President of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)
Tel: 012 534 796 /Email: vornpao@gmail.com

Contact information: 

Mr Vorn Pov
President of Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association (IDEA)
Tel: 012 534 796 /Email: vornpao@gmail.com