Network of Homebased Workers
in South Asia


Homebased Workers are among the most vulnerable of all urban informal workers. They work within or near their homes as own account (self-employed) or subcontracted workers. Because they work in their own homes, or in small workshops near their homes, not in public space , homebased workers generally remain invisible to the public and to the policy makers. They work in the bottom links of value/supply chains and are, in the worst cases, exploited by contractors and subcontractors. They are particularly invisible and isolated in urban locations, where they are often scattered and have very little contact with one another. Moreover, unlike most rural homebased workers, they do not have agricultural employment or local sources of sustenance that they can rely on.

Despite these problems, homebased workers produce goods for both domestic and export value or supply chains, notably in labour-intensive manufacturing sectors (such as garments and textiles, artisanal craft, shoes, sporting goods) but also in electronic assembly, pharmaceutical packaging and sectors. Homebased Work provides a key source of employment, primarily for women but also men, and contributes to the household, national, and global economies. By bringing work into their communities, homebased workers are a source of economic resilience in their neighbourhoods. As a result, homebased work can raise significantly the social status of both women and men in their families and communities.

To illustrate the importance of homebased work: in South Asian cities, the majority of all non-agricultural women workers are homebased workers (about 70 per cent in Bangladesh, 53 per cent in India, 65 per cent in Pakistan). In other words, to talk about working poor women in South Asia , as well as in South East Asia, and in larger parts of the world is to talk primarily about homebased workers. While their products may be sold on the streets by local street vendors or make their way to retail malls in the global North, the homebased producers remain invisible and, therefore, ignored by policies. The net result is that urban laws, ordinances, and regulations, as well as the lack of urban services may often inadvertently harm homebased workers.

In the backdrop of the above, a Regional Conference of City Authorities on Homebased Workers was organised from 7th -9th May, 2014 in Pattaya, Thailand.

The objectives of the conference were:

i    To highlight how good civic amenities impact on the productivity, livelihoods and quality of life of urban Homebased workers.

ii    To share programmes and experiences regarding addressing issues of Homebased Workers in South and South East Asia in partnership with City Authorities.

iii    To identify some country specific issues that could be taken up by or in partnerships with City Authorities to address issues of Homebased Workers and to come out with an ‘Asian Cities Declaration’.

The outcome of the Regional Conference was Adoption of “Asian Cities Declaration”

To view the detailed report of the conference:- please click here

To view the Asian Cities Declaration:- please click here

(As approved by the Board of Trustees on 05.09.2014)


The structure of an organization or a network depends on what it’s purpose and strategies are.

Vision Statement

HomeNets in South Asia envisions a scenario in which Homebased Workers are visible, protected, promoted, empowered ..

Newsletter,Issue 1