Launched in 2010 at the Kennedy Center Opera House, the Fairness Award brought together an audience of more than 2,000 invited guests to celebrate partnership and honor leadership. Each year the Global Fairness Initiative selects two honorees, one from the grass-tops who has enabled and supported marginalized communities and one from the grassroots who has led communities in building a stronger voice and finding a place in our global community. The Fairness Awards ceremony celebrates both leaders and symbolizes the collaborative role they play in working toward a global greater good.
Economists, Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, activists, professors, and concerned citizens joined together in Tunis to review the progress of GFI’s Tunisia Inclusive Labor Initiative (TILI) and chart the next steps toward integrating Tunisia’s informal sector into the formal economy. Held on March 19, the Informal Employment in Tunisia at the Heart of the Social and Economic Development Plan conference provided an opportunity for thought leaders to review and debate progress on Tunisia’s economic growth and the role that the informal sector may play in the nation’s economic and social development. The conference served as the culmination of more than two years of work with Tunisia's informal sector to understand the challenges that informal workers face and to develop a roadmap to formalization for Tunisia massive informal economy.
While Tunisia has made great strides in government reform and in transitioning to democracy, it has struggled to reduce the size of its informal economy, which makes up more than 40% of the country's workforce. This poses serious risks for economic growth and workers' livelihoods. The Global Fairness Initiative held a discussion to address the issue of informality and present case studies based on the experience of working with Tunisia's informal workers through the Tunisia Inclusive Labor Initiative.
In the face of rapid social and economic change in West Africa, organizations and governments around the world must turn to sustainable investment strategies in order to achieve economic growth and stability in the long run. Alongside the Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation, the Global Fairness Initiative hosted a roundtable to discuss ideas behind impact investment strategies for West Africa's transition economies. Participants included representatives from the government, multilateral, philanthropic and NGO communities.
In America, there is a growing and demanding need for utilizing innovation, design, and technology to have vast economic, social, and environment impacts on the region and the international community. To address various energy and technology related issues, the Global Fairness Initiative is partnering with the Brookings Institute to present a panel discussion to understand design-driven innovation and enterprise solutions to support mid and low-income markets.
PILAR (Promoting Informal Labor Rights) is a two-year program that developed strategies to encourage formalization of the self-employed and informal enterprises in Guatemala and Nicaragua. PILAR and its national strategy, Roadmap to Formalization, provided an opportunity to break the poverty cycle from its root and enfranchise thousands of marginalized workers. During the presentation of the program in Washington D.C., the panelists shared the objective and expected results of the program, such as an extension of Labor Rights provisions to informal sector workers, new policies and reforms that encourage formalization, and best practices for Government data collection on informal sector.
During the 2011 Eradicating Forced Labor panel discussion, the participants sought to address the issues of Forced Labor in Global Supply Chains. The presenters offered an insight into Brazil’s experience working to end forced labor, information on challenges in implementing PACT and measures against forced labor. Additionally, next steps were suggested, including the sharing of information among companies, the creation of worker awareness programs, the support of PACT, and a multi-stakeholder engagement.
Number of victims of forced labor around the world
Every year, the board members of GFI gather in New York City for their annual meeting, reception, and engagement with the Clinton Global Initiative. The board meeting is an opportunity to develop a strategy that will maximize the after-effects of GFI programs. During the 2011 Board Events in New York City, the third annual Fairness Award and recent GFI projects were presented to the board members. These programs included assisting informal workers in Guatemala, cooperation with a grass root media strategy in Nicaragua, and Verapaz Community Empowerment Program (VCEP).
GFI’s Art Auction & Cocktail Reception was held at the historic Organization of American States building on the National Mall. The event celebrated art with a social conscience and featured works by acclaimed U.S. and Latin American artists. The bids made on these unique works went to benefit GFI’s work in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The Salt Lantern Campaign Launch was started at the Embassy of Slovenia. This fundraising campaign goal was to purchase 15,000 solar powered lanterns which would be distributed to women salt farmers in Gujarat, India. One solar lantern raised a poor family’s household by as much as 8%. This simple technology could eliminate a child’s exposure to highly toxic fumes from the fuel-based lighting that was used, and with enough lanterns, 1.5 million lives could be saved each year. This allowed the world’s working poor to experience the economic benefits of “green” innovation and “green” industry.
In 2010, President José María Figueres became the new GFI Board Chairman. For a reception in honor of the new leadership of the organization, guests gathered at the Embassy of Hungary. Participants of the event and Mr. Figueres celebrated the upcoming change and success of GFI, including its impact in the global economy.
In support of the GFI’s saltLantern Campaign, the event sought to introduce renewable energy technology to 30,000 women salt farmers in northern India . The campaign was a partnership between the Caesar’s Foundation, Aervoe Industries, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and GFI; the event drew together a community of supporters, including President Bill Clinton. The campaign and participating organizations were committed to extending greater access to economic opportunity for poor women through the saltLantern technology.