Our WorkInitiatives Health of Informal Workers

Health of Informal Workers

Exploring innovations to help meet the needs of informal workers—with a focus on health.


Informal workers comprise 60 percent of the global workforce, or approximately 1.8 billion people and growing. In sub-Saharan Africa, 66 percent of the workforce is considered informal. In Asia, it’s more than 80 percent.

No matter where they live, informal workers face higher barriers to leading healthy lives than workers in the formal economy. Not only are they more exposed to health risks on the job, they are more likely lack access to health and social protections. And even if these protections are available, employment insecurity makes it difficult for them to spend the time and money these services require. As a result, informal workers are at risk for emerging health threats, including non-communicable diseases.

But at the same time, these populations are characterized by their interconnectivity, entrepreneurship, and resilience – assets that could be leveraged to address their health vulnerabilities.

Our Strategy
In 2014, The Rockefeller Foundation launched its Health of Informal Workers initiative in development to explore ways to bring traditional health services and information to workers through digital and physical innovations, with a focus on mobile technologies.

Ultimately, our goal is to help empower informal workers to better manage their own health and build more secure livelihoods.

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