For the working poor, unions can provide a structure for voicing grievances and a collective power for bringing about change, often in the face of resistance. In this article, we travel from Mumbai and Bangalore to Tehran and Ho Chi Minh City to explore some of the struggles waged by unions to demand the rights of their members.
Around the global south, cities struggle to provide electricity and energy to all their residents, and unsurprisingly, the poorest residents are most likely to remain disconnected from formal power systems. Many of the same cities also face an immense garbage challenge: what to do with overwhelming amounts of unsanitary and even toxic waste.
Empowering the urban poor to pull themselves out of poverty is a sustainable, respectful, and effective way to encourage development. The following examples show how modern technology and traditional education methods are having a significant impact in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai, Jakarta, and Mexico City.