Informal vendors had very difficult weeks last year due to closings and limited space. The District seeks to vindicate itself with this population, through new projects ranging from temporary fairs to turning them into entrepreneurs.
If there is a union affected by the pandemic, it is the informal vendors, whose income is derived from day-to-day sales. First came the confinements, which forced them to isolate themselves in their homes and depend on aid, which did not always arrive. Then, when little by little they began to take to the streets, they had to move to other areas, looking for the most crowded, since many companies were still in remote work and their income depends on the number of passers-by. This meant another problem for them: the crowds that were continuously reported as a risk of contagion for sellers, buyers and citizens.
With the gradual reopening came a hope due to the program “Bogotá under the open sky”, Which the District devised to reactivate, above all, restaurants, gastrobars and other establishments. But with the strategy, whose premise was to give the formal part of the public space to organize tables, chairs and resume some activities that they offered, little or no space was left for street vendors, which had to settle for popular trade areas.
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With the responsibility of also bringing forward the 82,453 informal vendors identified in the capital, several district entities designed a series of plans to improve the conditions of this population and include it in the distribution of public space, which is currently one of the strategies most suitable to continue mitigating the transmission of the virus. A part of this commitment is from the Administrative Department of the Public Space Defender (Dadep), whose mission is to regulate the use and exploitation of the open spaces through which the residents of the capital travel.
The new director of Dadep, Alejandra Rodríguez Cortés, who took office at the beginning of this month, clarifies that the role of the entity in informal sales matters is limited to the regulation of space and they are not the authority regarding specific offers for informal vendors. “That happens through a transversal work and the Institute for the Social Economy (IPES) has a big task with this population, to give them a relocation offer, guarantee their rights and that they are ordered in times of pandemic ”, he explains.
> READ: Formal and informal vendors from the center signed a pact for coexistence in Bogotá
At this time, Dadep is working on a new regulation for the open-air program, in which, through broad consultation, they hope to include informal vendors, pedestrians and bicycle users, taking into account that the first stage of that strategy also limited several spaces for walking. and travel by bicycle.
The commitment to get the informal vendors afloat is from IPES. Libardo Asprilla, director of the entity, states that this administration seeks to change the vision of this population in relation to public space. “There is the conception that the solution is to get them off the streets, and it is not like that. Many do not see that economic use can be made at the level of large cities ”, he says. In this sense, their strategy is to eliminate issues such as smuggling or drop-by-drop charges with tactical urban planning, that is, the management of space through demarcations, which are agreed with the same informal vendors and even with formal businessmen, and the alternatives they offer for this population.
One of these economic options is the delivery of 3,300 premises between semi-stationary (tricycles), stationary and real estate in critical points such as San Andresito, Quirigua, on July 20, August 7 and the center (Santa Fe, Plaza España and Saint Victorino). Of those 3,300, 2,310 are already employed and the idea in the short term is to increase employment to 2,970.
For this, the IPES is adapting commercial premises and advancing a new model of portable urban solutions, in which the reigning strategy will be implemented from June, for which the work with Dadep and the Urban Development Institute will be key ( IDU). “Temporary fairs will be held at different times of the year, with products and activities depending on the season. They will be rotated in different areas of agglomeration and it is a model that is made up of premises with portable showcases, chairs and tables, which allow the activity to be carried out in a comfortable way ”, indicates Asprilla.
Meanwhile, IPES seeks that work in the public space is carried out in an organized manner, so it carries out a characterization by means of QR codes, which allow any authority to know who the seller is and what are the conditions in which it is allowed to develop its work . The idea of this characterization is to provide entrepreneurship, training and promotion through social networks.
As for new businesses, the goal this year is to support 800 processes through economic impulses that range between $ 400,000 and $ 1.5 million for sellers or family groups that start a business or manufacture a product, but do not have business training. “The impulse is in machinery or raw materials, they can even enter a training route with validation of high school or specific courses,” adds the director of IPES.
At the same time, the entity is offering courses on food handling, due to the lack of this aspect. It also raffles 118 pieces of furniture (the traditional gray huts), as there are many that are not being used. The final task to claim the work of this population and improve their working conditions is the inclusion in pension funds. Today they have 4,177 vendors affiliated with Colpensiones and the goal is to enter another 22,000 this year. After this, it is hoped to give way to access social security.