May 2020: Maira Vannuchi, StreetNet International organizer for the Americas and IFWEA Executive Member, Brazil
Where are you working at the moment?
From home in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Has your work been strongly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic?
My routine was only partially impacted, since I have always worked from my home office. But all the field and training trips were cancelled.
How has it been impacted?
The impact has been more about the urgency that street vendors are facing, and the urgent need to get aid to them. So, the needs of the vendors have impacted me and the team because we have the feeling that we have to use all our resources to do as much as possible to help them.
How have you managed to work?
We have been holding online meetings, and improving our communication to work better without the field trips.
What are the challenges?
For our street vendor leadership from the affiliated organisations, data is very expensive, so it has been difficult to coordinate things with them. Also, there is not a lot of knowledge about digital technology, or even a good infrastructure.
Does this influence the way you operate and plan?
Yes it does. The governance and regular meetings can be held online, but the field work and training is challenging, because of the cancellation of field trips and the difficulties with technology and data.
Can you give us some examples of positive aspects of your work at the moment? Are there good things that have happened?
Yes – one good thing is that we are getting more familiar with good tools for online communication and coordination of our work. So our online work is better than before. Also, we decided to invest in improvements in our communication channels and strategies to reach out to people who were being left behind because of our busy travel calendar.
What advice and support do you have for others?
Slowing down a busy travel schedule has helped us reorganise our internal structure and improve our tools for internal and external communication, areas which are often neglected for lack of time or for activity apparently of greater importance. This decision is reflected in better work quality, planning and reaching out to people. Ultimately, in strengthening the organisation and its impact.