Watch: Informal traders hail EJWP’s empowerment project

By Staff Writer

A vibrant program initiated by the Economic Justice Women’s Project (EJWP) with the objective to uplift Informal Traders has ended on a high note with several beneficiaries testifying that their trade skills were honed for the better.

The project was implemented in two districts of Kadoma (Mashonaland West) and Goromonzi (Mashonaland East) guided by the prime objective to establish a safe space, through the Informal Economy Women’s Hub (INEWOH).

It was guided by the philosophy of making young women in the informal sector to safely and continuously engages on the issues that affect them, share knowledge and skills, self-organize to engage authorities and stakeholders that can respond to their call.

Under the initiative, The Hub, a platform that provided an interactive space for women in the informal sector to open up on their experiences, encounters, fears, opportunities and security issues without fear of being judged or becoming susceptible to abuse was utilized for engagement.

Below are testimonies made by some of the beneficiaries of the program;

Caroline Mutizwa

“My name is Catherine Mutizwa I stay in Goromonzi North Constituency in ward 16. I specialize in Flowers Farming. I sell these flowers at Africa Unity Square in Harare Central Business District Zone.

“When the Economic Justice for Women’s Project launched their empowerment program, I was taught to keep my business records detailing the sales recorded as well as the profits made.

“Such knowledge was very helpful because in the past we didn’t know how beneficial such records were. Due to the tough economic environment we are operating in sometimes we are also forced to survive on our cash flows which expose our projects to financial strains leaving us in dire need of soft loans.

“In that regard we were also taught to prepare business plans to test the viability of our projects and attract investments. We are very grateful of the EJWP for coming to our rescue .I used to believe that records were not important because I produce the flowers in my own field but now I know that record keeping is very important.

“However, we are struggling to get the best markets for our flowers are negatively impacting our income flows .As a result we cannot attract adequate capital to finance the construction of green houses to produce good quality flowers.

“Apart from that, EJWP also taught us a lot on Socio-Economic –Rights  to the effect that at all the vending cites we use there must be proper sanitation and toilets .We also learnt that the Harare City Council comes to collect money from us and it is that money which must be used  to create the right infrastructure for us.

“We also taught the importance of Citizens Participation in all matters of national concern like the national budget etc. So we are now encouraging each other as young women to participate in such processes.”

Rejoice Chitora

“My name is Rejoice Chitora. I am from Goromonzi Ward 16. The Economic Justice for Women Project imparted a lot of detailed knowledge to me.I was in business already but my business was stagnant .So the project helped me immensely because I didn’t respect record keeping  and all I cared for was going out to sell my wares.

“I run a small tuck shop and over the years I never registered any growth .The program I participated in really empowered me to appreciate the value of record keeping itemizing everything I bought and the time cycles such items will run out.

“I was also taught to join Women’s Savings Clubs where we lend each other money at an interest and save everything to multiply our earnings. I am now realizing that my business is not collapsing at all and looks so stable.

“I have also diversified my earnings and kick started a side project of 50 broilers and all this has gone a long way to stabilize my business .I would therefore like to appreciate the EJWP for the support I received.”

Gean Kasukuwere

“I didn’t know the importance of record keeping and how to craft business plans    but when I came across the EJWP I received training which transformed my life.

“I am now using the training I received to educate the fellow vendors in my community. The organisation also trained us on transformative leadership   which has given me confidence and the language competencies to use when dealing with local authorities as we demand social services .I am now in a position to a[approach local authorities in demand of the basic services we need.

“I opened a savings Bank Account to keep my savings for future use.”

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