The innovation enables a buyer who pays cash or through mobile money to order for groceries.
PIC: Dr Joshua Mutambi (Blue neck tie) the commissioner for processing and marketing in the Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives in a group photograph with market women. Photos by Karim Ssozi
A mobile phone application (App) which exclusively links female market vendors to potential customers has been developed.
The App which is also web-based, dubbed: ‘Fresh at your door steps’ targets individuals, hotels and institutions buying groceries at their convenience and increase sales for women vendors in Kampala markets before it’s rolled out upcountry.
It has been developed by the Institute for Social Transformation (ITS) with Support from the Swedish Embassy and UN Women to enable female market vendors embrace e-commerce.
The innovation enables a buyer who pays cash or through mobile money to order for groceries. After placing an order specifying the quantities and place of delivery, a transport system (Uber, Taxify or Safe bodas) delivers the foodstuffs.
The App is to be launched on December 15, 2018 after sensitisation of selected market leaders through the payment gate system and other basics of how it works, the executive director Institute for Social Transformation, Rita Atukwasa, explained.
“We have developed a simple to use App. We want to transform and empower a female market vendor by helping her access more clients, increase her sales and make more profits,” Atukwasa said.
She said the training of women leaders has been going on some whom attended the second market women entrepreneur’s symposium at UMA hall on Thursday. The symposium under the theme: Market women harnessing opportunities for business growth discussed issues that affect women in markets.
“The remaining step is to take the women leaders to Rwanda for benchmarking where a similar App is used. We have talked at length about integrity, hygiene, customer care and we are good to go,” Atukwasa added.
From Left, Institute for Social Transformation founding director Thalma Awori and the executive director, Rita Atukwasa at Lugogo.
IST initiated a market women’s programme in Uganda to address the plight of the invisible market women whose voice and power has been ignored and suffocated.
To date over 800 market women aged 15-40 have been reached, trained and organised and linked up with other market stakeholders like city and municipal councils.
Government welcomes innovation
Dr Joshua Mutambi, the commissioner for processing and marketing in the ministry of trade and cooperatives welcomed the timely innovation saying it complements the government’s e-commerce strategy.
“With an App, you reach out to many people who have never met. Digitisation is the way to go,” Mutambi said.
He implored women market vendors to form SACCOs and join cooperatives.
Responding to women’s concerns about the hurdles they go through to access funds, Mutambi pledged: “As government, we shall make sure that the Micro Finance Support Center will ensure that they access the funds to enable them boost their businesses.”
App beneficiaries speak out
Gorret Nalubega, a Nakawa Market vendor was optimistic about the innovation. “We are grateful about this new development. I expect to make more sales and profits,” Nalubega said.
She expressed gratitude to the Institute for Social Transformation sensitising them on the need to go digital in order to increase sales and putting emphasis on hygiene.
Gorret Nanyonjo, a Kalerwe Market vendor said: “I am so excited about the App. It will ease, quicken work and bring in more customers and create jobs for those around us in terms of delivering groceries to our customers.
Women warned on luxuries
The chief executive officer of Bella wines, Prudence Busingye advised women to avoid luxuries and unnecessary lifestyle competitions that eat into their scarcely earned money.
“Don’t be compelled to contribute to someone’s wedding because he or she is a relative or a friend. If you don’t have money, don’t contribute. Don’t buy fancy expensive mobile phones. You only need a phone for communication, not to show off,” she said displaying her fairly old phone.
She said burials and some ceremonies that affect the running of businesses should be restricted.