Bulawayo vendors turn to social media

HARARE - Informal traders in Bulawayo have taken to social media to raise awareness on injustices against vendors, as well as market their products.

This comes as informal traders are facing myriad of challenges that include, poor state of infrastructure, overcrowding of vending sites and lack of toilets at sites that they currently occupy.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) said it was implementing the project dubbed Vendors Voices Project to create opportunities for policy engagement between Bulawayo City Council (BCC)and informal traders.

“Vendors Voices Project uses formal and informal-strategies such as onsite digital age vendor trainings which equip informal traders with digital literacy skills like photography and video filming, use of social media platforms and use of smart mobile phones to report injustices,” BVTA said in a statement.

“The project also makes use of Community Based Advocacy Teams (ComBATs), community mobilisation tools like policy engagement stokvels and other spaces for dialogue on issues affecting the informal traders.”

The project, funded by Trust Africa, also trains informal traders in digital literacy opening Facebook and Twitter accounts to share and post information.

“As a result of these advocacy strategies, informal traders are engaging council and demanding better vending sites. In these dialogue spaces vendors have also called on the BCC to act on reported grievances.

“Some issues that rile informal traders is that available vending sites are crowded and lack of toilets at sites that they occupy currently.

Informal traders are also hoping to use the platforms to lobby authorities to reduce licence fees.

“Due to high vending licensing fees, most informal traders end up selling their wares illegally in undesignated sites,” BVTA said.

“This results in violent raids by the municipal police and confiscation of goods, leading to loss of income and failure to fend for families.

“The project continues to equip informal traders with knowledge of their rights and how they can meaningfully participate at local level decision making processes.”

BVTA said although by-laws are meant to regulate the functions of the informal traders, a majority of them are trading illegally due to the rigidities of the by-laws.

Comments (1)

all because of MDC controlled council its really shameful the citizens toil hard to make ends meet but MDC tries by all means to create difficult conditions for vendors and blame zanu pf for its artificial unfavorable conditions. wake up zimbabwe, vote for ED support him to fight these hypocrites

kid marongorongo - 1 July 2018

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