Project Launch: 9-6-17
Female street vendors in poor sectors of Kigali, Rwanda earn a difficult living as they sell fruits and vegetables to make ends meet and care for their families. Although their circumstances vary, many of them were abandoned by their spouses, widowed, or exploited by familiars. Without formal business licenses, these street vendors are often pursued by the Rwandan authorities who attempt to shut down their informal markets. Without a storefront of their own and fearing police hostility, the vendors frequently establish themselves in front of existing formal businesses, many of whom have taken umbrage to the presence of produce stalls in front of their enterprises. Without the shade of buildings or overhangs to shield their items, women must sell their products while exposed to the elements. Direct sunlight spoils produce and heavy rain may also ruin their offerings. This project proposes the formalization of their women's vendor groups so they can receive business management training, establish a system of internal savings and loans, and receive official government recognition so they can operate freely and openly.