BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
BULAWAYO informal traders are undergoing training that seeks to capacitate them with skills to endure economic shocks caused by natural disasters with COVID-19 as a case study.
The global pandemic has disrupted lives, caused company closures and job cuts with informal traders also not spared after government suspended operations as a preventive measure.
The vendors have also been at the mercy of law enforcement agents who have made their survival very difficult.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has, however, since lifted the suspension on informal trading after announcing a two-week extension of the lockdown.
Bulawayo Vendors and Informal traders Association (BVTA) director Michael Ndiweni said the training was targeting 600 informal traders under a project titled Strengthening Livelihoods and Resilience on Urban Youths (Steller).’
“The Steller project is trying to respond to the shocks of COVID-19. It has to do with how young people can organise themselves and run campaigns that can unlock opportunities for them. We are teaching them access to information communication technologies and how can they advocate for policies that can enable them to do their businesses,” Ndiweni said.
“So we have been doing advocacy training to give them a picture of how they can develop their advocacy campaign and give them tools to work with, we will also be running other training on internal landing and saving schemes.”
Ndiweni said they will be also training on entrepreneurship, online marketing and creating platforms to compete on their best business ideas.
“We are running this project as a consortium of organisations and we are targeting about 600 people to be active and benefit from this project,” Ndiweni said.
The lockdown extension has hit women the hardest and women are the majority of people working in the informal sector.