Elita Chikwati in BULAWAYO
VENDORS in Bulawayo have adopted new marketing strategies to remain afloat and even increase incomes during disasters such as the Covid-19 lockdown.
The vendors, who were trained by the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund under the Sizimele project told The Herald that they had acquired skills in online marketing and would continue with their businesses even during a lockdown.
Some revealed that they had also learnt to diversify and are running different enterprises to spread the risk during disasters. Entumbane Flea Market chairman, Mr Christopher Charumbira said ZRBF had equipped them with different skills.
“We were trained on financial literacy and disaster preparedness so we do not rely on one source of income.
“We have established nutrition gardens and this will sustain us in hard times, ” he said.
Another vendor, Mrs Sithembiso Mpofu said they were taught to run their enterprises viably.
“During lockdown, some vendors made huge losses since they sell perishables. The time we were operating was limited and were affected economically.
“Now I have other ways of generating more income so if one enterprise does not perform well, at least I will have a fallback. We have also started group savings and members borrow at interest. We later share profits, ” she said.
Danchurchaid markets specialist for urban and rural resilience, Mr Shadreck Zhou said they were training vendors not to rely on one source of income.
“We are also educating vendors on their capacity as essential service providers and taking steps to capacitate to make market places safe and comfortable.
“We did not have any serious cases of Covid-19 at the market places. Vendors survive from hand to mouth and need to have other sources of income.
“We are also working closely with Bulawayo City Council to decentralise markets and encourage traders to come out of town so they operate in residential areas too,” he said.
ZRBF is also in the process of establishing a shelter in Nkulumane to house vendors and others traders. It has since partnered with Government on the Sizimele project, which is targeted at enabling recovery and enhancing the resilience of the informal sector and smallholder farmers so that they have incomes and food to enhance nutritional security in the face of multiple shocks such as drought a d Covid-19 among others.
The vendors also received PPEs and were assisted to access vaccination.