Market traders across the country have been advised to join the Village Community Bank (Vicoba) so that they can easily secure loans from financial institutions to expand their business capital.
The advice was given on Wednesday in Dar es Salaam by Equality for Growth (EfG) executive director Jane Magigita at the opening of 12 female market traders VICOBA in the city and the inauguration of a book for Guidelines of Vicoba sponsored by EfG.
“About 80 percent of women are not able to reach banking services or financial institutions; this is according to the EfG’s research conducted in 2009 which aimed at finding out the challenges facing entrepreneurs in Tanzania,” she said.
She said her office has established a three-year project of female market traders’ voice which has involved about 18 markets in Ilala district; the aim was to empower small entrepreneurs especially women.
Mgigita cited the 10 markets which were taken as sample for the research as; Kisutu, Kigogo-Sambusa, Kibasila, Ferry, Ilala Mchikichini, Vingunguti, Kiwalani, Buguruni and Tabata Muslim.
She said through the education provided to the entrepreneurs, although it is known that entrepreneurship is not a formal sector, but currently they are able to question and argue on implementations and accountability of their leaders.
However, she said the EfG has organized a campaign to criticize gender and violence in the market, whereas harassment is fairly common with 39.7 percent of women having had experienced some form of harassment, 32 percent being verbal abuse, 4 being beating and the rest being rape and other violence.
For her part, Finnish Embassy representative Clara Luhala has applauded the women for accepting the idea of the EfG and agreed to join as groups and form the Vicoba from which they are now enjoying the success including easily getting loans from financial institutions.
Agnes Raphael and Amina Kassim are among members of the new opened Vicoba, acknowledged the EfG for having opened their eyes regarding Vicoba as now they can expand their business as well as take care of their families, such as paying school fees for their children.
“In our Vicoba, a member can get a loan of 700,000/- max, although we are only 30. I advise other small entrepreneurs to unite and form Vicoba, I assure them they will change their lives quickly,”said Agnes from Tabata Vicoba.
EfG has been set up to empower informal women workers in Tanzania through legal and human rights education, advocacy and capacity building in order to eradicate poverty.