How LakeHub, UNDP are giving Kisumu’s Informal Traders a Lifeline through CHICHWA E-commerce Platform

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Today, more than ever, technology is increasing opportunities for social and economic growth. However, several obstacles stand in the way of women’s entrepreneurship, access to markets and business growth. Social distancing due to Covid-19 made physical access to markets impossible thereby increasing the need for e-commerce, which provides unlimited business opportunities globally.

This is why LakeHub in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with financial support from the Russian Embassy developed Chichwa e-commerce platform to allow women to circumvent these obstacles and sell their products online. This is key to allowing women entrepreneurs to access wider markets, increase their customer base and grow sustainable businesses post Covid-19 pandemic.

“Internet is a gateway to huge economic opportunities and with women having no access, there’s a digital disconnect and denial of opportunities, particularly for women in informal businesses” ~ James Odede CEO LakeHub.

To ensure no woman is left behind in this digital space, LakeHub has recruited 631 women in informal businesses across ten local markets within Kisumu county. Further, the women recruited are from four business sectors: Fresh produce, second-hand clothes (Mitumba), Juakali/Artisan and Kiosk/Kibanda food .

To trade on the platform, both the seller and the buyer need to register and their details verified to curb fraud. Helping women in informal businesses to transition to selling via formal e-commerce platforms, where they can access wider markets is one of CHICHWA’S objectives, and in line with closing the gender gap in e-commerce.

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