Financial inclusion stimulates decent work for women street food vendors in Fort Portal City

By Francis Musinguzi, Information, Research and Communications, KRC Uganda.

Joy, 35 and mother of two children, hails from Bwabya, Rwengaju Parish, Busoro Sub County. She is a member Fort Portal City Women Vendors Savings and Credit Association. Joy is a street food vendor who operates her business along Kibogo Road, in the city centre of Fort Portal. She serves chips and chicken. She’s been in this business since 2016. She testifies that as result of her job, she’s been able to keep her two children in school, take care of her elderly parents and run her home.

She has utilised loan services from the SACCO to boost her business. Starting in 2016 with capital of not more than 100,000/= Uganda Shillings, she has been able to grow her business both in capital assets, working capital and savings to over 4 million Uganda Shillings. She was able to complete her house from the proceeds of her business.

Financial services from the SACCO have kept her business afloat and ensured its recovery and stability during the COVID-19 recession. Her daily running expenses on stock has seen since the start increased from about 70,000/= Uganda Shillings to 250,000/= Uganda Shillings. Joy’s business is capable of feeding about 100 clients per day.

She says that this success comes at the backdrop of KRC’s support, that the group received through training in business skills, business records, cost-benefit analysis, good nutrition, proper food handling and hygiene. The loan facility was especially very instrumental. Despite the success, Joy and her fellow women vendors decry the lack of security of tenure of the work premises. The vendors on the street occupy rented spaces where landlords charge exorbitantly high costs but fail to provide security of vendors’ property, utilities and sanitary services. The rainy and stormy days are the worst because they lack shelter to seat their customers. Nonetheless, life goes on. The vendors look forward to delayed promises from the City authorities to resettle them in a safer, convenient place.

Katusabe Beatrice

Street Food Vendor, Fuelex, Bwamba Road Fort Portal City

Photo: Beatrice at potato chips business on the street

Beatrice, 27, started her business career on the streets of Fort Portal in 2019, vending food, after dropping out of school in 2014. She testifies that her entrepreneur spirit motivated her to begin something small that has incredibly sustained her livelihood for 3 years. With a loan obtained from the KRC supported Women Vendors’ SACCO, Beatrice was able overcome the COVID-19 business shutdown to grow her business from 50,000/= in 2019 to over 2 million shillings in 2021. She prepares and serves potato chips to over 60 clients everyday along Bwamba Road, at Fuelex Boda-Boda stage, close to a motorcycle repair garage in Fort Portal City. Beatrice has an eye for business. While serving food to her clients from the motorcycle repair garage and boda-boda stage, Beatrice saw an opportunity to diversify into retail dealership of spare parts. She sought a loan from the SACCO and plus her own savings, she rented a kiosk next-door and established a motorcycle spare parts retail shop. Beatrice maintains her two businesses operating alongside each other to diversify her income. She employs another woman vendor to support her juggle the two businesses. Beatrice is grateful to KRC for having supported the women vendors’ SACCO from which vendors have benefited credit services.

Photo: Enterprising Beatrice, diversified her income sources, to start a Motorcycle Spare Parts Shop

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