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Masvingo Informal Traders Welcomes VISET’s Capacity Building Initiatives

….as the Informal Traders Accountability Agenda Gather Momentum

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) was in Masvingo on the 11th of March 2021, for an Informal Traders Accountability Agenda (ITAA) programme to raise awareness on constitutionalism and encourage a culture of accountability by office bearers through constructive engagement between the governed and the governing authority. ITAA intends to capacitate informal traders and vendors to shape their operating spaces by proactively engaging local councils and the police, as well as strengthen vendors’ abilities to influence good governance and transparency at a national level through engagement on matters of national interest.

The objectives of the intervention are as follows:

  1. To improve informal traders’ constitutional socio-economic and human rights literacy, to ensure better engagement on socio-economic issues and safeguard the sector against abuse.
  2. To increase informal trader/vendor agency and engagement with solution holders at the local and national level on issues that affect the informal sector
  3. To enhance informal sector capacity for evidence-based policy engagement and pro-active generation of policy, regulatory and legislative alternatives

The Teach-In was attended by 30 Informal Traders drawn from VISET’s leadership structures known as the Socio-Economic Champions (SOCHAMPS). Masvingo town has 30 Informal Traders Markets and of this number, 25 were represented during the training. The SOCHAMPs were taken through the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in particular in so far as it relates to socio economic rights. There was particular interest from participants with regards the Right to Administrative Justice, Section 68 as they wanted to find out their recourse pertaining to the Covid-19 lockdown demolitions that were undertaken by local authorities countrywide.

The plenary session revealed that the participants are indeed well aware of their rights as enshrined in the Constitution but are lacking in local level organization on how to approach solution holders.

VISET Executive Director Mr Samuel Wadzai, urged the SOCHAMPs to take time to cascade the trainings to their fellow informal traders who could not be part of the initial training. He assured the leadership that VISET will do everything to ensure that they are supported to ensure the smooth flow of the cascading trainings. He further implored upon the leadership to ensure that they report cases of abuse and violations as they occur in the informal sector and stressed that this can only be the sure way to foster the sustainable transformation of the informal economy.  He emphasised that ITAA program will increase Informal Traders access to invited spaces like the local council and parliamentary hearings, as well as business and government engagement forums.

The next step of the ITAA programme will see participants enraging in vendor to vendor engagements to spread teachings from the session to those who were unable to attend. Finally, there will be capacitation on how to engage solution holders in addressing local issues.

Prepared by VISET Information and Publicity Department

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