Making Trade Work for Women in East Africa
Search for Common Ground (Search), with funding from TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), implemented the “Making Trade Work for Women” project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This project aimed to contribute to the greater inclusion of women in trade as one of the pathways to increased business competitiveness and increased trade in the East African Community.
To achieve these results, Search in collaboration with TMEA, targeted small-scale cross-border traders, members of Cross-border Trade Associations and Cooperatives (CBTAs), officials at border posts, and administrative authorities.
Peace Impact Framework
Outcomes of this project relate largely to Institutional Legitimacy (how institutions maintain trust from the people they are meant to serve), Investments (whether a society has the resources to support peace or conflict in the long term), Personal Agency (whether people believe they have the power to positively change their societies) and Violence (people’s personal and direct experience with violence) themes in the Peace Impact Framework.
Project start & end date12/01/2020 - 12/01/2022
- Improved environment (policy/regulation/institutional reforms) facilitating women's trade in East Africa.
- Increased formalisation and value of goods traded by targeted women in East Africa.
- Improved prevention and response to gender-based violence and harassment by targeted women traders in East Africa.
Peace Impact Framework Pillars
- Lived Experience
- Aligned Measures
- Expert Observations
people from the community were consulted
Aligned Measures & Project Indicators
The project contributed to improving the business environment for small traders by supporting 6 initiatives governing CBT and facilitating small traders in inter-country trade.
- The implementation of the one stop centre at the Kavimvira-Gatumba border post (Uvira) has had a positive impact on the reduction of cases of harassment.
- There is a need to broaden advocacy actions towards actors at the national level who have oversight over the provinces and cities.
Changes in the context that affected the outcome
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted trade, with Congolese buyers unable to go and check the quality of their orders, and cross border traders from other countries unable to cross and claim their payments. Losses for small traders were reported on both sides. On the positive side, it has enabled the implementation of the groupage system, which prevents cases of harassment for cross border traders.
- The resource centres are a good approach to handling complaints and preventing cases of GBV & harassment.
- Organise activities that strengthen the dialogue between cross border traders and officials on the difficulties encountered.
- The intentionally inclusive selection of participants by including youth, adults, persons living with disabilities, etc. allows for coverage of beneficiaries that are ignored by other projects.
- For projects working in cross-border trade, it would be better to aim to reach both countries as beneficiary areas.
- Strengthen institutional support based on the mapping of actors.
- Search will need to reflect on an approach for close monitoring of the direct beneficiaries of the project, by organising regular monitoring visits to the implementation areas.
- Provide materials and financial support early enough to allow time for the team to identify and deal with the needs and skills required for the beneficiaries.
- 81% of women are participating in formal trade.
- Implementation of the one-stop centre in Uvira and the groupage system in Kamanyola and Bukavu countered the hassles observed at customs and reinforced formalisation when crossing.
- The implementation of the Prime Minister's instruction to reduce taxes on raw products to zero when declaring or clearing customs was beneficial.