The Sunday News
Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
AT least 233 vulnerable women who lost their wares in the fire that engulfed the Mutize Flea Market in Bulawayo a fortnight ago will benefit from a US$200 grant for the next three months extended to them by the DanChurchAid Zimbabwe.
The aid is meant to cushion them from the devastating effects of the fire which destroyed all their property.
DanChurchAid (DCA) Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organisation in collaboration with Bulawayo Civil Protection Unit (CPU) conducted a rapid needs analysis to ascertain the immediate and pressing needs of the affected individuals and households. It found out that the loss of the 164 stands serving more than 300 informal traders left some families in dire poverty. DCA communications manager Ms Patience Ukama told the Sunday News that they were going to assist the vulnerable members who include orphans and child headed families.
“DCA Zimbabwe in partnership with Bulawayo Vendors Informal Traders Association (BVTA) proposes to provide life saving support for the affected households for a period of three months. This includes multi-purpose cash transfers for 233 households (particularly widows, and female-headed households) identified as most vulnerable. Each household is expected to receive US$200 for the period transferred in two tranches. The transfer value is informed by the national cash-working group urban food survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) that incorporates food/dietary needs and school fees,” she said.
Ms Ukama said the cash transfers for the emergency intervention were for vendors to restock and rebuild following the losses they suffered. The funds are meant to allow the vendors to restock the products they were selling as they get back on their feet. DCA said they would spearhead the cash transfers facilitated through the EcoCash platform, spread over two months (US$100 in September and US$100 in October).
Mutize Flea Market was providing goods for the community, including apparel, kitchen utensils, electronics, beauty services, and even food. Its closure will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications, both economically and culturally as the market serves as a vital connection centre for the community. Its demise has exacerbated poverty and unemployment in the area.