Enhancing Lobbying Capacity of Women Street Vendors: The Challenges in the Kenyan Policy Environment

Patrick O. Alila, Winnie Mitullah
  • Publisher: International Development Research Centre

This broad study examines street vendors associations in four Kenyan cities: Nairobi, Kisurnu, Migori and Machakos. The report is mainly based on a survey and focus group discussion approach. In total, 91 associations were covered, most of them being small or medium size organisations focusing on welfare provision and savings and credit. The small associations were mainly described as rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs) that functioned also as sort of insurance schemes. These associations are especially common among female street vendors, and are generally weak and incapable of addressing broader issues such as harassment and lack of recognition of street vending activities. These associations did not usually have contact with government officials.
Only a total of five street vendors associations which focus on street vending issues and advocacy to policymakers were found. They included: Kenya Street Traders Society (KSTS), Kenya National Hawkers Union (KENAHU), Kisumu Hawkers Association (KHA), General Street Traders (GST) of Kisumu, and Migori Small Traders Society (MSTS). The associations that deal with advocacy tended to be larger in size and can be divided into national or umbrella associations (KSTS and KENAHU), and regional organisations (GST and MSTS). Their relations with government officials have been sporadic issue-based negotiations, and no official forum for representation exists.

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