Strengthening resilience of market vendors through Continuing Market Business EducationAug 25, 2015
The Nadi market was under water when twin floods devastated the Western part of Fiji in early 2012, followed by the Cyclone Evan hit the same area in December. Most market vendors operating in Nadi market had to deal with the damage caused by the flooding both at home and at the market.
Gagama Devi Nadan was one of the many people who experienced the loss of property and income caused by the flooding. When flood water approached, she and her children had to climb and sit on their rooftop before taking refuge in a nearby evacuation centre. After the flood, she could not resume her market business quickly because the road to the market was blocked and damaged.
Ms. Nadan, together with other market vendors, participated in clearing and cleaning the market as part of a UNDP early recovery project. Put in charge of a group, for 10 days, men, women and youth participated in the cash-for-work programme, removing debris around the market area. Using the cash earned from the programme, Ms. Nadan was able to buy vegetables to restore her market business and food for her family, particularly the milk for her baby boy.
Market vendors have limited opportunities and resources as well as timely information and access to financial services, which would allow them to further develop their market business. In addition the livelihood of market vendors is unprotected that their income and livelihood suffer heavy losses in any natural disaster. The Continuing Market Business Education (CMBE) delivers appropriate training, space and conversations to improve and strengthen the financial literacy and business practice of market vendors especially women market vendors who make up the majority, from 75-95% of these vendors in the region.
“Since then, I took a microfinance scheme provided by an NGO and was able to renovate my house, adding a second floor, so I can save my family and some stuff in case of future flooding. I had to keep up my market business to pay back the loan and its high interest,” said Ms Nadan.
Starting her market business in the 1990s in Tavua and shifted to Nadi in 2008, Ms Nadan has much experience and responsibility as Treasurer of the Nadi Market Vendors’ Association. “I attended many trainings and I still learn something new and useful for my business every time, like today”, she added. Ms Nadan was part of 33 participants in the CMBE training, which focussed on produce presentation and customer relations taken place in Nadi Civic Centre.
“The prices of vegetables are going up and down, different every day. We have to manage that.” As mother of three children with six ground children, Ms. Nadan is determined to take her business further.
The CMBE is delivered as part of the Markets for Change project , a six-year, multi-country initiative that aims to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. A UN Women project, Markets for Change is implemented in partnership with UNDP and supported by the Australian Government.