Throughout her life, Rita Atukwasa, the executive director of the Institute for Social Transformation, has spearheaded a number of live changing initiatives, especially for the urban poor.
Recently, her organisation came up with the idea of a health insurance scheme for women working in city markets.
See, many of them work tirelessly for hours to make ends meet yet they lack a mechanism of social protection when they fall sick. Under this scheme, individual members contribute Shs 5000 per week which goes towards their health insurance.
Never to run out of innovations, Atukwasa has come up with another brilliant idea, that of developing an app that will enable women in the market sell their produce to prospective customers using their phones.
“We shall launch it in December. The app is about having women sell more. We have done two studies that clearly indicate that women are losing in the market because there are men who are middle men. So the women are losing contacts with their clients but they are also losing money,” she told The Nile Post.
She said the app will close the gap between men and women particularly those who work in the markets.
Informal studies show that men who work in the markets tend to earn more than the women because they are aggressive.
“I will simply go to the phone, I put in my list…It is like the way Safeboda works. So whoever accepts my list first will serve me. This lady will pick up the list and put the items together,” she said.
Atukwasa said that in this venture, they are going to work with Taxify, SafeBoda and other transportation companies to help deliver the produce from the market to the customer.
She said these firms should be able to give back to the society especially the poor.
“We want to have a partnership with these companies such that they can be able to deliver. They already have a network that they know can be a point of delivery,” she said.
For the start, markets on the central district area will be considered but as the app stabilises, they will extend it to other areas like Gulu, Nakasongola and Mbale.
Customers will effect payment through the people who transport the goods. Once you pay, she said, the Safeboda guy will confirm that you have paid.
She said: “We are going to station different phones in different locations especially to help women handle the handles. We want to reduce the middle men who are taking over the market. We will train the women on the use of the app. We shall focus on vegetables and perishables because it is what women deal in most.”
On November 15, IST organised the 2nd Market Women Entrepreneur’s symposium whose theme was: “Market Women Harnessing Opportunities for Business Growth.”
It was at the symposium at UMA conference hall where the idea of the app was tabled at it received resounding approval from the more than 300 participants.
From these early signs, Atukwasa should feel very encouraged that the app will be a success.