A total of 730 women vendors in Kigali are set to benefit from Rwf180 million earmarked toward their start-up projects.
The funds were provided by donors through the National Women Council.
The package meant for women vendors grouped in cooperatives from three districts Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro.
The funds will be given to 44 cooperatives. Each district will receive Rwf60 million to be disbursed through Sacco accounts within the next two weeks.
While announcing the funding, on Wednesday in Kigali, Beatrice Mukasine, the chairperson of the National Women Council, said the beneficiaries were selected with the help of local leaders basing on their level of vulnerability.
The number of street vendors is estimated at over 3000 women in the City of Kigali.
‘‘It is not a donation, these women are already in cooperatives, they will refund the money so that we can help others as well,” Mukasine said.
“We think that this support will be a sustainable response to address the issue of street vending. Together with local leaders we will continue to support the vendors in various ways to ensure they succeed and have a better life.”
Mukasine appealed to the women to duly meet their tax obligations when they start formal businesses.
‘‘The cooperatives will help them to improve their work and earn more incomes to enable them pay taxes,’’ she said.
“We cannot certainly say that tomorrow, all women will leave the streets, it is a process; but we believe within a period of one year, the programme will have bore fruits,” she added.
Under the programme, dubbed ‘kuremera’, selected women are also benefitting from training in cooperative management and entrepreneurship.
Ruth Uwishema, a former street clothes vendor, advised women vendors to leave the street and invest in other small scale ventures.
“Women like vending because it is a lucrative business, but it has many challenges. ,” she said.
ACP Rogers Rutikanga, the central Regional Police Commander said removing vendors from the street would help Police to maintain security, law and order on the streets.
“It is hard to distinguish wrong doers from vendors carrying baskets of fruits in a crowd.
Sometimes criminals can disguise as vendors and cause insecurity; we ask you to ensure security even at your new work stations,” said Rutikanga.
Oda Gasinzigwa, the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, advised the women to work hard to fight poverty. She promised them further support.
“We want you to succeed in fighting poverty and assure you of our full backing...we will offer both financial and moral support.
‘‘It is good that you understand the benefits of working together. Government and partners will continue to support you,” the minister added.
Gasinzigwa urged the women to manage the funds properly.