Organisers and women vendors during the felicitation and mentoring. (Morung Photo)
Morung Express News
Kohima | October 21
58 women street vendors were felicitated today by the Entrepreneurs Associate (EA) under its project 'Uplifting Women Street Vendors in Nagaland'- a project focusing on upskilling women vendors in the areas of business, health and financial savings.
The felicitation and mentoring was held at Red Cross Complex with Bano Chishi, Chairperson, Nagaland State Social Welfare Board (NSSWB) as the key speaker.
The 58 vendors were felicitated for achieving and saving a target of Rs. 10,000 within a specific period.
Drawing attention to the plight and challenges of women street vendors, Neikule Doulo, Adviser, EA expressed that saving a small amount is very difficult for women vendors as most times those savings are used during festivities or academic needs of their children. However, Doulo noted that the achievement of the women vendors though very trivial in amount, indicated that the project and cause is bearing fruit.
"Their work is so significant because every single penny they earn trickles back to the village. They are the ones who are ensuring that our rural economy is fueled," remarked Doulo. Working with the vendors has also led the Initiative to discover both possibilities and problems of women vendors. Free accessibility to toilets is an often-faced problem of many women vendors in Kohima and Dimapur, where they have pay an amount of Rs.10 per use, which amounts to over Rs 40 per day.
Doulo also cited the problem of transportation costs for the vendors to markets their goods, and said the initiative will continue to work for the vendors to make them aware of their rights and privileges, especially in the area of market linkage.
Acknowledging the vendors for their services to the community, Bano Chishi asserted that street vending is an essential service which is thriving each day with the growth of consumerism. "Knowledge is empowering. What you know empowers you," said Chishi, while stressing on the theme of economic independence and women empowerment. In order to empower themselves, Chishi encouraged the women vendors to continue learning and asserting their rights. Chishi also suggested the need to form a union/association of women street vendors so that their rights and problems are further amplified.
Viewing that women's voice and opinions matter today with the changing times, Chishi stated that women must assert what is right and what is good.
On economic empowerment, Chishi advised the women to focus on saving more than spending on one's wants. She further noted that the financial stability of a family is dependent on a women's management. "When you improve your life, your family and your children also comes in," remarked Chishi.
The various schemes and projects under NSSWB were highlighted by R Juliana Medom, Asst. State Coordinator, NSSWB.
The documentary 'Racing against the Sun' was also screened during the event. Encapsulating the journey undertaken in the vending service in Nagaland, the documentary captures the struggles of women vendors in Phek who have to race before sunrise to transport their vegetables to Dimapur.
EA's initiative was developed in 2017 to support women vendors in Nagaland for better access to their rights, and educating them on basic skills on business, health and finances. Since its inception, the project has partnered with varied organisations to train and provide awareness on business skills, health & hygiene and legal rights.
EA's project has covered almost 1660 street vendors in the State.