Hawkers Project


Among the core thematic areas of AMKA Space for Women’s Creativity’s work are: Economic Empowerment, Gender and Governance, Conflict Resolution and Peace Building, Health and Creative Expression. This project is an initiative whose main aim focuses on the collection and documentation of real life stories of other women making inroads in public spaces despite their vulnerable circumstances in forced displacement, in the market places and in the streets e.t.c.
This is a collection of reports from 60 interviews conducted by young women journalists on the lives of women hawkers in Nairobi and its environs. The collection helps other Kenyans to appreciate the real lives of these women hawkers. It goes further than that and helps in the process of shaping or changing perceptions about the lives of hawkers, and especially women hawkers in the greater Nairobi metropolitan area. While there are different perceptions held of the hawkers and their trade, this collection shows that they are essentially honest citizens trying to eke a living in bad economic times.
These real-life stories of women hawkers represent two groups of Kenyan women, sometimes two or so generations apart in age and experience, sometimes of the same ages, visited by life’s draw on their different fortunes. It is a collection of different Kenyan women holding and soldiering on: one group to have a good life, the other to awaken the world to the beauty of their creativity. Nairobi Metropolitan has identified the informal sector as one characterized by daunting challenges from both a national and at county level. The efforts to promote employment, alleviate poverty and enforce the law remain somewhat unachievable. Meanwhile these unresolved issues have led to or exacerbated vulnerability of segments of the population that participate in and rely on the informal economy for their livelihood, many women find themselves in this category.
While they are expected to be dutiful wives and mothers, they still devote energy at home and in these workplaces. As the duty bearers continue to grapple with the challenges of informality, most women operating in this sector as hawkers and traders have developed strong resilience to enable them to earn a living, feed and in many cases educate their children. A lot of work remains to be done to improve the lot of women in Kenya. Even with the rising numbers of women in Parliament, County Assemblies, and other decision-making organs the impact is far from satisfactory.
While we continue amplifying the leadership role played by women, we must also recognize those women who despite their perceived lowly status are making inroads to the entrepreneurship space in the marketplace, highways and on the streets. In this book AMKA Space for Women’s Creativity wishes to contribute to the recognition of these valiant women who represent just a fraction of the women populace who have opted for self-reliance and most of all an insurmountable spirit of resilience.
AMKA is looking forward to the launch of this book in September and we hope you will all grab a copy of the book.