by Fungai Munetsi
During the period between May and 5 July 2020, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) has so far given personal protective equipment (PPEs) and cash transfers to its members from 42 territories countrywide which are as follows: Banket, Beitbridge, Bindura, Binga, Bulawayo, Caledonia, Chitungwiza, Chegutu, Chiredzi/Triangle, Chipinge, Chivhu, Chinhoyi, Chimanimani, Gutu, Guruve, Gwanda, Gweru, Gokwe Center, Gokwe North, Gutu, Hwange, Harare, Kadoma, Karoi, Kariba, Kwekwe, Lupane, Marondera, Macheke, Mashava, Masvingo, Mhondoro, Mutare, Mt Darwin, Inyanga, Norton, Nkayi, Plumtree, Tsholotsho, Victoria Falls, Zhombe and Zvishavane. This is part of its on-going response to curb and fight the effects of COVID-19 on the informal economy workers and traders and their families. This action is a positive effort in complementing the government of Zimbabwe’s fight against COVID-19.
To date, ZCIEA has provided PPEs (masks, gloves, sanitizers) to 5 045 members (2300 women, 913 men, 1 082 youths, 750 People with Disabilities) and cash transfers to 3500 members (1660 women, 521 men, 427 PWD, 892 Youths). The organization also provided infra-red thermometers to some of its structures, partnered with some local authorities to sensitize communities about COVID-19 as well as disinfecting some marketplaces. Some local authorities also benefitted from the PPEs and have welcomed the ZCIEA approach through strengthening working partnerships by signing of Memorandum of Understanding.
Members from all the territories expressed their gratitude to the organization with some saying that the PPEs and cash transfers came at the right time and will go a long way towards curbing the spreading of COVID-19 and its effects.
“On behalf of ZCIEA National Women’s Structure, we want to thank our leadership, Management, and Secretariat of ZCIEA for working tirelessly to raise support to provide members with personal protective equipment and cash transfers, the majority of whom were women. As members, we were honored to receive cushioning funds and personal protective equipment from the organization. This convinces us to become more committed members and we are proud to be members of such an organized and human responsive organization. Territories received masks, sanitizers, gloves which are a requirement to all members who have started working and that alone makes the nation, local authorities and whoever sees us see that we are organized, we think properly and we are not criminals that they think we are,” says Lydia Maphosa ZCIEA National Women’s Structure Secretary (Plumtree Territorial President)
“We salute ZCIEA for standing with us and helping us in time of need,” says Gladys Muswera ZCIEA Member from Chipinge Territory. Mrs. Muswera also said that she always prays and hopes that the Government of Zimbabwe may one day consider the tough life informal economy workers and traders endure daily and do something to ease their pains or decriminalize the informal economy. Phathani Mulalazi Chitungwiza Territorial PWD Chair, whose survival sorely depends on two snooker tables at beerhall, said that she was negatively affected by COVID-19 Lockdown which saw all beerhalls to be closed. She had no other source of income. After receiving a cushioning fund from ZCIEA, she used that fund to buy maize and ventured into Maputi business. She managed to make three times the money she received from ZCIEA.
Rusape Territorial President Talent Dhokotera said members from Rusape Territory were pestering her on the issue of assistance from the organization. She was relieved and grateful after members started receiving a cushioning fund from ZCIEA. She also said that the cushioning fund contributed to the rise in the number of members who wanted to join ZCIEA because the organization assisted its members in times of need.
ZCIEA Bulawayo Youth Chair Charles Munyaradzi Mugadziwa urged all Zimbabweans to stay safe and wear masks properly. He also encouraged members of the public to frequently wash their hands and adhere to the Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation guidelines on preventing COVID-19.
The majority of the informal economy workers and traders lost their source of income and plunged into poverty and starvation due to the effects of COVID-19 lockdown and demolitions of their structures by local authorities as a health measure to curb COVID-19.