Transform lives and livelihoods

Help farmers and small businesses fight the impact of COVID-19 in the developing world

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Like never before, we are seeing how interconnected all of us are–no matter who we are or where we’re from. As small-scale businesspeople and farmers around the world struggle to survive the COVID-19 crisis, TechnoServe is there for them, as we have been for over 50 years. With your help, these incredible people can continue their fight to overcome the toughest obstacles, care for their families, and fulfill their true potential.



Carol Moses at work"Currently, our country is hit by the COVID-19 virus, which has brought about so many challenges to us duka owners. Some of the challenges are:

  • Low customers: This is because some people have traveled upcountry for fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Some customers in Witeithie have been laid off and don’t have money to purchase products.
  • Lack of products: Most suppliers have slowed down operations, especially in observation of the curfew. I didn't have sufficient products such as eggs, salad oil, rice and even packet milk.
  • Closing the shop early has also brought about a decrease in sales and loss of the perishable products. At times, I am forced to make fermented milk from the remaining fresh milk at the end. I don’t have a fridge or a freezer yet.
  • Washing my hands every time, I handle cash or products from the suppliers; it's quite hectic. There’s additional costs on sanitizers.

TechnoServe has been of great help to me. My trainer has connected all the shop owners in my region with different suppliers and manufacturers, hence making it easier for us to get the products we weren't getting from our usual suppliers. Through TechnoServe, we have also created a WhatsApp group where our trainer is sharing training materials.

TechnoServe has also established retailers' WhatsApp groups where a lot of communication and support is happening. As a shop owner, we’re updating each other on what is happening in every region and strategize on how handle customers. We are also discussing and sharing with each other insights on COVID-19 pandemic updates as communicated by the government. We are also reminding ourselves on precautionary and health-related measures to undertake to avoid contacting or spreading the virus as we serve and interact with customers and suppliers."

Philip Nderitu at work"The COVID-19 pandemic has been a blow to our shop. Sales have reduced significantly. Prices of items have skyrocketed, hence reducing customers' purchasing power. For instance, I was buying rice at KES 2050, now it has reached KES 2200. Some items like sugar have also gone out of stock. The curfew has also affected my business since I am serving fewer customers than expected.

On the bright side, we have a WhatsApp group where I get daily updates on prices, issues in the market, and safety in these coronavirus pandemic times. With these updates I am able to buy from the most pocket-friendly supplier. I have also managed to get customer referrals from other shopkeepers whom we trained with and are in the WhatsApp group. I am thankful to TechnoServe for creating the group; we are able to network and share ideas on how to cope during this difficult coronavirus period."

florence at work"With the current coronavirus situation, comes challenges. My shop is strategically located near a university where most of my customers are students. With the actions taken by the government on closure of all learning institutions, my customers have
reduced and I have stopped selling vegetables, fruits and bread hence the sales have gone down at the moment. Some customers have purchased items in bulk from supermarkets and wholesellers with the fear of a lockdown.

As shop owners, we feel all is not lost as we continue to stay updated through the platforms created by TechnoServe. I get a lot of encouragement from other duka owners facing the same challenge and learn about the successes of other groups especially on merry-go-rounds and table banking. I also get information concerning prices adjustment by suppliers from that WhatsApp platform."

"We're trying to get by but it’s impossible. We had to totally shut down the business. For our employees, for our health and for our customers. We didn't fire anybody, we shouldn't fire them either, and they were very understanding with us, because we came from a social crisis that totally lowered sales, and now we were taken over by the pandemic, and we didn't have means to pay their salary.

But we're all fine, trying to get through this and reopen the business again. We have paid most of the suppliers, but our salary, me and Gloria (the owners) we are left without our salary. We were going to reopen in March, Quasimodo (a religious holiday) was coming, we had the contract for the Caja de Compensación Los Andes with the breakfasts, we had various events, Mother's Day was coming, Easter, and well, this happened.

I hope that the Blessed Virgin and the Lord will accompany us and that we will be able to reactivate our business and that they will help us completely. The hired women can receive their unemployment insurance, they have their health insurance, so they can receive some insurance, some handouts, but my sister and I are not. And my daddy is here, he had an operation on his gallbladder and it was complicated by anemia and other diseases, so we are having a hard time. But I have the faith, the energy, and the perseverance that we're going to have to get through this and start all over again."

-- Eloisa


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