The launch of the app follows sensitisation of selected market leaders through payment gate system and other basics of how it works
A mobile phone application which exclusively links female market vendors to potential customers has been launched.
The app dubbed Market Garden developed by a Kampala-based information technology firm, Soft Edge can be downloaded onto a smart phone through Android’s Google Play store.
The app which is also web-based is a project of Institute for Social Transformation (ITS) with support from UN Women, targets individuals, hotels and institutions buying groceries at their convenience and increase sales for women vendors in Kampala markets.
It will to enable female vendors in Nakawa, Kalerwe and Ntinda Markets embrace e-commerce.
The innovation enables a buyer who pays cash or through mobile money to order for groceries. After placing an order specifying the quantities and location of delivery, a transport system (Uber, Taxify or SafeBoda) delivers the foodstuffs.
ITS executive director, Ritah Atukwasa, said the launch of the app follows sensitisation of selected market leaders through payment gate system and other basics of how it works.
“We have developed a simple to use app. We want to transform and empower a female market vendor by helping her access more clients, increase her sales and make more profits,” Atukwasa said.
She said the training of women leaders also involved study trips to Rwanda for benchmarking where a similar app is used.
“They were able to see for themselves and learn how beneficial the app is. We have talked at length about integrity, hygiene, customer care and we are good to go,” she added.
Atukwasa said the app will have up-to-date commodity prices to guide customers.
How the App works
Speaking at the launch of the app at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, Soft Edge IT manager Peter Ndikuwera, said when one logs into the app, it shows the three markets and one chooses a particular market to shop from.
The buyer clicks on the ‘shop’ button which shows all the types groceries and other items. One then picks the items and indicates the quantities required.
After placing an order, the buyer clicks the ‘location’ button and chooses a mode of transport for delivery.
When an order is placed for a particular market, all networked vendors will see it but the first woman to click ‘Accept’ is the seller of the groceries and gets paid.
IST initiated a market women’s programme in Uganda to address the plight of the invisible market women whose voice and power has been ignored and suffocated.
To date, over 800 market women aged 15-40 have been reached, trained and organised and linked up with other market stakeholders like city and municipal councils.
Beneficiaries speak out
Gorret Nalubega, a Nakawa Market vendor was optimistic about the innovation. “We are grateful about this new development. I expect to make more sales and profits,” Nalubega said.
She expressed gratitude to the Institute for Social Transformation sensitising them on the need to go digital in order to increase sales and putting emphasis on hygiene.
Gorret Nanyonjo, a Kalerwe Market vendor said: “I am so excited about the app. It will ease, quicken work and bring in more customers and create jobs for those around us in terms of delivering groceries to our customers.”