(ERGO) – Fadumo Haji Ma’allin, a widowed mother of 14, has been doing a roaring trade in fruit and vegetables since being given a professional-looking stall from which to sell her goods in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
“The stall pulls in more customers and I have since become known for my fruit, vegetables and meat products,” Fadumo told Radio Ergo. “I am able to sell out everything within a few hours, whereas before it used to take me a long time to sell just a fraction.”
The new stalls have been given to 50 women traders to improve their businesses by SomFresh, a company specializing in Somali produce.
The women used to sell their produce on the ground, surrounded by the dust and dirt of the city streets. Business would come to a halt when it rained or if there were traffic jams in the streets.
Hani Abdullahi, a mother of four, has spent around two years selling bananas, mangoes, salad, and other produce that she buys from wholesalers at Mogadishu’s Bakara market.
The new stall has quite literally lifted her up and given her an attractive way of drawing in the customers.
“My business has definitely improved. I’m now making $8 a day and that’s double the $4 I used to make before,” said Hani.
SomFresh, which is supported by the USAID-funded GEEL project, engages some of the women in market distribution. They gave the stalls to 50 women selected based on their need and potential for success.
SomFresh founder, Hirsiyo Abdulle Siyad, told Radio Ergo that she came up with the idea of helping the women with stalls so that they can trade in dignity. They used to
conduct their businesses in unhygienic conditions and would sometimes even have their produce snatched by stray animals on the street.
“The stalls have improved the appearance of the whole area and that has encouraged many people. We are getting more demand for the stalls, especially from market women who say they also need their businesses to be raised up off the ground,” Hirsiyo Abdulle said.