Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Pacific women traders building capacity

30 October 2017

Women across the Pacific are increasing their skills and knowledge about operating local markets thanks to the UN Women Markets for Change (M4C) project delivered by CLGF, funded largely by the Australian Government.

 

Extending across Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the project set out to help women in a number of ways, including:

 

  • increasing the ability of female vendors to be heard and participate by looking at market place governance structures, as well as accessibility and inclusiveness;
  • helping local government to make decision-making processes more transparent, accountable and responsive to vendors’ needs;
  • assessing and responding to the financial and business needs of vendors and rural producers; and
  • working with local government and venders to ensure market place infrastructure and onsite services are gender responsive.

 

In Vanuatu, the training was based on a 2015 training needs assessment, with a focus on management and leadership for market and council staff, elected members and the executives of the Market Vendors Association.

 

Some of the topics covered were leadership, management – including stress and conflict management, negotiation skills; and the training sessions encompassed a variety of methods: from role play and group activities, to formal presentations and discussions.

 

To help female market traders become more successful, the training targeted their skill gaps and also those of the local councils and the associations running the markets. The aim was to make sure markets become more responsive to the views and needs of female market trainers.

 

The training also allowed participants to talk about the most serious issues affecting market trading, for example, in Fiji absence of a market constitution, lack of facilities, thefts, transportation costs, stray dogs, limited knowledge of market bi-laws.

 

Evaluation of the training in all three countries was very positive, apart from a request for longer training sessions and a list of further subjects to cover such as financial literacy and budgeting, role of councillors and computer training.

 

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