Posted by: KENASVIT | August 29, 2011

Videos for KENASVIT Procession 16th Aug 11

Videos for KENASVIT Procession 16th Aug 11

The following videos are for the procession of KENASVIT for;
1) The Memorandum of the status of the micro and small enterprise bill and
2)The mystery surrounding Ksh 4.8 billion MSE fund.
The procession was held on 16th Aug 2011 in Nairobi leading to the Prime Minister offices and to the Parliament building.

KENASVIT (Kenya National Alliance of Street Vendors and Informal Traders)

KENASVIT Procession 16thAug11 Part 1

KENASVIT Procession 16thAug11 Part 2

KENASVIT Procession 16thAug11 Part 3

KENASVIT Procession 16thAug11 Part 4

KENASVIT Procession 16thAug11 Part 5

KENASVIT Procession 16thAug11 Part 6

Posted by: KENASVIT | July 22, 2011

KENASVIT hosts the New Manifesto Workshop 18-19 July in Nairobi, Kenya

The New Manifesto Campaign Workshop w was held in Nairobi, Kenya on the 18th-19th July 2011. The event, funded by Street Net International and hosted by StreetNet affiliate, Kenyan National Alliance of Street Vendors and Informal Traders (KENASVIT), was successful in bringing together participants from various African nations to develop campaign plans of action to create a living manifesto that voices the demands and rights of informal traders across the globe. The African nations represented included Ghana, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This event was the third campaign planning workshop organized this year, as earlier there had been a Latin American workshop in March 2011 and an Asian workshop in early July 2011. There are plans for a fourth workshop in West Africa in early 2012.

The workshop was opened with an inspiring and informative address from Richard Muteti, the informal sector representative on the Youth Board in Kenya who has played a large role in designing and pushing for the Medium and Small Enterprises Bill in Kenya, an important piece of legislation that would create a much-needed legal framework for the informal sector. Pat Horn, Street Net’s International Coordinator, then outlined the purpose and phases of the New Manifesto Campaign. She emphasized that the campaign is a bottom-up collection of demands and rights from informal traders to ultimately create a national manifesto that will be incorporated into an international one. Participants went on to discuss elements of a successful campaign, while sharing and comparing campaign experiences across issues and countries. Afterwards, the workshop split into two groups to brainstorm and synthesize demands for street and market vendors, an exercise that will certainly be useful to replicate during the large-scale collection of inputs from informal traders. By the end of the day, the group had classified their demands into overarching themes, and created a national campaign plan of action for each country represented.

On the second day, participants presented their national campaign plans of action. The following sessions discussed tools for the plans. Anne Matondo from the Democratic Republic of Congo outlined tools for action, and then there was a briefing on social media tools for the campaign. The plans of action were discussed in light of the issues brought up during the course of the workshop, including the media, the consideration of group-specific demands (women, youth, persons with disabilities and living with HIV and AIDS), and the process of creating the manifesto itself. The workshop was closed with a passionate address from Professor Winnie Mitullah, whose research and efforts contributed significantly to the founding and success of KENASVIT. After reflecting on experiences and knowledge gained, Pat Horn and Simon Nasieku gave some closing words. In the afternoon, participants went to Muthurwa market to meet with vendors at their workplaces. Overall the workshop was a huge success and KENASVIT expressed its gratitude to have the opportunity to host such an event.

Posted by: KENASVIT | July 22, 2011

MPs asked to fast-tracked micro enterprises Bill

According to The Standard (published on Thursday, July 21, 2011) members of Parliament have been urged to support the Macro and Small Enterprises Development Bill once it is tabled in the House. Small and Medium Enterprises Support East Africa Director Richard Muteti said the sector had grown to 8.6 million business recently, therefore , necessary measures should be taken to protect it.

“The SMEs sector , which employs 85% of the population, caters for a a large portion of the national budget and should be protected,” Muteti said.

The sector that caters for 25% of national budget it the largest employer in the country with a work face of about seven million people, Muteti asked MPs to hasten the process once the Bill is table in Parliament to enable the Government benefit form the industry.

“We call on legislators not to wrangle over the Bill but pass it to the spur development in the sector,” he added. The Bill is still with the legal office of Parliament abd will be tabled as a private members Bill through Tetu Mp Francis Nyammo.

Investors in the sector raised concerns that they may not realize benefits of the Bill that promised to create a department in the labor ministry that would directly market their goods in the local and international markets if MPs stall in process.

The Bill also seeks to create a new fund that will provide credit tot the sector .
It targets business with annual turnover of less that KSh500.000 or companies that employ less than ten people.

Posted by: KENASVIT | July 4, 2011

KENASVIT is looking for a new fall intern!

The intern will work with the National Coordinator at KENASVIT’s national office, located in Nakuru Town, Kenya. KENASVIT is a young organization and many of its current activities are related to capacity building of the organization: improvement of social dialogue, program design and implementation, coordination and strategic planning of local and national activities. The intern will be assigned various tasks related to these overall development efforts of the organization, as well as tasks in several key areas:

• Program implementation and follow-up: KENASVIT is in the process of designing a paralegal certification program. This will involve training KENASVIT’s urban alliance management in paralegal issues in order to empower them to give legal advice to general members on issues of harassment, bribery, arbitrary arrest and other rights violations. The intern will be responsible for implementing this project and ensuring its sustainability. The intern may also be tasked with monitoring and evaluating KENASVIT’s other activities at the national and local levels.

• Communication and grant writing: KENASVIT operates on donor funding, and therefore communication and liaising with current donors, as well as potential donors is key. The intern may be responsible for carrying out assessments, compiling financial reports and other related tasks. Intra- and inter-organization networking and communication is also important.

• Representation: The intern will represent KENASVIT in designated forums, conferences and meetings in Nakuru and elsewhere in Kenya. He or she will also conduct field visits to the urban affiliates, so as to become familiar with their work and to monitor the progress of local activities.

• Research: The intern may have the opportunity to pursue research related to KENASVIT’s members, in order to expand the organization’s data and knowledge base.

Through an internship at KENASVIT, the intern will have the opportunity to develop and make use of administrative, organizational and analytical skills, and subsequently gain a practical insight and experience in the field of civil society development in Kenya.


• Candidates must hold a BA as a minimum requirement, in a relevant academic field: political/social science, international development studies, anthropology, development economics/business studies or other relevant fields of study.
• Good communication skills and strong analytical skills.
• Possess the ability to work independently and apply creative and innovative thinking to practical solutions.
• A profound interest in development issues, especially grass roots organisation and the informal economy.
• Grant-writing skills are strongly recommended. Experience with NGO operation and management is an advantage.
• Fluency in written and spoken English. Knowledge of Kiswahili is an advantage but not a requirement.

Ideally, the internship will run from September 2011 to December 2011, although KENASVIT can accommodate differences in dates or duration. When applying, please state your desired start date and duration. Due to KENASVIT’s status as a young, donor-funded organization, regrettably, we are not able to offer any economic support during the internship. Interns should also be aware that work-related travel and accommodation in Kenya cannot be reimbursed.

Applications and relevant questions regarding the internship should be submitted to Maja Cerar ( Applications consisting of a CV and cover letter must be received by July 25, 2011. We look forward to receiving your application.

Posted by: KENASVIT | June 9, 2011

KENASVIT Conference in Nairobi: 18th-19th July

KENASVIT will be hosting a conference in Nairobi on 18th-19th July 2011 under the sponsorship of StreetNet International. The conference will focus on capacity building for informal trade organizations, with a particular emphasis on negotiations and relations with local authorities. In addition to StreetNet’s International Coordinator Pat Horn, delegates from other African nations representing umbrella organizations for informal traders will be in attendance, which will enable us to share knowledge and information. Among the African states represented will be Togo, Congo, Tanzania, Senegal and Ghana. This is the most significant meeting in Kenya pertaining to the informal sector, and denotes an important step in facilitating regional integration to address the issues that surround this sector. The conference will conclude with a number of action items and resolutions that each organization can implement upon return.


National and international media are invited to attend and cover the event. For more information, please contact:

For the past few weeks, KENASVIT has facilitated and overseen expansion to Nyeri. This is the first affiliate in the Central Province, and elections for the board members took place just this Monday (6 June). The steps to establish the alliance included a fact-finding mission, constitution writing, membership education day, election of office bearers and negotiators, and outreach to local authorities. There are nearly 1,000 members in the alliance, and the formation of this alliance will help to organize them so they may voice their concerns collectively and more effectively. It will also facilitate their integration and communication with other regional affiliates through KENASVIT’s umbrella structure. We at KENASVIT are very excited for this new membership!

Posted by: KENASVIT | June 9, 2011

Nakuru Establishes New Local Urban Committee

Nakuru Urban ForumYesterday (8 June) was the second annual Nakuru Urban Forum: Positioning Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the Urban Agenda. It was a very fruitful discussion to share information and experiences within the key sectors that CSOs focus on here in Nakuru, including health, security, education, and environment. The forum was run by ECOTACT under the Civil Society Urban Development Program (CSUDP) in partnership with SIDA. In addition to capacity building and information sharing, ECOTACT presented the results of its mapping exercise under CSUDP, which is a database that documents, classifies and locates CSOs in Nakuru to facilitate inter-organization communication. The forum resulted in the establishment of a new Local Urban Committee, which will act as civil society’s platform to engage with relevant authorities on issues relating to urban development and planning in Nakuru. Simon Sangale Nasieku, KENASVIT’s National Coordinator, was named the Chairman of the Forum.

Posted by: KENASVIT | May 4, 2011

Equity Bank Makes Additional Sh 30b Available to MSEs

On April  28th, 2011, Equity Bank announced the launch of their Financial Literacy Programme, which aims to provide financial education to 620,000 youth and women over the next three years. As part of the programme, Equity has pledged to lend out Sh 30 billion in loans to graduates of the training. These loans will be in line  with those offered by Equity through the government’s MSE Fund, and will also be offered at low interest rates. Additionally, Equity Bank will be expanding their coverage across Kenya by licensing establishments to act as Equity agents. These measures have been introduced to promote financial inclusion of unbanked Kenyans, many of whom work in the informal sector.

For more information, please read the two following articles: Equity Propels Small Traders with Sh 30 b and Battle for Unbanked Hots Up as Equity Unveils Agency Business. If you are interested in learning how to enroll in the Financial Literacy Programme, and whether or not you are eligible to receive a business loan, please visit your local Equity Bank branch.

KENASVIT has recently been featured in the Kenyan media (here and here) for our role in bringing to light disconcerting activities related to the Sh 3.8 billion MSE Fund. The MSE Fund was announced during the release of 2010/2011 Budget in June 2010. The Fund was created to promote financial inclusion of Kenya’s 8.3 million informal sector workers through the disbursal of loans to Micro and Small Enterprises, including street vendors, kiosk owners, hawkers, mama mbogas, jua kali artisans, informal transport workers. The 2010/2011 Budget allocated Sh 3 billion in government funds to be channeled through banks (which would match each sh with 5sh of their own) for loans, thus expanding the Fund to 15 billion. An additional Sh 800 million was budgeted for capacity building of MSEs. Eleven months since the Treasury announced the Fund, not a single informal worker has received a loan from the MSE Fund.

In March 2011, the Ministry of Finance announced the release of Sh 750 million to three commercial banks: Equity, Coop and K-Rep – each of which was allocated Sh 250 million. As part of the agreement between government and the banks, each bank will contribute 5 shillings for each government shilling, raising the current kitty amount to Sh 3.75 billion. As of start of May, none of these three banks has received their Sh 250 million allocation, and accordingly, traders have not been able to access loans. By all appearances, the Sh 750 million still remains in Treasury. Furthermore, it is unclear where the remaining Sh 3.05 billion is, and when/if it will be disbursed by the government. In meetings with bank officials, KENASVIT has learned that the banks are now starting to impose their own rules and regulations contradicting what Minister of Finance, Uhuru Kenyatta, promised in last year’s budget speech, as well as signed government contracts.

KENASVIT fears that if delays in the disbursal of the MSE Fund continue until the end of this Fiscal Year (June 30, 2011), the remainder of the MSE Fund will be “returned” to Treasury and will be vulnerable to misappropriation. If this occurs, it will ultimately mean a huge loss for Kenya’s 8.3 million informal traders, for whom the Fund was meant to alleviate poverty and under- and unemployment. Based on these and other concerns related to the management and disbursal of the MSE Fund, KENASVIT wrote to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) and their director, Prof. P.L.O. Lumumba, expressing our fears. Prof. Lumumba and KACC have stated that they will meet with KENASVIT to learn more.  The Daily Nation picked up our story on April 27th, in an article entitled Detective Pledge Action On Funds Delay.

Groups Feud Over Street Vendors Cash, (another article published in Daily Nation, on April 28th) refers to an umbrella organisation, the Kenya Association for the Financial Inclusion of the Informal Sector (NAFIIS). In the article NAFIIS misinterprets (or misrepresents) KENASVIT’s claims, saying that “complaints raised by Kenasvit were meant to cause confusion in the disbursement of the money;” on the contrary, KENASVIT is very eager to see the Funds disbursed in a transparent and speedy manner. NAFIIS also misquotes KENASVIT by alleging that we believe that the banks are causing the delay; KENASVIT is fully aware that although Treasury announced the release of the funds to banks in March, they have yet to receive their allocations.

Furthermore, there are some concerns regarding the legitimacy of NAFIIS itself, given that its registration was completed in one day, and that it is headed by Mr. PMG Kamau, who is also the National Coordinator of the MSE Fund at Treasury. These facts provide support to the claims made in parliament by two MPs (Ndiritu Muriithi, Assistant Minister Industrialisation and David Ngugi, Kinangop MP) on April 20th. Muriithi and Kinangop allege the existence of a cartel working in Treasury related to the MSE Fund.

Many of the challenges facing the administration of the MSE Fund could be addressed through the enactment of the long-awaited MSE Bill 2011. The Bill makes provisions for the establishment of an MSE Council, which among other responsibilities, would oversee the accountable and transparent management of the MSE Fund. In the absence of the MSE Bill, there is no institutional framework to ensure smooth, transparent disbursal of the Fund, making it possible for the Sh 3.8 billion to eventually be misappropriated. The Council would also provide an avenue for affected stakeholders to raise concerns.  KENASVIT has actively been working to pressure the government into fast-tracking the Bill, and continues to do so.

Posted by: KENASVIT | April 27, 2011

How the Global Economic Crisis Affected Informal Workers

It is well known that the global economic crisis of 2008 had severe and resounding effects on workers worldwide. In an effort to better understand the impact of the crisis on informal workers, The Inclusive Cities Project has conducted intensive research in 10 developing cities across the world which focuses on three types of informal economy workers: home-based workers, street vendors, and waste pickers.

The research was conducted in two rounds, one in 2009 and one in 2010. KENASVIT’s members in Nakuru’s Urban Alliance NASTHA took part in the research process during both rounds. A third round of research is being conceptualized, and will likely be undertaken towards the close of 2011. The research has so far resulted in the publication of two widely-cited reports:

  • No Cushion to Fall Back On: The Global Economic Crisis and Informal Workers
  • Coping with Crisis:  Lingering Recession, Rising Inflation and the Informal Workforce

Below, please find the executive summary and highlights from Round 2 of research:

In 2009, researchers in 14 urban locales in 10 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America conducted individual and focus group interviews to investigate the impact of the economic crisis on workers in three segments of the informal economy: home-based work, street trade and waste collection. The research found there were significant negative effects, including declining demand, increased competition within the groups studied, as well as limited access to emergency or recovery measures for participants. The study concluded that the informal economy should not be viewed simply as a “cushion” for retrenched formal workers during crises, but that impacts of global economic trends and events since the beginning of the crisis on the informal workers and enterprises also need to be understood and addressed.

In 2010, researchers conducted a second round of research in 13 locales in nine countries with mainly (though not exclusively) the same sample, in order to assess whether there were signs of recovery for participating workers.

In spite of some positive developments, the Round 2 research suggests a lag in recovery for the informal workers in this study. Persistent unemployment and underemployment in the formal economy continues to drive new entrants into informal employment. Some respondents report stronger demand for their goods and services, but many continue to face low levels of sales or orders. Incomes have risen for some workers in absolute terms to mid-2009 levels, but not to pre-crisis levels and not at the rate of rising living costs. Persistently high inflation – affecting food and fuel prices in particular – have intensified pressure on family budgets. Respondents continue to restrict their families’ diets. School withdrawals, not common in the first round of study, appear to be on the rise.

Waste pickers: In Round 1, waste pickers had experienced the sharpest decline in demand and selling prices. Since then, at the industry level, prices for recovered materials appear to have largely recovered, but most waste pickers in early 2010 reported lower prices and lower volumes of accessible waste than the year before.

Home-based workers: In Round 1, sub-contracted and self-employed workers producing for global value chains previously reported a sharp decline in work orders and sales. In early 2010, sub-contracted workers reported some recovery in the volume of work orders due to stronger demand. This was not accompanied by any rises in piece rates, despite rising inflation in many study locations and evidence of higher rates for formal workers in nearby factories. Self employed workers producing mostly for domestic value chains experienced some recovery in demand, but less so than those producing for global markets.

Street vendors: In Round 1, street vendors reported a significant drop in consumer demand. In early 2010, demand had still not recovered for most vendors yet many had recently raised their prices due to higher costs of goods. Also, competition had increased from new entrants and from large retailers, who have aggressively targeted customers during the crisis.

Interviewees were asked to identify and prioritize interventions that would support their livelihoods. Short term emergency measures were not priorities; rather, respondents opted for support for their ongoing livelihood activities. This included access to financial services, skills training and market analysis and access. Wage protection, workplace improvements and a range of social protection measures were also identified as priority interventions.

Specifically, street vendors reported needing a secure place to vend in a good location, as well as access to low interest loans. Home-based workers indicated they required lower utility rates and greater inclusion in social insurance schemes. Waste pickers said they needed greater access to recyclable waste and incorporation in solid waste management schemes.

The global economic crisis brought new challenges to participants, but also exacerbated existing problems. Many participants were already living in a state of “crisis,” struggling daily to feed their families. Pre-crisis thinking, therefore, must not be applied in the present or in a post-crisis future, because the status quo for most informal workers will perpetuate poverty and inequality.

This report argues for a new stance on informality that places informal workers at the centre of employment schemes and social protection measures, and includes them in economic policies and urban planning. Without an inclusive approach to economic and social policy that integrates informal workers, poverty, vulnerability, and inequality will persist.

You can download and read the full report from Round 2 of research (2010), “Coping with Crisis:  Lingering Recession, Rising Inflation and the Informal Workforce” here. You can also download the Round 1 report “No Cushion to Fall Back On: The Global Economic Crisis and Informal Workers” here.

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