The Democratic Republic of the Congo was affected by the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 in which the city of Bukavu, capital of the province of South Kivu is one of the 13 provincial entities heavily affected by this pandemic.
Indeed, the results of a study conducted by the NGO PIFEVA in June 2020 on the socioeconomic impact of covid-19 on the IGAs of vulnerable women in the city of Bukavu, show that the majority of women working in small (informal) income-generating activities are more prone to covid-19 contamination as they handle products with currencies touched by thousands of customers without having the time and opportunity to wash their hands and not having or the hydro-alcoholic gel, neither gloves, nor masks. In the city of Bukavu, informal activity employs more than 77% of the working population, including 60% of women holders of AGR (Income Generating Activities), particularly in small businesses. It is mainly these categories of people who are affected by the measures restricting the movement of people. The decision taken by the authorities to close the roads to the city of Bukavu to prevent the spread of the disease has had a great negative impact on their activities and has increased the socio-economic vulnerability of these women and girls of Bukavu.
As a result, women carrying out small informal IGAs (Income Generating Activities) in Bukavu are helpless, abandoned to their sad fate and no longer know how to properly exercise their profession due to the less accessible supply chain, the scarcity of products as well as following the fact that the majority of them were forced to use a significant part of their small business capital to support their dependents during the period of confinement in the city of Bukavu.
There are many women and girls who are heads of households who have been victims of wars and violence and who are now confronted with the covid-19 closet in the city of Bukavu in the province of South Kivu. These women and young girls fight day and night by carrying out small IGAs (Income Generating Activities) to feed, educate and provide care for their children and family members. In a country where the unemployment rate is the highest in the world, it is these women who constitute the backbone of the economy of Congolese households who depend on the informal circuit. Although illiterate, the majority of these women and young girls accompanied by PIFEVA in the city of Bukavu, have acquired experience in the exercise of purchasing and selling activities of local consumer products of primary necessities (food and not food) that are adapted to local needs and context. They conduct their transactions in Kiswahili as well as in local and cross-border languages (Mashi, Kihavu, Kilega, and Kinyarwanda) which facilitate cultural and entrepreneurial relations, which also contributes to the process of consolidating peace in this region. region characterized by generalized poverty following governance problems and repeated armed conflicts and wars over the past twenty years in the city of Bukavu in the province of South Kivu in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This is why PIFEVA intends to implement a project to support women working in the informal sector in vulnerable situations to meet their essential and priority needs and those of their families, develop their entrepreneurial capacities, support them for the development of income-generating activities (IGA) making relevant use of digital technology, and training them to enable them to be able to join the formal sector in the long term, while providing them with the necessary information to prevent themselves against covid -19 and other pandemics in the city of Bukavu in South Kivu in the east of DR Congo.