Cross Boarder Trade for Peace
In line with SDC’s strategy to increase the elements of its portfolio fostering cross-border cooperation in the Great Lakes, this project seeks to address the lack of social cohesion and trust amongst border communities in the Great Lakes region especially between Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Burundi. Cross Border Trade for Peace is a contribution by SDC to the Mupaka Shamba Letu (The border, our livelihood) project co-financed with SIDA and implemented by International Alert. A particular focus is given to empowering women active in cross-border trade.
The Great Lakes Region
Employment & economic development
Business support & economic inclusion
Women in DRC, Rwanda and Burundi face a number of difficulties that prevent them from accessing to formal employment opportunities. Formal employment (both in the public and private sector) – in all three countries is heavily male dominated, and therefore economic sectors with a low entry threshold have become an important source of livelihood for women. The cross border trade is such an industry, which, overwhelmingly run by women, allows them to participate in a market economy, despite being subject to high levels of official and unofficial taxation and affected by volatile political allegiances between countries. In the conflict affected borderland, enhancing cross border trade remains one of the few opportunities to alleviate poverty and food insecurity that communities are facing. The project aims to strengthen cross border trade as an economic opportunity as well as use it as a vector to empower women and further mutual understanding among border communities.
 On average women account for 14.5%6 of the workforce in public offices associated with the private sector (such as the Office des Routes and DGDA) « État des lieux de la Parité dans la province du Sud Kivu en République Démocratique du Congo », Observatoire de la Parité and International Alert, February 2015, pg 33
|Objectives||The project aims to facilitate and strengthen cross border trade as a means to enhance mutual understanding and interdependence among communities living in a contiguous cultural and economic space divided by borders originating from the era of colonialism. In specially addressing women involved in cross border trade the project aims at reversing their exclusion from decision-making on issues directly influencing their livelihood and will thus contribute to employment and income for these women as well as enhancing regional peace and security through mutually shared economic interests and common experiences.|
|Target groups||The project will work with 800 female small scale cross border traders, 400 of their spouses, 14 cooperatives, 32 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) and over 960 border officials and authorities from the three countries. Small and medium enterprises (SME) will be included as a new target group.|
The Mupaka Shamba Letu project seeks to achieve the following four key objectives:
1) Gender dynamics between women small-scale cross-border traders in targeted border areas and their spouses are more inclusive and allow women to have increased influence and take decisions in the home by the end of the project,
2) Women small-scale cross-border traders in targeted border areas have increased economic resources and have the skills to use these resources to advocate for greater social cohesion and regional cooperation by the end of the project,
3) Business actors, including women small-scale cross border traders and SMEs, in target border areas engage more through increased networking and cooperation, and then work together to use their influence in pushing for greater social cohesion, regional cooperation and peace across the region by the end of the project,
4) Women small-scale cross-border traders, and border and customs officials in targeted border areas understand and have access to cross-border trade legislation and processes; women cross border traders use these resources to advocate more inclusive provincial, national and regional trade policy by the end of the project.
SDC’s contribution will enhance all four key results through specific actions thus leveraging impact and ensuring sustainability.
With SDC’s contribution the following outputs are planned:
1) Positive masculinities training and awareness campaigns conducted;
2) financial education training packages for women cross border traders developed;
3) conflict sensitive investment guide developed;
4) multi-stakeholder problem solving platforms established;
5) research on the impact of the conflict between Rwanda and Burundi on regional trade and social cohesion between cross border communities of Rwanda, Burundi and DRC conducted;
manual for border officials developed and dialogue platforms between women traders and border authorities set up.
Results from previous phases:
Previously the Tushiriki Wote project financed by SIDA and implemented by International Alert aimed at organizing women involved in small scale cross-border trade into groups and structures to advocate for themselves. It achieved these results:
1) Increased economic revenue by approximately 40% for 3600 targeted women small scale cross border traders,
2) Strengthened business skills of women small scale cross border traders,
3) Increased confidence of women small scale cross border traders in themselves and in dealing with authorities, family members and the community; greater credibility in the eyes of their families and communities,
4) Increased engagement with other women small scale traders from across the border
Better relationships between women small scale cross border traders and border authorities
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
International or foreign NGO
|Coordination with other projects and actors||A network of both local and international partners were identified for partnership in this project to have a wider reach and greater impact (see annex 2). Synergies will be established with SDC funded projects in Rwanda, South Kivu and Burundi to leverage more impact.|
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 1’000’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 570’000|