NGOCC has urged government to consider implementing a labour intensive Urban Renewal Program that will give alternative livelihoods to street vendors.

In a statement, Thursday, NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale said establishing such a program would change the lives of street vendors.

“NGOCC supports the idea of government considering implementing a labour intensive Urban Renewal Program that will harness a conducive environment and create opportunities for small and micro enterprises to thrive. The Urban Renewal Program could involve general cleaning, paving of the city and environmental mitigation measures like tree planting. The Paid-For-Job in the renewal program will therefore absorb the many street vendors and give them alternative livelihoods,” Mwale stated.

“Further, NGOCC is appealing to government to consider investing in nurturing a strong micro enterprise base for the many unemployed citizens in the medium term. In the long term, NGOCC recommends a further win-win solution in form of focusing on employment creation for women and youth by targeting growth of the productive sector. In all the above, it is NGOCC’s considered view that with adequate political will, coupled with inclusive and participatory consultative processes, Zambia will abate some of the livelihood challenges for its people towards socio-economic development.”

Mwale noted that majority of the street vendors were women.

“There is no doubt that the current Cholera crisis is taking a toll on majority people’s livelihoods especially those that depend on informal trading activities around the central business centers. It is also a given fact that the majority of the vendors are women who depend on trading to meet their families’ socio-economic needs. Hence, we call upon government to urgently consider and provide alternative and conducive places for trading activities and other programs aimed at advancing the public good,” she stated.

“While NGOCC does not support the idea of unregulated street vending, there is need for a sustainable solution that will not adversely affect the many Zambians, especially the women, who are trying very hard to earn a living, sometimes under harsh prevailing economic situations. We are sad to note that a number of women’s livelihoods have been affected by the various measures that government has put in place in an effort to clean up surroundings within the centers. NGOCC has noted the efforts by the government to address the issue of street vending in some towns, especially in Lusaka. While we commend the efforts by government on the drastic measures taken to keep our towns and cities clean, there is need for a more holistic approach that will address the various dynamics.”

She also advised government to invest in clean water supply.

“NGOCC notes with concern that the recent cholera outbreak, that has claimed some lives, is only one offshoot of the dirty environments in many of our towns. It is therefore our expectation that government should be laying out a comprehensive and broad based plan to tackle the far reaching root causes of such outbreaks by focusing on investing in clean water and adequate sanitation facilities, among others,” stated Mwale.