Mobile-based Trade Information and Social Accountability Platform 

Director of Operations, Sauti

Knowing what women cross border traders have to endure

Women in Cross border trade ecosystem face a myriad of challenges in regard to their understanding of their obligations and rights. On many occasions the information available is disjointed and mostly available on channels not accessible to them. Additionally, because of what they consider to be a hostile official customs crossings not responsive enough to their circumstances and predicaments, the women traders opt always to use informal crossings where their problems are even compounded. In these border crossings, they suffer loss of goods to thieves, bribery, both sexual and physical violence amongst others. People who are very close to David have been victims of this considering that he comes from a town very close to the border of Kenya and Uganda

Providing information that makes their lives safer

To tackle this issue, Sauti has developed a mobile based information platform that enables traders to access the requisite information that can enable them be in a position trade across borders more safely, legally and profitably. This information can be accessed on simple- not internet enabled-feature phones which women cross border traders mostly own.

Among the information that the traders can access include procedures for legally importing and exporting, tax estimates, real time exchange rate information, commodities prices across the East African Community.

User-centered Solution on the forefront

Being part of Sauti has given David an opportunity to work with the women to build a user-centered solution to a problem that for ages has hindered their business progression and interaction with other people across their borders. Sauti has been in operation since 2016 and currently has its operations in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda and currently establishing in Tanzania.

As a graduate of Information Sciences, making information available and accessible is something David is very passionate about. Availing it to the people that their and their families’ livelihoods depend on it almost entirely is even a bigger motivation. That was exactly the opportunity that Sauti offered to him. An opportunity to play a role in making information accessible to the people to help them make informed business decisions.

Sauti hopes to establish our presence in the whole of East Africa by 2023 and reached out to over one hundred thousand women cross border traders.