The Contribution of Technology-Driven Social Enterprises to the Livelihoods of Informal Female Traders: A Case of EcoCash in Harare, Zimbabwe
Keywords:EcoCash, informal female traders, sustainable livelihoods, social development, technology-driven social enterprises, developmental social workers
The livelihoods of most informal female traders in Zimbabwe experience financial exclusion and limited growth. Technology-driven social enterprises such as EcoCash could potentially redress this challenge. This qualitative study explored the contribution of EcoCash towards the livelihoods of informal female traders in the city of Harare in Zimbabwe using a single instrumental case study design. In total, 23 informal female traders and 3 key informants were purposively sampled for face-to-face interviews and a focus group discussion. The data were analysed thematically. The findings reveal that EcoCash boosts convenience in the livelihoods of informal female traders, and enables them to save income and to trade in a cash-strapped economy. Challenges associated with EcoCash include the high costs of transacting and the low digital literacy among its users. The findings in this article are hoped to contribute to the design of technology-driven community development models, to inform education of social entrepreneurship and community livelihoods, to lobby for pro-poor economic policies, and to support digital literacy training.
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