Participants pose for a group photo soon after the opening
LUANAR through the Frugal Innovation Practicums (FIP) project recently trained Wakawaka traders on business management. The training which took place at Messers Lodge in Lilongwe, aimed at helping retailers manage and grow their businesses. One of the FIP Facilitator, Dr. Sera Gondwe said the training was one of the on-going activities which LUANAR has been doing with the traders in the market. “We are training the traders to support them grow their businesses. But the interesting part with this training is that it was the traders who requested it. As part of our interaction they suggested that they need training in terms of knowing how they can grow their businesses so that’s how this training came about,” said Dr. Gondwe. She said the training was supported through a crowd funding sourced by Michigan State University (MSU) students and LUANAR participating staff. Chairperson for Wakawaka market, Leonard Kuchombo thanked LUANAR for the training saying they have gained a lot of knowledge and skills which will enable them to run their businesses. “As Wakawaka market, we chose training for us to be equipped with knowledge on proper management of our businesses and how to expand them. This is of great advantage to most of us since we did not get this kind of training before,” said Mr. Kuchombo. Apart from the training, the traders decided that the remaining funds be used for a revolving fund at the market. Treasurer for the market Mrs Bessie Chirambo as a market committee, they will select some committee members who will be managing the revolving fund. “There are financial institutions that come to lend money at our market but having our own revolving fund will be better because it will be easier to know those eligible and with viable businesses hence this will help us avoid defaulters. We are very sure that revolving fund is the best decision ever,” she said. She said they will have rules to be guiding on who gets the loan, the interest rate and punishment for defaulters. The FIP project started in 2015 with Lilongwe main market, Area 25 market, Lizulu market, Area 47 market. The second phase included Mitundu market and Wakawaka market. The project improved structures at all the markets apart from Wakawaka market because it is a private market so it was not possible to build any structure.