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Women Vendors in Dar es Salaam: Surviving or Climbing the Livelihood Ladder? Exploring the Livelihoods of Women in the Urban Food and Beverage Vending Sector in Tanzania

Tillerman, Elvira LU (2012) UTVK03 20121
Sociology
Abstract
The overrepresentation of women in informal, insecure, low paid and precarious employments is well-documented. The purpose of this research study is to explore the livelihoods of formal, semi-formal and informal female food and beverage vendors in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The research questions centre on why the livelihood strategy of food or beverage vending is undertaken, what livelihood constraints this type of vending brings, how coping strategies are utilised by the vendors and which livelihood assets are important in this urban context. This exploratory research study is based on qualitative semi-structured interviews with 16 women vendors in the suburbs of Dar es Salaam. The study incorporates purposive sampling because the aim is... (More)
The overrepresentation of women in informal, insecure, low paid and precarious employments is well-documented. The purpose of this research study is to explore the livelihoods of formal, semi-formal and informal female food and beverage vendors in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The research questions centre on why the livelihood strategy of food or beverage vending is undertaken, what livelihood constraints this type of vending brings, how coping strategies are utilised by the vendors and which livelihood assets are important in this urban context. This exploratory research study is based on qualitative semi-structured interviews with 16 women vendors in the suburbs of Dar es Salaam. The study incorporates purposive sampling because the aim is not to generalise findings, but rather to increase the contextual understanding of livelihoods. The theoretical framework is based on the urban livelihoods framework which is a useful approach to explore how key contextual factors interact with livelihoods. Since the poor have very limited opportunities to strategically reduce vulnerabilities, the role of agency should not be overestimated. The main findings reveal that women vendors draw primarily on labour assets and social capital in order to construct livelihoods. However, engaging in food or beverage vending is in itself not sufficient for securing livelihoods or even survival. This could be explained by external livelihood constraints such as increased competition from other food/beverage vendors—constraints which reduce individual revenues. Seasonal price fluctuations increase operation costs for vending and decrease the flow of customers resulting in declining incomes. The women vendors draw on social support through informal loan and credit taking as a substitute for financial resources in order to make ends meet. The importance of labour assets and social capital in the urban context is in general consistent with previous research. In addition to previous research, this study has revealed that informal vending space in residential areas, accessed through private contacts and social capital, is an important livelihood asset. By avoiding vending in public spaces such as by main roads, visible streets and around market areas, the women vendors avoid bribe payments and police harassments which decreases livelihood constraints. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Tillerman, Elvira LU
supervisor
organization
course
UTVK03 20121
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
women, Tanzania, vendors, urban, livelihoods, vending space
language
English
id
2863079
date added to LUP
2012-08-13 09:11:49
date last changed
2012-08-13 09:11:49
@misc{2863079,
  abstract     = {The overrepresentation of women in informal, insecure, low paid and precarious employments is well-documented. The purpose of this research study is to explore the livelihoods of formal, semi-formal and informal female food and beverage vendors in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The research questions centre on why the livelihood strategy of food or beverage vending is undertaken, what livelihood constraints this type of vending brings, how coping strategies are utilised by the vendors and which livelihood assets are important in this urban context. This exploratory research study is based on qualitative semi-structured interviews with 16 women vendors in the suburbs of Dar es Salaam. The study incorporates purposive sampling because the aim is not to generalise findings, but rather to increase the contextual understanding of livelihoods. The theoretical framework is based on the urban livelihoods framework which is a useful approach to explore how key contextual factors interact with livelihoods. Since the poor have very limited opportunities to strategically reduce vulnerabilities, the role of agency should not be overestimated. The main findings reveal that women vendors draw primarily on labour assets and social capital in order to construct livelihoods. However, engaging in food or beverage vending is in itself not sufficient for securing livelihoods or even survival. This could be explained by external livelihood constraints such as increased competition from other food/beverage vendors—constraints which reduce individual revenues. Seasonal price fluctuations increase operation costs for vending and decrease the flow of customers resulting in declining incomes. The women vendors draw on social support through informal loan and credit taking as a substitute for financial resources in order to make ends meet. The importance of labour assets and social capital in the urban context is in general consistent with previous research. In addition to previous research, this study has revealed that informal vending space in residential areas, accessed through private contacts and social capital, is an important livelihood asset. By avoiding vending in public spaces such as by main roads, visible streets and around market areas, the women vendors avoid bribe payments and police harassments which decreases livelihood constraints.},
  author       = {Tillerman, Elvira},
  keyword      = {women,Tanzania,vendors,urban,livelihoods,vending space},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Women Vendors in Dar es Salaam: Surviving or Climbing the Livelihood Ladder? Exploring the Livelihoods of Women in the Urban Food and Beverage Vending Sector in Tanzania},
  year         = {2012},
}