Rwanda: Vegetable Vendors Urged to Step Up Covid-19 Compliance

Passengers queue to board a bus at Nyabugogo Taxi Park in Kigali on May 4, 2020.
12 October 2020

It is 6am in a vegetable market commonly known as Giti cy'Inyoni, which is located in Kigali Sector in Nyarugenge District.

The market was strictly reserved for vegetables following temporary closure of two famous city markets due to Covid-19.

After the closure of the markets, vegetable vendors were relocated to this place.

To many, it's the vegetable food basket of Kigali.

At the entrance, one is welcomed by numerous water taps as vendors, shoppers and transporters alike are obliged to wash their hands before entering the market.

Youth volunteers and police are seen at all gates trying to enforce the Covid-19 guidelines.

However, inside the market, the story is a bit different.

Although everyone is putting on a face mask and hand washing is carried out at the entrance, social distancing practices are violated.

The market looks quite congested, given that it now hosts extra vendors, some of whom used to work from Nyabugogo Market.

Abdalaziz Semungerere, who heads a group of youth volunteers, says that this makes the enforcement of compliance a daunting challenge.

What city authorities are doing

Jean de Dieu Serugendo, the Public Relations Officer of Nyarugenge District, said that operating hours were reduced in order to reduce the time that suppliers spend with sellers, hence less contact.

"Additionally, the vendors were relocated in an open place meant to give people a larger space to carry out their business, which is also in line with the Ministry of Health's Covid-19 guidelines," adds Serugendo.

When The New Times visited the market, it was also divided into two parts, another strategy to reduce contact between the market attendants. However, this strategy has not worked as the market continues to receive more people.

According to Elysee Kayibanda, a coordinator of youth volunteers, more volunteers have been deployed in the market, but sustained sensitisation on Covid-19 compliance measures is needed.

"We are now working as fifteen volunteers in each shift, but we were fewer before. Moreover, we keep teaching the market vendors about social distancing, and they seem to understand," he comments.

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