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Women Explore Digital Advertisement to Overcome COVID-19 Barriers

As the country goes through a second lockdown, dozens of businesses are experiencing a great decline in activity with limited sales. Now, traders are using microblogging sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, among others, to market their products and skills, tapping into the scattered online market.
28 Jul 2021 16:54
Vicky Emotayi, a vendor at Cerelendo Market has been using her WhatsApp platform to market her produce- Photo by Dominic Ochola

Audio 3

Women entrepreneurs in Gulu are exploring internet advertising to expand the market for their goods and services following disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

As the country goes through a second lockdown, dozens of businesses are experiencing a great decline in activity with limited sales. Now, traders are using microblogging sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, among others, to market their products and skills, tapping into the scattered online market.

Joyce Santa Laker, a resident of Senior Quarters in Gulu who deals in shear butter says that the digital information era has given her freedom to transact businesses from the comfort of her home while searching for clients through social media. She says that, unlike in the past, she now has ample time for domestic chores and family.

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Gloria Barbara Adyero – the founder of Loremi Tours, a local travel agency in Gulu says that internet advertising is an exciting opportunity for the local women in business to explore global markets for more sales and better prices.

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But Sharon Awor, a Business and Financial Literacy Trainer says many women still do not want to invest in knowledge to help them plan for their businesses, understand the market and clients with remains a challenge to their financial growth.

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In July 2020 during the first lockdown in 2020, the Gulu Women's Economic Development and Globalization (GWED-G), an entity founded by grassroots women backed by the Uganda Communication Commission – UCC trained some 100 grassroots women entrepreneurs in ICT, online marketing, business and financial literacy.

The pilot project dubbed Women in Business (WinB), was aimed at equipping the grassroots women with up-to-date Information and Communication Technological - ICT knowledge in order to bridge the gender gap in digital advertising.

A recent rapid survey of businesses by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in Uganda reveals that three-quarters of the surveyed businesses have laid off employees due to the risks presented by COVID-19 and subsequent containment measures.

The results suggest that lockdown measures have reduced business activity by more than half. In terms of sectors, businesses in agriculture have experienced the largest constraints in access to both inputs and markets for outputs due to control measures such as transport restrictions, quarantine, social distancing, and bans on weekly markets.