By Eness Mayondi
Women selling Chikanda on top of their heads is a common sight in most towns across Zambia.
It’s a source of livelihood for them and their families. Many of these women are single mothers who are victims of Gender Based Violence.
They need to be applauded for their bravely to escape the abuse knowing quite well it would be very difficult and challenging for them to transition from being dependents to being independent without anything.
This is because once they leave these abusive partners, they leave with nothing.
Hence, the reason why I came up with a project called ‘Mended Hope’ to equip women who are victims of gender based violence with self-mastery catering and crafts skills to help them become self-reliant.
I looked at some of the food items they can prepare and sell and Chikanda happened to be one of them, I did a short survey and discovered it’s the only authentic meal loved and enjoyed many Zambians.
I also discovered that most people didn’t eat it as much as they could because of the way the women usually carry and sell the delicacy and people would feel shy and embarrassed to stop and buy from them.
While others had concerns of hygiene and with these findings I also discovered that people felt more comfortable buying food from an established retail outline than the streets so I wondered why major supermarkets didn’t have it in their dairy food sections.
I saw a great business opportunity, what if the women in the ‘Mended Hope’ Programme can supply the delicacy to supermarkets and use the savings to support their families and take their children to school?
It would definitely be a game changer for them. So I immediately wrote to Pick n Pick and Shoprite to supply them the home made Chikanda.
I never heard back from either supermarkets and the following week when I went to Pick n Pay, behold there was Chikanda in its dairy food section.
The women in the ‘Mended Hope’ Programme felt crashed and disappointed that a supermarket would be so cheap to just start selling the delicacy without any regard to them.
So the question is who supplies the supermarket the raw Chikanda they sell, who makes the order and who makes the delicacy?
Between these people one capitalized on the information to serve their personal selfish interests without regard to the women who would have greatly benefited from this business transaction.
All in all we thank Pick n Pay for bringing Chikanda in its dairy section, at least it’s one food we can point at in the whole supermarket that’s its Zambia’s own authentic meal/Daches.
I was talking to a friend that wanted to open his own store recently he was thinking of stocking a lot of Chikanda. He made sure he got the right deal on his business energy though, so it financially makes sense. He tells me he went through some price comparison websites like Usave and is glad he did. He got a fantastic quote that is keeping him profitable in his new business venture.