Exploring Social Protection Opportunities through Everyday Navigations of Women Informal Workers: the Case of Buguruni Food Vending Network in Dar Es Salaam

Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


The contribution of social networks in providing insurance against various urban vulnerabilities cannot be underestimated among workers. Urban residents working in the informal sector face everyday challenges related to public spaces and harassment from police and local authorities, low incomes, and poverty when they cannot work due to sickness or accidents. Women workers face additional hardships due to their reproductive roles when choosing between going to work or caring for children or their health during maternity periods. Social networks have a significant role in cushioning the urban residents against financial insecurity, ultimately reducing the harsh outcomes of insecure employment activities and poverty. This paper intends to highlight how such social networks assist in insurance against risks associated with working on the streets. The study adopted a qualitative technique to collect Buguruni Food vending network data. Interviews (47 participants), documentary reviews and non-participatory field observation were applied. Findings showed increasing evidence that networks are critical to poor people due to their flexible operations and significant contributions to promoting access to capital required to boost food vending operations. Since communities are vulnerable to risks, social networks have become one of the essential factors for reducing the shock or stress to members. Social networks play a significant role in initiating collective solutions that have an effect and, in the end, influence change in the community. Eventually, the initiative is undertaken as a community plan.

Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of Regional Development