“moWoza”, a startup founded by South African Suzana Moreira, draws inspiration from Ceuta, North Africa, where one can witness the hardships of the ladies who carry goods from Ceuta to Morocco. They are referred to as the ‘Ceuta Mules’ because they carry up to 80kg of goods on their back. They can’t stand upright from the weight; some manage a few journeys but risk permanent damage to their frames.
While the problem of women hauling such large loads may be less common across other African regions, the issue of accessing products, especially staple food and hygienic products remains. Most commerce in Africa happens on the secondary market and customers are subject to many exploitative practices that now are present in the entire value chain.
Generally, transport providers’ primary customers are migrant workers who struggle to get goods to their families many countries away. However, the actual delivery of goods is not guaranteed because of the conditions of the roads, crime and corruption at border crossings. And sending Western Union or other remittance is of no use as these are expensive and lots of Africans in rural areas do not have the relevant documentation.
moWoza has recently asked for our support to have them selected to a program for entrepreneurs called the Unreasonable Institute Marketplace. The Institute requires people around the world to vote with their blogs and their wallets for the social startup they want funded. No matter how crazy this process is, you should check out moWoza if you are as interested in how technology can tackle development issues.
The company delivers goods with an end-to-end tracked service that alerts both sender and beneficiary of where the parcels are (via SMS alerts) and when they can be picked up from the closest designated location, usually a village shop. If the teams succeed in raising $10,000 in a week, they are called Unreasonable Fellows; and that might be well deserved. The Fellows will have access to leading business advice and further financing.