DadaSoko: Transforming the lives of women

DadaSoko

Moses Kusasira and Pete Munyasia, the founders of DadaSoko, with radio personality King Kalala (centre) during the Dadasoko marketplace and fashion runway at K1 Klubhouse on December 18, 2021.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • DadaSoko is a self-sustaining global eCommerce ecosystem specifically designed for young African women entrepreneurs.
  • DadaSoko projects are  focused on providing business training, digital tools, and initial financial support to empower young business owners.

Early this month, a women empowerment project, DadaSoko, was launched in Waldorf Astoria in Las Vegas, United States.

DadaSoko, which loosely translates to "sister market", is the brainchild of two Kenyans, Moses Kusasira and Pete Munyasia.

Kusasira and Munyasia grew up in Nairobi's Uhuru Estate. After spending much of their teenage life together, they left for the USA in the year 2000 to pursue IT-related courses.

As fate would have it, they returned home four years ago and formed GlobalSoko.

Nation.Africa had an exclusive interview with the two. Excerpts:

What is DadaSoko?

We are a non-profit social impact project which is self-sustaining. Our global eCommerce ecosystem is specifically designed for young African women entrepreneurs with the sole aim empowering them with digital business transformation tools to effectively compete in the global marketplace.

DadaSoko is a joint project of two Las Vegas-based organisations. GlobalSoko Foundation supplies the project funding through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with training and organisational support in conjunction with the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) – Kenya, while Social Media Gateways provides the digital business transformation technologies that power the DadaSoko Global Virtual Marketplace platform.

Why did you start DadaSoko?

When the pandemic hit in 2020, we decided to build a platform that would empower women, and we decided to do that back home (Kenya). Since September, the DadaSoko Project has trained hundreds of young independent businesswomen in cities and remote rural areas across Kenya.

Dadasoko

Guests sample some of the fashion accessories on display during the Dadasoko marketplace and fashion runway at K1 Klubhouse on December 18, 2021. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

All training programme graduates are given their online stores on the DadaSoko Global Virtual Marketplace eCommerce platform for selling their products and services locally in Kenya and around the world.

How many entrepreneurs do you currently have on the platform?

We have 150 who are already using the platform, although we have trained 250 women. We did the training in September and now you can find them online in Kenya and abroad.

What is unique about DadaSoko is the exposure it gives women globally. The market was there before, but they didn't have direct access to the market. It was through middlemen and all that. Now, a woman in the village can sell to someone in Los Angeles.

What is the one thing that makes DadaSoko stands out from other digital marketplaces?

DadaSoko is a self-sustaining global eCommerce ecosystem specifically designed for young African women entrepreneurs. Our aim is to empower these women with digital business transformation tools, giving them direct access to consumers overseas, particularly in the United States.

Dadasoko

Media personality and musician Sheila Mwanyigah on stage during the Dadasoko marketplace and fashion runway at K1 Klubhouse on December 18, 2021. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Why only women?

Young women entrepreneurs face unique challenges in Africa and the developing world. The DadaSoko projects are  focused on providing business training, digital tools, and initial financial support to empower these young business owners to enable them overcome challenges and grow their businesses.

You have mentioned women in rural areas; is this not complex technology-wise?

We understand not everyone is tech-savvy, so we partner them with a data agent. The woman in the village is still the seller; the agent is just making that process less painless.

Dadasoko

A modelshowcases a Kente Kimono from Vaaleo Designs and a long beaded necklace on the runway during the Dadasoko marketplace and fashion runway at K1 Klubhouse on December 18, 2021. 

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

How do you regulate the pricing and quality of products listed on the platform?

We have quality control, and marketing departments collaborate to set fair market prices and ensure the products meet international market requirements.

What is in it for you guys running DadaSoko?

We don't get anything from the women; DadaSoko is about empowerment; they sell directly to consumers. So we don't take any money from the sale. We give them the tools to enable them to make a living. We only take the service fee for processing the transaction between the seller and the buyer.

Do you have plans to expand to other countries?

Yes, our next stage is in Uganda and Tanzania. From there we will go west and to the rest of Africa. Hopefully, next year, we'll be all over East Africa.

Future plans for GlobalSoko?

everything we are doing came about because of technology. We applied technology to make something to empower women. That means we can take the same technology to create other products. 

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