Women’s Own Open Market

busy street foodProject Title: “Development and launch of Women’s own Open Market”

Addressing Urban Poverty and Women’s Economic Empowerment through a Pilot Vendors Market For, of and By Women In Urban Nerve Centers of Thimphu.

Funded by :  CSOFF (Civil Society Organization Fund Facility) .


One of the many manifestations of urban poverty is the increasing number of ‘footpath vegetable vendors’ on a daily basis on the busy streets of Thimphu. It is common sight in the capital city of Thimphu to see rural women from all parts of Bhutan selling agricultural produce and goods at the weekend market (the centenary farmers’ market). During rest of the week when that market is closed for business, for lack of a proper market place for them to conduct their business, these poor women and farmers can be seen lining the dusty and busy footpaths in the crowded sections of the city. Of late it has become illegal to do so, and yet many rural folks especially women and girls can be seen nervously sitting with their produce on the pavements, playing hide and seek with the City corporation inspectors whose job it is to keep these petty traders/vendors off the streets! The Inspectors chase them away, fine them and threaten them and yet these petty vendors  mostly women and girls reappear taking the risks of being caught, fined and shooed away as they depend on the little income to sustain themselves and their families.

BAOWE as a women’s group focusing to empower them through strengthening entrepreneurship is implementing this Project as our way of taking action to make a difference in the lives of poor women, men and children, everyone of who has a dream to make it happen for themselves. Having left the rural safe havens to break even in the ruthless urban environment, our women and youth in particular are in desperate need of help.

Against these background with Authorization from City Thromdey, BAOWE aims to open 4 (four) markets. Following are locations to set up the intended markets :

  1. Thimphu Bus Terminal
  2. Jungzhina
  3. Hospital
  4. Hejo


Project Rationale :

This project is mainly implemented to empowering the economically disadvantage in urban centers. This project will provide sheds for the street vendors, so that they can sell their products in the sheds, so they don’t have to face problem from the city cooperation and also from the natural hazards.  This activity will create avenues for self employment and also it will allow for the development of our own home made goods. This project also helps the uneconomically developed women in Bhutan and helps them to become a successful person in their life and to remove urban poverty in Bhutan.

“Women’s Own Open Market” project was implemented in 2014 in various parts of Thimphu, addressing urban poverty and women’s economic empowerment through a pilot vendors market for, of and by women in urban nerve centers of Thimphu and twenty Dzongkhag .whereby the hawkers at the roadsides will get proper place to sell their products which are home made goods only which are under supervision of BAFRA   and not to face objection from City Authorities, who otherwise will seize their products.

We have  women registered under this project .All this women’s were uneducated and they don’t have any income source until we have opened this project called “ Women’s Own Open Market” through this project they have been benefited in many ways such as:

Women’s Open Market will have clean, safe and hygienic products and environment as per Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) and National Environment Commission (NEC) standards. The market will be managed by a committee of merchants and

street food (women's own open market)

street food (women’s own open market)

will run 7 days/week. BAOWE will supervise and conduct capacity building initiatives to help these merchants to diversify their products to ensure their market ability to residents of Thimphu and Phuentsholing. Capacity building initiatives will include presentation, storage, packaging, pricing, book-keeping, banking, and marketing.




These basic business skills will enable women to gain a level

of competency and confidence while ensuring that their endeavors remain profitable without over-charging customers or compromising the environment.


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