Ethical Border Trading Between Kenya and Uganda

Lead PI: Dr. Jacqueline M. Klopp

Unit Affiliation: Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD)

January 2019 - September 2021
Africa ; Kenya ; Uganda
Project Type: Research

DESCRIPTION: Small-scale trade between Kenya and Uganda is critical to livelihoods and well-being in border towns. Despite official efforts to promote more open and efficient borders, small-scale traders—most of whom are women—face serious challenges, including arbitrary extraction of payments and goods. This makes small-scale trading hazardous and reduces its socio-economic benefits.

This project explores whether a cellphone-based platform that provides critical business information for small scale cross border traders in East Africa can be used for community reporting of problems and hence data available to push for reform. We are conducting a randomized control trial with traders across two borders to explore how different messaging can increase reporting. We are also testing whether letting border officials and the local communities around the border know about the reporting has any impact on behavior. Ultimately, we explore how to leverage basic cellphone platforms to strengthen advocacy for improved border conditions for small-scale traders.


Global Integrity




Ruth Canagarajah, Lenoard Waweru, Lornah Wahome, Paul Omondi, Brian Barasa (Busara Center for Behavioral Economics), Alissa Krueger, Melissa Trimble (SIPA)