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I Never Thought I had Anything to Sell

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So, OLX agents have been going around various Nairobi estates, better known as hoods, educating people on how they can sell unused items from their homes on the platform.

You may have seen them, donning the classic purple and orange of OLX with the T-shirts proudly proclaiming to ‘Ask me how you can sell on OLX’. I hope you did.

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Dubbed hood2hood, these agents’ sole mission is to ensure as many people as possible learn how to use the OLX app and maybe use it to supplement their income when times get rough.

Though not as bad as in the west, Kenyans are a hoarding culture, with those who do not hoard, often exchanging the unused item in their house for something else, what is popularly known as Malimali. We use them but we do not love them. Every Kenyan I have spoken to has used their services, maybe more than once, but none has any praise for them, the most common reason being that they take so much more than they give.

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Many Kenyans do not know the value they might be holding in their houses. Asked whether she had ever used OLX to sell anything, Ms Jayne, a working mother of two said she hadn’t, because she didn’t believe she had anything to sell. It was her opinion that not everybody can use the platform as you may be made to believe.

Asked whether she could identify any household item she wasn’t using, she was surprised to find she had at least 4 items she hadn’t used in a while, and could still sell them as they were in good working condition.

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This is the case with many Kenyans who engage in barter trade with the malimali vendors, who end up selling the items they get from people as second hand materials. Platforms like OLX offer a chance for people to handle the transactions themselves.

Ms. Idah received a call from her son’s school informing her that her son would not be allowed to sit for his examinations due to unpaid school fees.

“Desperate times call for drastic measures, and this was my son’s education, it wasn’t really a thing I had to think about or debate. So, following the instructions given to me by the OLX agents who had been to my house, I posted my refrigerator on OLX and sold it the next day,” she says.

Idah was able to pay her son’s fees and have some left over for other expenses.

Online platforms like OLX, are easy to use and can come in handy, not only for unused items lying around in the house, but also for business owners.

With the hood2hood activations, more people are able to get an understanding of how OLX works and therefore use it should they find they need to.




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Sam Wakoba
Sam Wakoba
Taking you on tour through Africa's tech and business ecosystem, one story at a time since 2010! Based out of Nairobi, Kenya, Sam is the founder and managing director of Moran Media, which runs, various other digital platforms and a startup incubation hub for Kenya's youthful entrepreneurs. Drop me a mail at [email protected]

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