Impact: What is the impact of the work to date?
To one of the women projects, close contacts are established and a pilot production of handcraft products has been distributed in Germany, however without the now intended design and quality upgrade. The other contacts to two women projects in Cairo have been established via personal contacts to NGOs working with these women projects (New Horizon Association for Social Development, 14km e.V., Association for the protection of the environment).
sandbag will be starting up as a conventional webshop for Egyptian handcraft and design on the online platform "fraisr" by the end of the year. Our fundraising for the workshops will be increased as well.
Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
- Political situation in Egypt endangering production and transport of products
The turmoils around the ouster of former president Morsi were never directed against foreigners and they have shrinked in the last weeks. We will cooperate tightly with the security department of the German embassy to ensure that we wil just visit quiet areas of Egypt as for example the Red Sea areas.
- Difficulty of ensuring highest quality of manufacturing versus established production standards.
We will have a tight quality management and will just purchase those products that apply to our standards.
Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)
With regards to the products to be produced and sold, the innovation lies in the merging of traditional Egyptian design and manufacturing methods with modern, young European design, and the high quality of material and manufacturing that the European markets demand. The project also draws on recent emergences of creatively designed recycling products in Egypt (such as those supported by http://www.ape.org.eg/).
With regards to the solution against poverty integrated into the project, the innovation lies in the fact that the products will not only be fairly traded, but that in addition to that, the project includes the establishment and filling of a community fund for each of the participating women projects. Through this fund, they can not only benefit themselves and their individual family with their earnings but will be able to undertake an investment in their community every one or two years, which will provide them with additional opportunities, status and scope for self-determination.
The target is to provide a fair chance of competitiveness in international markets and real value creation for people in developing countries. We provide our knowledge about and access to the markets, while the artisans provide their fascinating skills and traditions. In a true collaborative partnership with the local artisans we ensure that not only fair prices and working conditions are secured, but we also share the profits we realise. With this money they are able to realise community-projects, such as wells, libraries, etc. Thus we aim for a community-oriented form of production that enables the people in the villages to be independent and make a living by creating unique items.
The idea of improving products by international interchange of designers can be applied to any other region and field of work. Thus the idea can be spread and transferred easily.