Increasing Market Access for Andean Women

This Entry has been submitted.

Increasing Market Access for Andean Women

Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Awamaki works with rural Andean women's cooperatives to create internationally marketable garments and accessories that are born of traditional woven techniques and designs. The project offers rural women a significant income and the opportunity to improve their skills and access to market; it also revitalizes an endangered weaving tradition and way of life.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Peru is experiencing rapid economic growth, but marginalized groups such as rural indigenous women are left out. Many of these women are artisans highly technically skilled in the textile-arts; however, they lack knowledge of marketable designs for international consumers and the ability to manage production internally. For groups that are organized and producing goods, the lack of these critical skills makes them dependent on NGOs like Awamaki to administer their production process from start to finish. In Awamaki's case, both the seamstresses who produce value-added garments and the weavers from whom the raw textiles are sourced stand to income their income considerably by improving the quality of their products, but they lack the know-how to make those linkages.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The solution is twofold: 1) Increasing knowledge of design skills and technical capacity in both the seamstresses that produce value-added products and the weavers who produce the raw textiles. Seamstresses will receive training to begin to manage product design and production timetables. Weavers will receive administrative and capacity-building workshops focused on technical improvements and weaving to international standards in their rural communities. 2) Increasing the quantity and quality of communication between the two cooperatives. Awamaki will facilitate further exchanges between the weavers and seamstresses to ensure that both sides understand their counterparts' challenges and processes in producing goods. With a 360 degree view of the supply chain, the seamstresses and weavers can both producer a higher quality finished product and compete in the international market.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The critical element of this project is the institutionalization of frequent and intensive workshops focused on tailoring products to international standards and designs, as well as the ability to manage orders and production in-house. Female artisans are eager for this kind of capacity-building but lack access to resources. Without opportunity to scale up production, produce innovative and attractive designs, and manage orders, the seamstresses and weavers remain dependent on Awamaki for daily guidance. The finished goods produced by the seamstresses emerge from raw textiles produced by a weaving cooperative also partnered with Awamaki. This linkage is innovative in its approach to traditional weaving to simultaneously preserve cultural tradition and integrate into international product demand, using all local human capital in the supply chain. -Trainings in textile improvement for 60 weavers -Ordering materials from them for seamstresses' raw materials -Trainings in design and production for seamstresses -Creating partnerships with international designers to develop product ideas -Seamstresses produce value-added garments from weavings -Awamaki facilitates relationships with buyers and sells textiles -Awamaki reinvests profits in project and can scale up to work with more artisans

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are several groups of indigenous female artisans producing traditional textiles in the region. These groups are peers and in some sense can be considered competitors. No group has taken the innovative approach of creating value-added products that reflect international taste. Awamaki seeks to put traditional Peruvian textiles in a modern, accessible context on the international stage, with demonstrated succes. Awamaki's competitive advantage-the dual focus on a sustainable, women-driven supply chain and responsiveness to buyers' needs and desires-sets the project apart. However, should other groups desire to engage in similar activities, Awamaki would actively encourage and support those efforts. The more groups working toward the same goal, the bigger the market and better for all.