Indigenous Handicrafts

Indigenous Handicrafts

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Indigenous Handicrafts is an OUTLET (a project also) that sell handicraft goods made by the indigenous artisans on profit sharing basis. It was establish to provide maximum benefit of their products and thus develop their livelihood so that they can tear down the vicious cycle of poverty. Its an attempt to promote indigenous distinctive craftsmanship in Bangladesh.

About You
Unnayan Uddog
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Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name


Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


Organization Name

Unnayan Uddog

Organization Phone


Organization Address

2/G Shyamoli, Road 1, Dhaka 1207

Organization Country


How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
Country your work focuses on


What makes your innovation unique?

To the given context, Unnayan Uddog initiated this IDEA. It provides skills development training, asset and knowledge support to ensure the quality of products through its regular activities. It provides 80% profit to the beneficiaries and the rest 20% uses to maintain the operating cost of the OUTLET. If we can arrange funds we will also open an online shop too. At the moment we are also trying to join fair trade movement also. Therefore, particularly, the idea is innovative due to the following reasons:

It creates a marketplace to sell the products of indigenous artisans;
It provides skills development training, design and knowledge to develop quality products;
It gives the maximum profit to the producers;
It has plan to sale products to international market so that the producers can get more benefits; and
The ultimate objective is to eliminate the poverty of the indigenous population and will help to bring them in the mainstream of the society.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

Indigenous craftspeople in Bangladesh are mostly poor though they inherited skills but often forced to sell their products at very cheap prices as there is hardly any store/shop where they can sale their products. Only a few get the opportunity to sale their products to some NGO outlets, some to the government initiatives but most of them compel to sale in the local business stores/people at very cheap price. The other truth is that none of them get the ultimate benefit (even if they sell to the NGO shops).

As our shop runs on profit sharing basis (80% profit goes to the producers’ hand) here the producers get the maximum benefits. On the other hand, as our Outlet is targeted for indigenous artisans, it hopes to attract a big number of customers in future. Here the indigenous craftspeople get a unique identity. The idea is helping to create jobs for the target group too.

Additionally, through this IDEA, the target people are getting chance to improve their existing skills, innovation in design and knowledge on marketing system. We have the hope to open an online shop and join to the fair trade movement in future that will bring great socio-economic impacts on the lives of the indigenous population in the country.

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

There are more than 45 indigenous ethnic groups with a population of nearly two million are living in Bangladesh. Each of the groups maintain individual tradition, identification, economic systems and customs and generally live isolated in the hilly or forest areas having poor livelihood patterns. But each of the groups has distinctive skills and produces many things for own community, such as cloths, utensils, toys, etc.

Therefore, the primary problem that is addressing through this innovation is to develop a marketplace to sell their products and to create a network aiming to develop their livelihoods in a sustainable manner. This innovation has been providing them with further training and asset support so that it can attract the people of the mainstream society through a blend of traditional and modern crafts.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. Include a description of the business model. What might prevent that success?

We have taken a policy to include indigenous artisans as much as possible into our regular development programs so that we can get more producers that will ensure the supply of quality products to our shop without any additional investment. Please note that we implement development programs with the assistance of donors.

However, we are trying to raise fund for setting up an OUTLET to a posh area and to open an online shop. If we can do that our project will be financially sustainable.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

The following are the expected results:
- The indigenous artisans will get a marketplace of their own that will ensure in getting maximum benefits of their products.
- We have a target to promote 5000 indigenous artisans through this idea within the next three years.
- The idea will help to eradicate poverty of the same number of indigenous families by the time.

How many people will your project serve annually?

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?


If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

If the project can demonstrate a good result it may influence the public policy to design developmet project by the government.

What stage is your Social Enterprise in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your Social Enterprise

This is an effort of Unnayan Uddog – a NGO that works with the indigenous people. This idea is developed aiming to set up a marketplace for the indigenous artisans to give them more benefit as its target groups and to organize them under a network. The NGO has an obligation and commitment to its target population to make the initiative financially sustainable, and when it will happen it will run independently as cooperative shop owned by the rural indigenous artisans.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

Unnayan Uddog is a NGO which implements different types of development programs for different target groups with the funding support of donors and our government. It also works for livelihood development of the poor and disadvantaged of the society and as such working for the indigenous population too. So, under its regular activities it provides skills development training and microcredit support to its beneficiaries (incl. indigenous populations). Therefore, it has opened the above mentioned OUTLET as an additional initiative to provide maximum support to its indigenous target groups.

At the moment we have invest small money from our general fund to open the OUTLET. We have a plan to shift it to a posh area so that it can attract many buyers. For the purpose we need funding support which we are searching now.

We provide 80% profit to our beneficiaries and the rest 20% uses to maintain the operating cost of the OUTLET. If we can arrange funds we will also open an online shop too. At the moment we are also trying to join fair trade movement also.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

As a development worker I have to create sustainable livelihoods for the poor and disadvantaged section of the society which is a challenges job to me. I have traveled many parts of the country during the implementation of many development programs for the poor including indigenous populations. When I have seen that indigenous population have distinctive craftsmanship, I thought that if they are provided with skills development training and marketing support they can easily increase their income and that must be sustainable. They need to provide knowledge on quality and design so that their products can meet up the demand of the fashion by the mainstream society. At one stage Unnayan Uddog provided some design and microcredit support to few indigenous women weavers who did excellent jobs. Therefore, Unnayan Uddog opens the OUTLET, particularly to promote the indigenous knowledge for the betterment of this group of population.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Innovator: Rathindranath Pal

He has more that 20 years experience in development and academic works on child rights, food security, livelihood development, human rights, women empowerment, and environmental issues. He has the capacity to develop strategic plan, preparing project proposals, administer project implementation, etc.

Currently working as core researcher of a 3-member international team to carring out an action research titled “Food Security through Community Food Bank and Employment Generation: An Action Research in Natural Disaster Prone Areas in Northern Bangladesh” in achieving food security for the Monga (near famine) affected pople in collaboration with two universities - such as Jahangirnagar University and University of Hull, UK with the funding support of DelPHE/ DFID. The idea of this food security project is also developed him.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

If through another source, please provide the information