How NAWOU Handmade programme has benefited the women of Uganda
NAWOU runs a social enterprise project titled NAWOU Handmade, through which economic empowerment opportunities are extended to organized groups of vulnerable women. Through this initiative, women’s entrepreneurial skills and potential is enhanced to fashion artistic handmade products that portray Uganda’s cultural heritage. NAWOU supports product design, quality production, marketing and capacity building processes for vulnerable women.
How women are benefiting through the NAWOU Handmade project
Women’s capacity in designing local crafts sold nationally and internationally is enhanced through trainings on quality production, value addition, assurance and marketing standards. NAWOU has held several craft production trainings with women across the country and currently over 400 women are actively participating in production of running craft orders.
Through our membership with World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), we are a market link for the women’s crafts locally, regionally and internationally. We currently export to New Zealand, United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia, and Turkey. To serve local market demand; NAWOU manages a well-equipped outlet located at the Uganda Museum, one of the country’s top tourist centers. We also have a local outlet for bulk purchases at our offices in Bakuli, Old Kampala. At individual level, the NAWOU Handmade program has improved women’s general standards of living justified by increase in women’s income levels, ability to access quality health, nutrition, shelter and education for their children. The baskets are sold at a fair rate which substantially benefits the women and contributes towards NAWOU’s sustainability.
Through the annual NAWOU International Crafts Expo (NICE), women artisans are offered opportunities to expose and market their products. The expo extends craft training opportunities spearheaded by craft experts aiming at building women’s craft skills to effectively compete on the market. The initiate also provides a platform for women to share and learn from other’s experiences and also hold duty bearers accountable for better service delivery and favorable economic policies. NAWOU has strengthened partnerships with other likeminded players like the Uganda Federation For Alternative Trade (UGAFAT) and Trade for Development Centre (BTC); these extended incredible economic empowerment services and marketing opportunities for women’s products
NAWOU plans to build a better skilling Centre for enhancing craft production among marginalized women in the country. This will also enable women have a decent space to showcase their products and tap into other existing economic opportunities. However, we are still constrained by resources to realize this dream for the benefit of women of Uganda. NAWOU is embracing digitalisation and an online craft shop was piloted in 2020 to explore possibilities of widening market opportunities for crafts produced by women. This initiative was driven by the pandemic that altered business and affected women’s abilities to effectively produce and market their products. With improvement of this system, we anticipate to attract more craft customers to buy women’s products.