A Look Back at November 2023

Knowledge and Growth: these are the two words of the month. We hope you enjoy reading our highlights for this past November.

Turning Knowledge into Action in Burkina Faso

If you want to have a successful artisan business, you need to think beyond the craft and product. Learning about marketing, accounting, management, and more is needed for success! This is something that the youth from the Resilience Through Craft project in Burkina Faso learned during their internships last month.

Over the span of 10 days, 37 trainees attended internships at GAFREH in Bobo Dioulasso and Association Kogl-taaba de Koudougou (CAF) in Koudougou. During the internship, each trainee chose a function within the business they wanted to learn more about. Whether they wanted to learn about a specific aspect of artisanry, such as weaving, sewing, or cutting, or growing their business skills by focusing on accounting, ecommerce, or marketing, they were paired up with a master artisan who they shadowed for the duration of their internship. After the internship experience, Sanou Pai Sandrine, a sewing cutting trainee at GAFREH shared:

“I used to be able to sew clothes but not bags, but now I’m happy to be able to produce bags and wallets.”

Taking it one step further, the trainees put their knowledge into action by assisting the master artisans at tradeshows. In one instance, 2 marketing and 1 accounting trainee assisted the master artisans from GAFREH to sell products during the Eco Foot fair in Bobo Dioulasso. All participants put their skills to the test, helping the artisans sell their products and set up the booths. What better way to learn than by putting your knowledge into action!

Resilience Through Craft is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in partnership with Creative Associates International (Creative) and their partner, Lutheran World Relief (LWR).

Pictured: Trainee practicing sewing at CAF in Koudougou (Top left), Trainee dying the materials before weaving at GAFREH in Bobo Dioulasso (bottom left), Youth participating at the Eco Foot fair (bottom center), Trainees learning about computers and data entry at CAF in Koudougou (bottom right).

Exchanging Experiences in San Juan Cancuc

As part of the Self-Management Strengthening and Territorial Coordination for Community Well-Being project in San Juan Cancuc, 111 micro-entrepreneurs participated in our forum on Exchanging Experiences in Income Generation on November 22nd.

8 small booths were set up at the event where successful producers showcased their products. The participants, producers of honey, coffee, handicrafts, and agroecological products, toured the booths to understand why these entrepreneurs are successful. This experience let participants exchange ideas and best practices to help strengthen their own businesses. Facilitators encouraged discussions by asking participants questions like: Why is this specific business successful? What do they do with the income they receive? What are their challenges?

Facilitating conversations among participants will give these micro-entrepreneurs business insights and help them create solutions based on the experience’s others. Virgilio Cruz, the Income Generation Facilitator in this project, told us:

“The first Income Generation experience exchange was a success as it met the set objectives. Participants gained various ideas on how to implement their own entrepreneurial initiatives. There were several contributions that clarified numerous doubts, and the involvement of young students with ventures created within a school setting was notable.”

Pictured: All images are from the forum in San Juan Cancuc, Chiapas, Mexico – Participants working in small groups (top right), producers discussing their products (bottom left), participants looking at products (bottom center), participants listening to speakers (bottom right).

As an Entrepreneur, How Can I Keep Earning a Profit After Making a Sale?

Free webinars are very popular events hosted by Artisan Business Lab. In November, we hosted a webinar that was slightly different than our usual ones. Lee Roebeck joined us in discussing How to Clear the Blocks to Your Abundance.

During this hour-long webinar, Lee reminded us that the work we do on a daily basis should be fun and should use our strengths and interests. But to be even more successful in our business, we need to think outside the box with the decisions we make. As humans, we do our daily activities by habit, so when it comes to growing our income, we need to think creatively and be proactive in the actions we take. After the webinar, one participant, Julia Deane of Export Barbados, told Lee: “Thanks for the informative and thought provoking session.” 

Pictured: Presenter Lee Roebeck

What’s to Come in December

-Business owners who help empower women in Gabon will be visiting the ATA office in DC as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

-We will be publishing our 10-year Impact Report celebrating the first 10 years of Aid to Artisans with Creative Learning!

Artisan Business Lab hosts a webinar about tradeshows in collaboration with Catalyst Market. Stay tuned to see what we learned!

Pictured: Artisans from the group Flor de Agua in Mayapan, Yucatán working on product development for the local collection