A Look Back at March 2024

Did you know that Aid to Artisans works beyond the craft sector? In this month’s letter, explore our many ongoing projects that focus on youth engagement and building relationships!

A Path Towards Self-Management in Sitalá, México

We’re excited to introduce “Strengthening Municipal Processes – A Path Towards Self-Management,” a 3-year initiative in Chiapas, México, dedicated to fostering dialogue and addressing key issues like water management and health. With over 15,000 beneficiaries across 50 communities, our goal is to enhance the quality of life in the Municipality of Sitalá.

This involves empowering local organizations, promoting sustainable income generation, and advocating for holistic health practices while celebrating indigenous knowledge.

The project focuses on four main objectives: ensuring access to essential services like clean water and healthcare, boosting economic empowerment for local artisans and producers, establishing a robust municipal communication system for collective action, and facilitating effective coordination among alliance organizations. Through forums and collaborative efforts, we aim to create lasting positive change and empower communities to shape their own futures.

With the dedication of stakeholders, we’re confident that the Strengthening Municipal Processes project will continue to make significant strides in building resilient and thriving communities.

The Sitala, “Strengthening Municipal Processes – A Path Towards Self-Management,” project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Pictured: Sitala community logo

Amplifying the Voices of Youth in San Juan Cancuc, México

We are excited to share the outcomes of the Municipal Youth Forum, held on March 8th, 2024, a dynamic event that brought together young people from San Juan Cancuc to discuss pressing issues and explore collaborative solutions. Hosted by a coalition of allied organizations in the region, the forum aimed to amplify youth voices and address key challenges facing the community.

Young men and women aged 16 to 18 from various high schools, actively participated in the forum. They engaged in vibrant discussions, sharing their experiences and perspectives on social, environmental, and cultural issues affecting their lives. One of the focal points of the event was the exploration of youth migration to northern México, shedding light on the complexities of this phenomenon and brainstorming potential solutions.

Through dialogue and collaboration, participants identified the need for collective action and strategic partnerships to address local challenges effectively. They emphasized the importance of youth engagement in decision-making processes and highlighted the role of active citizenship in driving positive change within their communities.

Reflecting on the forum, Juan Vazquez Méndez, the youth coordinator of this program remarked:

“I was impressed by the active participation of young people from the indigenous communities of San Juan Cancuc. They were able to express their ideas and opinions regarding local issues clearly, and it is evident that only through active collaboration with social and strategic actors can we generate alternative solutions to address what affects them in their own communities.”

Stay tuned for updates on future initiatives of the Building Spaces for Dialogue in San Juan Cancuc Project! The Komon A’tel 2.0, “Building Spaces for Dialogue in San Juan Cancuc,” project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Pictured: Youth working on their poster (top left), Youth discussing and sharing ideas (bottom left), Youth presenting their work (bottom center), Youth working together to draw their ideal community (bottom right).

Putting Training into Action in Burkina Faso

Over a span of 20 days, 20 youth from the Centre d’Animation Féminin (CAF) in Koudougou, and 20 from the Groupement d’Action des Femmes pour la Relance Economique du Houet (GAFREH) Center in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, put their learnings to the test. By using samples previously produced by master artisans, and information from the trainings they have attended, the 40 youth were able to develop over 200 product samples that will be showcased and sold at future local tradeshows!

These youth are not artisans by training, rather they are interested in artisanry. They have been going through a set of training courses that teaches them both the practical and organizational aspects of being an artisan and running an artisan business. As a result, they were able to not only successfully reproduce bags, cushion covers, table runners, home décor products, and a range of different cotton fabrics, but they were also able to cost and price these products, understand quality control, and practice how to present handcrafted products when they are ready for sale.

After the product development sessions, Soutonguenoma Pelagie Zongo, a youth participant from Koudougou, shared:

“During the 20 days of training, I learned a lot of things that will help me in life and in the lives of my children in the future.”

This project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is in partnership with Creative Associates International (Creative) and their sub-partner, Lutheran World Relief (LWR).

Pictured: Youth from GAFREH Center after sewing a bag (top right), Youth from GAFREH Center dyeing cloth (bottom left), Sample bags created by youth from GAFREH (bottom center), Youth weaving the fabric for the tailors from CAF (bottom right).

Gain Essential Insights by Joining the eMarket Readiness Program

Are you facing challenges in expanding your products into new markets? Do you want to explore new sales channels but are unsure where to start? Are you questioning whether your prices cover your costs? Save yourself years of frustration by getting answers to these questions and more in just 5 days! Join our live eMarket Readiness Program, taking place online from September 9th to 13th, 2024.

By participating, you’ll develop a concrete 6-month plan to propel your business forward, create new connections, and gain a renewed sense of confidence.

Plus, if you register BEFORE June 21st, 2024, you’ll unlock a special 10% early bird discount! Don’t miss this opportunity to equip yourself with the tools and confidence needed to elevate your business. Learn more about the program HERE.

Pictured: 2023 eMRP Small Group Coaching

Welcome to the ATA Team Lauren Hamamy

We want to welcome the newest member of the ATA family, Lauren Hamamy. Lauren is the new Program Specialist at our HQ. Lauren brings a blend of marketing and project management expertise to the Aid to Artisans’ team. She has a passion for cultural preservation and a deep commitment to empowering local artisans within their communities. She has spent over a year in Latin America collaborating directly with artisans, cultivating a profound interest in textiles and pottery.

Lauren has a strong appreciation for other cultures and forging meaningful connections and has documented her journeys abroad through photography. Lauren has a Bachelors of Business Administration, with an emphasis in Marketing and Spanish. She is excited to join the team at Aid to Artisans and drive transformative change in artisan communities worldwide.

She also shared:

“I am thrilled to be joining ATA and becoming part of an organization that is dedicated to making a positive impact on communities worldwide. I am passionate about empowering artisan communities, preserving culture, and facilitating sustainable community development, and I can’t wait to do so with ATA.”

Welcome to the team Lauren!

Pictured: 2023 eMRP Small Group Coaching

What’s Coming in April?

– On April 15th from 10:15-11:30am EST, join Carl Harrison as he presents his webinar, Decolonizing Design – Product Design from an Alternative Perspective. REGISTER HERE.

-What did the 2023 Canvas Home Small Grant winners achieve with their grants? Stay tuned to learn more!

-6 entrepreneurs sponsored by TFO Canada will be finishing their follow up coaching sessions with our mentors after attending the NY NOW Show. Wait to hear what they have learned!

Pictured: 2 youth discussing their experiences during the Komon A’tel Youth Forum