PO Box: 11385
The Manushi Arts and Crafts, a founder member of the Fair Trade Group Nepal, was founded in 1991 as a non-government organisation in response to a demand from village women for practical help. Prior to becoming an independent organisation, Manushi was operating under the umbrella of the Centre for Women and Development. Manushi seeks to provide support to disadvantaged and rural women by introducing various skills that can be used to earn money, increase their self-reliance, and improve the living standards of their families. Manushi believes that through the development of entrepreneurship and by equipping them with marketable kills, women can be empowered and, thus, bring social change.
Manushi, at present, is carrying out various programmes ranging form non-formal adult literacy, micro-credit, food processing, and research and training on entrepreneurship and gender issues. Manushi Arts and Crafts is one of the components of Manushi. It concentrates on training for handicraft and entrepreneurship development. Manushi is producing and marketing clothes and home furnishings based on tie-dye techniques using allo and cotton fabrics. In addition, Manushi also helps to market goods, such as allo, Dhaka, and silver jewellery, produced by women's groups. Manushi also encourages its producers have already started their own workshops after being trained by Manushi.
The programme was funded by an international organisation, the International Council on Management of the Population Programme (ICOMP, Malaysia), beginning in 1991, but Manushi was able to generate sufficient income to run its handicraft component independently from 1993 and now the operations are at break-even point.
Manushi is primarily a gender-focussed organisation and has a wider objectives than production and marketing of handicrafts and promotion of entrepreneurship among women. It strives to consolidate data on women in Nepal, to create off-farm employment opportunities for women and encourage their entrepreneurial skills, and to undertake gender sensitisation and gender analysis for target groups at various levels. Manushi targets grass roots extension workers, grass roots, women, NGO leaders, development practitioners, researchers, government projects, and local organisations and NGOs.
It also encourages partnerships, collaboration, and joint action at local and national levels between NGOs and community groups working in environment and development and supports and strengthens existing networks to enhance and highlight women's roles in sound and sustainable development.
PRODUCTS AND MARKETING STRATEGY
Manushi entered the handicraft market after developing tie and dye based products ranging from kurta salwar to home furnishings and accessories targeting local Nepali consumers. Manushi also produces block printing, batik, and Dhaka/allo products.
Member Organisation of Fair Trade Group, Nepal
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