2008 - 2010
The Africa Craft Trust, as Aid to Artisans South Africa Trust, conducted craft development work with women-owned mohair weaving enterprises in Lesotho from January 2008 to March 2010. The Trust's overarching goal was to develop entrepreneurship for the Lesotho craft industry. Ronel Jordaan, a highly creative designer who has always been inspired by natural fibers, was hired as a product design consultant. She helped Lesotho artisans design new products that would sell both regionally and locally, thus generating more income for them and their families.
Key activities included product development and technical training workshops; tradeshow participation at regional shows such as SARCDA, Decorex, and Design Indaba in South Africa; the development of marketing materials; buyer trips; market readiness training programs such as Aid to Artisans Market Readiness Program (MRP) at the New York International Gift Fair, and the Trust's Access Markets for Profit (AMP) program, previously the Africa Market Readiness Program (AMRP), in Johannesburg; and specialized entrepreneur mentoring activities.
The total number of direct beneficiaries for the project was approximately 80 people, with indirect beneficiaries estimated between 300 and 600. Total sales generated throughout the program were almost a million Rand and weavers continue to generate income from new products and through their new market linkages and skills. Crucial qualitative impacts could be seen in the increased levels of confidence of artisans, as well as the revitalization of the mohair industry product on offer in Lesotho.
"We now look at proper expenses when we calculate pricing. We are more confident in running our business and manage it better."
Elelloang Basali, Teyateyaneng, Lesotho, March 2010.
"We are more organized and are able to make new designs. We able to check better quality. We train one another now on working new design."
Hatooa Mose Mosali, Teyateyaneng, Lesotho, March 2010.
"We didn't realize that when attending a tradeshow we have to prepare nearly a year before! This training and SARCDA teaches us so many things! I will teach everybody at home what I have learned"
MeMabasiea, Helang Basali, Lesotho, 2008.
"The scarves, developed by the Trust, we make from this top mohair sell incredibly quickly. These items have allowed us to increase our sales and diversify our stock. The training has helped us make safer our dying process."
-MeMamoqenelo, leader of Helang Basali, Teyateyaneng, Lesotho, 2009.