A common theme through my travels is that when I’m somewhere along a dusty, unpaved road that sells, what looks to be authentic artisanal crafts, my first instinct is to touch it, then pick it up and admire it, and usually if it’s completely impractical to carry home, I’ll buy it.
I mentioned NEST in a previous post but wanted to revisit the non profit out of personal interest and also because I think what they’re doing is totally awesome. NEST searches for artisan businesses around the world that have the capacity to alleviate poverty, empower women, and promote peace. Once identified, the non profit collaborates with the artisans to meet capacity and quality demands for export, introducing their art form to markets that might not otherwise have access.
Capacity building programs are tailored to specific communities and artisan businesses, and include:
- business training: teaches basic business skills such as product development, financial literacy and marketing
- product development and design expertise: sources design experts to collaborate with artisan businesses to pair tradition with modern
- production facilities and safety: establishes safe working environments that can grow with increased production demands
- access to materials: connects artisans to suppliers
- English and literacy classes: provides on-going English and literacy tutoring to artisan leaders
- technology development: trains artisans on digital photography and email
- leadership development: conducts leadership training to ensure sustainability of community and artisan businesses
- microbartering loans: allows craftsmen to re-pay interest free loans in crafts they make rather than cash
With the goal of helping communities and artisans in developing economies become self-sufficient and sustainable, each NEST project, which ranges from 3 months to 3 years, first goes through a needs assessment, followed by a customized training program, market access through Maiyet and other retail brands, and on-going evaluation.
NEST is special because everyone wins; from the artisan and community, to the retailer and ultimately the consumer, it’s all good through NEST.
Thank you NEST for making our world wonderful!
LET ME KNOW, REPLY BELOW: Where in the world do you think has the most colourful traditional arts?