Himalayan Naari

Project: Income Generation for Women
Location: Chaukori and Munsiyari, Uttarakhand
Category: Empowerment and Income Generation

Building a Business with Traditional Artisans

IDS’s 2016 grant to Himalayan Naari was intended to provide start-up support and business building skills to the artisans as they worked to create a sustainable business. In the year prior to IDS’s support, the artisans had sold $5,000 worth of their hand-knitted products in the U.S. The goal was to increase sales by 40%. In fact, revenue tripled to $15,000. With design consultation, the Naari artisans have developed high quality products that are quite desirable in the U.S. market.

A major part of Naari’s business building efforts have been devoted to strengthening their market presence. With IDS funding, they have been able to complete a beautiful, highly professional website (www.himalayan-naari.in). The group is currently working on “market readiness”—developing proper permanent labels, customs information, and professional marketing materials for prospective retailers.

A second focus has been to strengthen the local leadership of Himalayan Naari. The group has completed the transition to a Leadership Team in Chaukori. Six local women are gradually assuming responsibility for managing the business. With support from the Field Coordinators, the six now lead the Naari general membership meetings.

Naari is developing cloud-based systems for orders, sales, and artisan payments. Field Coordinators are working with the local women to begin to utilize this system. Because of language challenges and the women’s rudimentary computer skills, this can often be a difficult process.

In February 2017, the leadership teams of Himalayan Naari based in the villages of Chaukori and Munsiyari held a three-day capacity building workshop called the Artisans Leadership Summit. This was an opportunity to network and share leadership skills between the two self-help groups. The members of Maati (the weaving group in Munsiyari), who have been involved in community organizing much longer than the knitters of Chaukori, led the workshop. Sessions focused on leadership, systems of organization, and community engagement.

IDS Coordinator: Nilesh Kothari
Project Manager: Kathleen Bollerud, Ph.D.

–2016 IDS annual report