Explore, Empower and Promote
Shega Crafts is a Social Enterprise registered as a business wing of TLH Ethiopia. It is designed to assure the quality of handicrafts in Ethiopia and to contribute to one of the world’s largest industries and the fastest growing sectors of global trade, tourism while empowering the local artisans.
Focusing mainly on artisan mothers and girls who live in poverty, Shega has aimed to empower them economically by exploring the relationship between similar schemes to foster future alliance opportunities besides promoting this creative sector.Shega also aims at supporting this creative sector to deliver eminence traditional crafts and functional wares for the rural, urban and international community through a primary and retail market.
Shega Initiative will work on Ethiopia’s artisan craft production skill, giving the country much potential to develop cultural tourism. Jewellery, embroidery, pottery, photo framework and leather work are the major ones among others. Shega will also establish a research center that will focus on developing the skills of local artisans to better benefit from their works.
Having the fact that 85% of the employed in the handicrafts business is the local community, where 75% are females; it needs high research based support from all concerned stakeholders and development partners.
The current intervention by Shega has resulted in bridging the capacity gap in the sector to a certain extent. However, since all the challenges of the sector cannot be addressed in limited projects, partners should continue supporting the project to enable artisan women to be self-resilient.
Taking the opportunity of the new legislation that encourages civil society’s engagement in a profit-making scheme, Shega Initiative is a legally registered with the clear long-term business plan. Shega has organized itself as a social enterprise, which is the more recent wave of businesses that have originated out of nonprofits or hybrid models that combine social values and commercial goals.
Since 2005 TLH Ethiopia’s has trained 1,800 beneficiaries who came from TLH Ethiopia network member organizations, partner organizations, government organizations, local and international NGOs. All beneficiaries have been trained of sewing, machine and hand embroidery, wood work, pottery, and leather works.
Shega’s prime partner Design lab will highly support the project by providing creative designs and brand management services.
Area of Focus: The Three Pillars Of Intervention
Shega as a Social Enterprise focused on three main areas to achieve its goals, which is essentially sets them apart from non profits:
Explore local cultural crafts and heritages: Exploring the various cultural customs and explore the relationship between similar schemes to foster future learning and collaboration and opportunities. Shega highly values partnership of Ethiopian handicraft family. To boost up the sector, Shega will launch different craft forums. Many handcrafters at Shega use entirely indigenous materials and don’t use non-traditional materials, and upcycle industrial materials. Shega will highly support the sector by backing it with researches, where new findings and craft technologies will be introduced
Empowerment of local artisans: Shega is an initiative that tries to fill the gap in crafting and to contribute to the well being of the society and empower local artisans with a vision of enhancing the Ethiopian craft in quality and helping underprivileged artisans to help themselves and their families.
With a notion of providing unique blueprints for future market-based endeavors, Shega believes that empowering the local artisans to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, and achieve internationally agreed goals. Empowering the target groups economically and to make them independent and generating income is the prime objective of the project which is also believed to bring stable employment and the ability to capture a greater share of a significant global market, and preservation of unique cultural assets. Moreover, crafts are a powerful tool to create catalytic impact on the lives of women, marginalized communities and social outcomes of entire families engaged in the sector.
Promoting Ethiopian Handicrafts: Besides producing quality handicrafts, Shega also gives high attention on making consumers aware of the product and image creation to add value to the product. To acquire new customers and retain the current customers, creating a link between cooperatives and their products with available markets will also be taken as one of the major deeds for the effectiveness of the initiative. Shega has launched a website where customers easily get updates on activities, products and purchase online. Moreover, Shega has set an Emporium where crafts are out for display and sell. In near future, Shega will introduce a franchise brand that could scale up to a broader market.
Ethiopia Handicraft Forum: The handicraft sector in Ethiopia is characterized by a subsistent, isolated & inefficient business with multiple problems. It is a creative sector producing traditional craft & functional wares for the rural & urban community through a primary & retail market.
Since handicrafts are local-specific, it had created great job opportunities especially in the rural areas, where there is no significant industry. It is very well known that Crafts by their nature utilize traditional skills and raw materials and require less capital investment than other sectors. They are labor intensive and an excellent means for income generation and economic development. Crafts have been used both for primary employment, especially in rural areas and for secondary employment during off-seasons in the agricultural cycle.
In the surveyed handicraft producer/retailers shows that the handicraft industry has become a source of an employment opportunity and income generation area for both the youths and females alike. As the survey reveals 75 % are females and the rest are males. Around 85% of the employed in the handicrafts business is from the local community. Source: Amhara Bureau of Culture, Tourism and Parks Development
Being one of the means to cultural tourism, individuals and organizations engaged in Ethiopian handicrafts has been solely working since today. Shega is now opening a forum where information could be exchanged, recourses could be mobilized, advocacies made and capacities could be built. Taking this as a pillar of the forum, with the keen consent of Ethiopian handicraft family the forum is formed and launched.
To learn more about Shega Crafts, please visit www.shegacrafts.com