Thursday, November 13, 2008
On Sunday I visited the technical center for the Association of Craft Producers (ACP), a local private (no NGO support), not for profit professional organization providing design, market and technical support services for low income craft producers. I was taken on a tour by Gabish Joshi, a wonderful young man who serves as the trading coordinator. He leads a team who manage all of the exports.
Most of the craft production occurs in the villages but the 43,000 sq.ft. technical center prepares raw materials, develops and tests prototypes, and provide space for the finishing of crafts. ACP maintains a full-time staff of 60 and employs over 200 producers in 30 groups in 15 districts around Nepal.
Since it’s inception in 1984, ACP has shifted from an NGO-based development approach to one that is more aligned with how the private sector works. This is very closely aligned with the ideals and values in my philosophy.
Three cool things about ACP:
1. Design Quality. Meera Bhatterai, Executive Director, has focused the organization on this and it is clearly evident in the products for sale at Dhukuti, their retail outlet in the Kupandole area of Patan.
2. The Environment. ACP is committed to protecting Nepal’s environment and has taken a number of proactive steps: waste water treatment center; rain water catchment system; change from kerosene-based to water-based printing inks; use of recycled paper; smoke free work environment; and, the avoidance of using hardwood or plastic in production.
3. Producer Benefits. ACP has provided more than 1200 producers with not only increased income but benefits as well: savings program; performance rewards; workplace cafeteria; continuing education; education allowance; loans; counseling; paid maternity leave; clothing, medical and household allowances; an emergency fund; and professional membership and fellowship.
Pretty cool, huh? Wait until you see the stuff they make…