Artisan-Community Empowerment  REMIX 

SUMMARY

We aim to use a social business solution to spark a sustainable, symbiotic relationship between Namibian artisans and their communities.

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We aim to use  a social business solution to spark a sustainable, symbiotic relationship between Namibian artisans and their communities.

 

NEEDS ANALYSIS:

 The Namibian artisans that craft beautiful handcarved wooden frames and ostrich eggshell necklaces are finding it harder and harder to share their culture and innovations with the world. Moreover, they are made vulnerable and marginalized by factors that create a perfect storm to minimize and suppress their voices. Diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis disproportionately reduce the life expectancy of those living in nations in Namibia. With over 25% of the population living below $1 a day, the collective and individual voices of Namibians often fall silent on the ears of the global community. These artisans do not suffer alone; their families and communities also feel the effects. Our team believes that these barriers and issues can begin to be addressed to become a catalyst for future change.

 

PLAN OF ACTION:

We will create a long-term, self-sustaining cycle that simultaneously benefits both artisans and their communities.

First, we will use grant money to purchase African artwork at fair trade prices, guaranteeing each disadvantaged artisan an immediate profitable return for each endeavor by paying up-front. We will then sell this artwork on behalf of the artisans. To do so, we will establish in-roads with U.S. retailers to guarantee future sales through pre-ordering and contracts, ensuring consistent, no-risk returns for artisans.  This approach will create a stable market and ensure steady income, security, and power to support their families, all while preserving Namibian culture. 


Second, we will invest a portion of grant money and 100% of future profits in community development projects to address community-level challenges, especially environmental issues. The feature product of this Art Social Business is the PVC bracelet--a gorgeous Namibian design made from salvaged, recycled plastic--allowing ACE to promote a business model based on cleaning up the environment of a developing nation. We will follow up this intention and effect via partnerships with existing community development organizations in Namibia, which provide us with access to well-established mechanisms for resource delivery. For example, we have implemented the Ongandjera Solar Project's regular lunch program for 350 young learners, improving nutrition and education alike, through solar ovens and a food garden.

The cycle then repeats: purchase more artwork; pay artisans up-front; sell artwork; and reinvest revenues in their communities. Using a social business solution allows this cycle to perpetuate indefinitely, sustainably.


REQUIRED RESOURCES:

The 501(c)3 organization Promote Africa that we founded and run will provide an online store to sell African art globally. It will also provide NGO contacts and program experience to select and implement community development projects, as well as its group of 30 volunteers who are committed to this cause and idea. This group has already designed Art Product Tags and Press Kits, as well as identified the artwork and contacted the African artisan groups themselves. All that is still needed is money to initiate the cycle.

BUDGET:

Our team will use this grant to start the cycle in three ways: 

a) $1,500 toward (1): to purchasing African artwork and providing direct profit for partner artisans. Our goal is to provide sustainable sales volume of $2,500 annually.

b) $500 toward (2):  making in-roads with US retailers via marketing materials such as Press Kits as well as to add value to the artwork via Product Tags which showcase the goodwill and good effects behind the products.

c) $1000: for investing in projects addressing community-level challenges in lasting ways, with a focus on environmental education & agricultural sustainability.

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