‘Ewamu’ Project Report Patrick Brown & Andreea Savu
Kampala, Uganda April 2014
Many thanks to all our sponsors who made this trip possible
Contents 1. Executive Summary
Background to key partners
2. Mission Statement
3. Trip Context
3.1 SIID Assessment 3.2 WaterMade activity
4. Project Aims
5.1 Project structure 5.2 Groups visited 5.3 Team roles
6. Research Summary
7. Research Findings
7.1 Product research 7.2 Focus group 7.3 Interviews
8. Success of aims
9. Concluding Summary
10. Expenditure Breakdown
1. Executive Summary WaterMade is a social enterprise branch of The Long Well Walk (LWW), in collaboration with Kid’s Club Kampala (KCK). The purpose of this report is to summarize the findings and results of a research and capacity building project carried out by the WaterMade team between 16th and 30th March 2014 in Kampala, Uganda, and make suggestions for the continued development of the Ewamu project. The purpose of the project was to improve the standard and quality of living for producer organisations by improving the marketability of products and long-term sustainability of WaterMade. This will assist WaterMade in achieving its aims of enterprise, empowerment and development in vulnerable communities.
Background to key partners and activities WaterMade: Social enterprise run by student volunteers from The University of Sheffield. It currently sells jewellery and crafts made by women’s groups linked with KCK through its Ewamu project. Ewamu means ‘Community’ in Luganda, the local language of the groups. After purchase, the revenue from this is split 50/50 between LWW and KCK. KCK then reinvest their 50% into the development of the women’s groups. WaterMade is currently trading through retailers, craft fairs and e-commerce, with the aim of improving the socio-economic status of its producers, and helping to achieve the charitable aims of its partners. www.watermade.org.uk Company number: 80680531 Kid’s Club Kampala: Founded in 2010, KCK works with 17 communities and over 4000 children every day, in some of the poorest and most vulnerable parts of Kampala. KCK set up several women’s projects to help achieve their long-term goals of poverty alleviation. WaterMade is working with KCK to provide the sustainable purchase of craft goods from 7 women’s groups in these communities, helping them to grow their enterprise and improve their standard of living. http://kidsclubkampala.org/ Charity number: 1152451 (UK) S5914/8496 (Uganda)
The Long Well Walk: Sheffield based charity funding and implementing small, transparent water projects across Africa. This activity is being promoted through a 2-year walk from Sheffield to Cape Town starting in March 2014. LWW founded WaterMade in September 2013 as a source of sustainable funding for the long-term implementation of its goals. http://thelongwellwalk.org/ Charity number: 1149446 Sheffield Institute for International Development: Interdisciplinary research institution operating within The University of Sheffield. SIID carried out an impact assessment to evaluate the ethical implications of WaterMade’s operations. This research highlighted areas for improvement which have informed this project. http://siid.group.shef.ac.uk/
2. Project Mission Statement This project will work with KCK and the product producers to improve the positive economic, social impact of WaterMade, and improve the quality and standard of living of the producers through enterprise and empowerment. It will do this by improving the marketability of the jewellery and craft products, innovating the production process, and transferring vital skills and knowledge. It will also provide the research needed for WaterMade to grow responsibly in the future through continued partnership with KCK.
3. Context of trip 3.1. SIID Impact Assessment: 18th Sept. – 9th Oct 2013 This research provided a baseline analysis of the women’s craft groups, and the potential impact of WaterMade. It consisted of focus groups with group leaders and semi-structured interviews with a sample of group members. It concluded that, prior to joining the women’s groups, the household income of most participants was insufficient to meet basic needs. A 4
majority of these households engaged in varied income generation activities which were generally low-skill and low-paid. All households showed signs of vulnerability to shocks such as seasonality of markets and medical emergencies, and were forced to prioritize their spending on subsistence consumption needs. To minimize this vulnerability Kids Club Kampala assisted several women’s groups in forming income generation initiatives. This research focused on the activity of 7 groups involved in craft making. SIID identified that the household income of most women interviewed had improved as a result of the craft products, but they were still reliant on KCK for sales, and KCK admitted they had found it difficult to sell large quantities in the UK. Overall it was concluded that there were ongoing issues which needed to be addressed. SIID report concluded that WaterMade could increase their impact by:
1. Ensuring all marketing initiatives should reflect the positive elements of female empowerment and entrepreneurship 2. Increasing market reliability by: monitoring sales and demand, producing goods for off-season (winter) and researching sustainable methods of transport 3. Improving product standardization
3.2 WaterMade activity and Reason for Project
WaterMade has been selling KCK jewellery and craft products since Oct. 2013. The company has made over £2000 to date. The jewellery has been sold at craft fairs, in shops, at events and online. The lack of standardization of product sizes and colours makes selling to retailers in bulk and selling online difficult, due to the differences in colour and size of individual pieces, so research would have to be undertaken on standards and trends in the UK market.
The WaterMade team identified that by understanding and sharing the story of the women’s groups, they could better achieve their aims, and this would be accomplished best through direct interaction with the producers Other products, including shirts, headbands, and laptop cases were identified as new product ideas which could be made by the producers and sold in the UK. To do this, the women would need new equipment such as sewing machines, which would be cost prohibitive for them without fundraising support Carrying out research on the Ugandan market and identifying potential market gaps or services through consultation with the women was seen as key to sustainability – the idea that the women wouldn’t have to rely on WaterMade for sales but could continue to comfortably provide them with quality products Fairtrade certification was identified as potentially valuable as access to wider networks and markets could provide sustainability for the women
4. Aims of project Primary aim: Improving the standard and quality of living for producer organisations by improving the marketability of products and long-term sustainability of WaterMade All four aims for this project will contribute towards the success of this primary aim
1. Improve marketability of products
This ongoing aim will be carried out in the UK and Uganda It has been highlighted as the most important aim for improving sales in the UK and subsequently boosting impact. This includes market research, changing designs, introducing standardizations in size, colour and style, and improving quality of materials. This aims to create a product that is
attractive to consumers on its own merit, and not just as a charitable product
2. Collect data to be used for WaterMade marketing
This includes videos, photos and data gathered in the Kampala area, with KCK and the women’s groups. The material aims to convey a positive message of empowerment and opportunity, rather than a negative one of poverty and vulnerability The material will be used for WaterMade’s UK marketing campaign, and for project write ups/presentations/evaluations Through interacting directly with the producers, it will also help inform WaterMade’s needs assessment and allocation of funds to meet aim 3
3. Innovate production process and empower producers
This includes providing sewing machines, mobile phones, other items lacking from production process based on a needs assessment by KCK and WaterMade Through quantifying current production rates and WaterMade’s current sales estimations, bulk orders of materials should be arranged from suppliers in Kampala WaterMade should use its sales analysis, and further research on the production process, to provide a monthly or per quarter minimum order to the women’s groups. This will ensure financial sustainability and stable production
4. Gather research on nature of groups, and data needed to apply for Fair Trade certification
Aim to gather data necessary to apply to FLO-Cert (Fairtrade international), World Fair Trade Organisation, Fair for Life, or a combination of these Evaluate whether Fair Trade certification would be possible or desirable for the women’s groups
5. Methodology 5.1 Project structure All 7 craft-making womenâ€™s groups were visited by the WaterMade team. Each group is made up of 8-15 members, and included several established hierarchies including a chairperson, a treasurer and a vice-chairperson. The 7 groups are spread across several different areas in Kampala, and can be categorized as urban, peri-urban or rural. Each group was visited twice, the first time for approximately 2 hours to meet the women, conduct interviews, and gather data on products. The second visit was more brief, and focused on thanking the women for their help and presenting them with capacity building items. Market research and sourcing of new items took place throughout Kampala during the week, as well as team de-briefs and strategy planning sessions.
Group Katanga Mulago 1 Mulago 22 Lunguja Mutundwe Komamboga Namavundu
Type Urban Urban Urban Peri-urban Peri-urban Peri-urban Rural
No. of Members 1 14 14 13 8 10 11 8
This is the membership number given by group leaders during the focus group, however when visiting the groups it was found that new members has already joined (see interview 11)
Mulago was originally one group but had recently decided to split into 2 separate groups due to expanding membership. The two groups were able to meet together at the same location
5.2 Team roles
Patrick Brown – Team Leader:
Responsible for overall management and implementation of project Carrying out interviews and facilitating focus groups with group leaders Producing project report
Andreea Savu – Market Research and Product Design
Carried out research on market trends prior to trip Gathered quantitative and qualitative data on production process: cost and quantity of materials, access to markets, production shocks etc. Carried out assessment on production needs ie. access to paper cutters, sewing machines, seasonality of materials
Bobby Allen – Photography and Marketing
Gathered visual and audio material for the promotion of WaterMade, LWW and KCK Will be responsible for producing marketing materials and presentations after project completion
Justin Pryce – Deputy Team Leader
Assisted Andreea in gathering data and performing needs assessment Supervised interviews and focus groups
6. Research Summary The most significant and consistent finding that WaterMade found was the lack of local market available for the crafts. Many women stated that they still found it difficult to make ends meet and several were still involved in other remuneration strategies. Apart from some more practical products (such as sandals and textiles) the women relied almost exclusively on KCK for any sort of consistent market for their crafts. Issues of efficiency and economic vulnerability were clear when talking to the women about the production process. Value addition was a big problem; many women stated that local buyers would drive down the price based on their own knowledge of material costs, without understanding the labour intensive value of hand made gifts. Another issue was that often some production processes were paid for outside of the women’s groups, such as embroidery of textiles (which couldn’t be completed by hand) or bulk cutting of paper for beads. Taking advantage of economies of scale was limited due to capital access – the women bought and sold materials individually on the local market in small amounts and were thus unable to pool resources to buy large quantities of materials. Mobility was also an issue between women’s groups. Although both Mulago groups were geographically close, and could thus transfer knowledge between groups, more rural groups like Namavundu and Lunguja were more limited in their access to markets, resources, materials and training. It was also found that the groups played an important social role in the women’s lives. Many saw the groups as a social outlet where they could talk about problems and relax, and this appeared more obvious in the less monetised, more rural groups. In the slum groups, Katanga the longest running centre, still struggled to diversify and some members expressed frustration at their lack of success. Mulago, the other urban slum area, had been very successful in diversifying into textiles and other jewellery products, and as such the group had expanded to accommodate new members. It was clear that many women had embraced the transformative rhetoric of the craft groups (‘a better life through crafts’) and were willing to sacrifice immediate income for long-term community goals.
7. Research Findings 7.1 Product Research Aims:
To provide detailed information on the production process of the crafts. To assess the access to markets and the demand for crafts in Kampala To suggest new product ideas according to demand in the UK market and the availability of materials To carry out an assessment on the production needs in terms of training and equipment.
Initially focus groups were conducted at each site with members of the craft groups to gain an understanding of the production process, cost and quantity of the materials Research was carried out on the local market in order to identify the demand for the crafts As a result of the focus groups, a strategy meeting was held with KCK. The demand of the UK market for crafts was discussed and a consensus was reached on starting the production of new products Data gathered was used to inform a needs assessment and subsequent purchase of capacity building items
Overview of group structure and outputs: Katanga Katanga was the first women’s craft group, formed in 2010. Katanga was the biggest producer of paper bead jewellery and specialised in one strand bracelets and single colour necklaces. They also produced other crafts such as textiles (aprons, small purses and bags), palm leaf tablemats and wooden baskets, but in lower quantities. They had access to a sewing machine, however it belonged to one member of the group and she was the only one with access to it.
Namavundu Namavundu was formed in 2011. They specialized in banana and palm leaf based products such as bags, purses and tablemats. They also made rugs, textiles (aprons), satin cushions as well as more experimental garments. One member of the group had completed a fashion course and with her help they were trying to diversify their range of products as well as experiment with their skills and creativity. Lunguja Lunguja was formed in 2012. They specialized in palm and banana leaf based products, especially mats, baskets, bags and purses. They were also making knitted tablecloths and were learning to make paper bead jewellery. Mutundwe Their production was specialized in sandals, bark cloth earrings, glass bead jewellery and hard-case material clutches and bags. They also produced textile wallets, bean necklaces and banana leaf paintings. They had one member who had experience and training in making high quality bags, and members trained in making sandals. Mulago 1 Mulago was first formed in 2012. They initially started by making paper bead jewellery (mainly twisty bracelets and 3 strand necklaces), however the group expanded and they now had 3 people training in textiles and one trained teacher. This encouraged the group to focus more on textiles: patched aprons, purses, skirts, traditional African shirts, dresses, headbands and hard-case purses. Besides this, they also made baskets and worked with glass beads to make animal shaped key rings. Mulago 2 Mulago 2 was formed from a split in the original Mulago group. The group mainly focuses its production around palm and banana leaf products such as tablemats and coasters, purses, bags and pencil cases. Mulago 2 also produced more complexly designed paper bead jewellery such as large bead/material necklaces and textiles (bags and oven gloves). Komamboga Their main production in terms of crafts was sandals and palm/banana leaf products. They made mats, palm leaf purses and banana leaf baskets. They also
made seed necklaces. The group had access to one sewing machine, however, it belongs to one member and she was the only one with access to it, so they rarely made textile products. Within the group there is also one woman who had her own business selling spices. They have recently received training from KCK and were learning how to make paper beads.
Craft production: Procuring the materials All of the groups were sourcing their materials from the local market such as shops and vendors, with the exception of two groups; Namavundu was collecting all of their fibres and banana leaves from their local area and Lunguja was partially sourcing leaves from the trees within the community. However this was not sufficient during dry seasons, and they often had to buy more leaves from the local market. Availability and cost From the focus group it was also found that there were significant seasonal changes in the availability and cost of raw materials: palm and banana leaves, seeds and beans. The cost of materials were higher during dry seasons and certain holidays or celebrations due to market demand and scarcity. This had an effect on the production of crafts: it limited the quantity of raw materials the women could buy as they did not have the necessary money to buy more when materials were cheaper. The only exception is Mulago 2 which bought palm leaves in bulk during rainy seasons. Another strategy which Komamboga adopted in their group was producing certain products seasonally: they made baskets out of banana leaves during wet season, and mats from palm leaves during dry season. Achieving economies of scale While buying in bulk reduced the cost of raw materials, the benefits were not consistent amongst all centres. According to Muntundwe and Mulago 1 & 2 the benefits from buying in bulk were high. However, groups such as Lunguja and Namavundu indicated that the reductions in prices would not be that significant. This variance may be due to the geographical position of the groups, as it appears that more urban groups would gain higher benefits (bigger reductions in price) from buying materials in larger quantities from vendors than more rural groups. The rest of the groups were not able to provide an answer as they have not yet attempted to buy in bulk.
Material sourcing strategy An important aspect investigated throughout the research was the strategy of the groups in sourcing raw materials. This was primarily observed at the main centres producing paper bead jewellery: Katanga, Mulago 1 & 2. If there was a strategy in place which focused on the outcome of the final product (colour, design) and a higher selectivity in terms of procuring the raw materials, then there would be visible impacts upon the quality of the jewellery. Katanga heavily relied on the accessibility of paper colours offered by the market, with little strategy when sourcing the materials. The results are visible in the final products from Katanga (necklaces, bracelets), which lack consistency in their design and quality. Conversely, Mulago 1 and Mulago 2 had a more strategized approach when procuring their materials from the market since they sorted the paper to have a larger range of colours which appealed to different markets. Furthermore, they selected the size and colours of glass beads by taking into consideration the final design of the jewellery items. This process was more time consuming, but did significantly improve the quality of the products. Production process The manufacturing process of the crafts remained similar throughout almost all the groups, but some groups had a few different approaches that improved the quality of the products. An important step adopted by Mulago 1 & 2, which significantly improved the quality of the products, was varnishing. With regards to paper bead products, adding three to four layers over the beads instead of two created a shiny texture that emphasized the colour of the paper. The only drawback with extra varnishing was the increase in production cost. Quality control One issue, which was continuously raised throughout the research, was the importance of quality control in the production process. It is important for WaterMade that the products made by the women and sold in the UK reflect a standard product size, quality and design. Research found out that out of all seven groups, five of them had at least one person whose additional role is to carry out the quality control of all products. Exceptions were Mulago 2 and Komamboga where a KCK volunteer was performing the quality control. Furthermore, research found that while the groups had set dimensions and sizes for their products (purses, necklaces, bracelets) they were not using any utensils to measure them. In most of the groups, with the exception of Katanga, Mulago 1 & 2, all measurements are done by eye or by measuring against the body (chest, arm
length, etc.). For example, Mutundwe used the feet sizes of each of the members in order to measure the sole of the sandals they produce. Regarding the lengths of paper bead necklaces and bracelets, the measurements are recorded on arm sizes or neck sizes. Only two groups measured according to the number of beads an item should have as part of its design. This created problems as the consistency of lengths was thus dependent on the consistency of paper bead sizes. This method could however be beneficial to use if a rigorous control was maintained over the shape and size of paper beads against default measurements in either cm/inch.
Craft Sales Focus group interviews indicated that while the production process of crafts was at a fast pace, the demand and the access to markets was consistently imposing difficulties amongst the groups. As such, irregular selling of the crafts caused a chain of effects on the project. Firstly, the lack of demand on the local market created a dependent relation on KCK and WaterMade as primary buyers. This in turn was reflected in the production rates of crafts as it considerably reduced the amount produced. Furthermore, not having a steady quota of each type of products manufactured within a set timeframe resulted in the inability of the groups to buy materials in larger quantities which would reduce the cost of the production and thus increase their profit. Consequently, the income generated from the production of crafts fluctuated and discouraged groups to invest in raw materials for new products as a return profit was not guaranteed. Local market Research revealed that there was a considerable market saturation of craft products in Kampala. It was not possible for the groups to access craft markets or shops as they had no contacts within the establishments and the shops were fully supplied by other producers. Nevertheless data gathered from research revealed that even if with little success, craft sales still took places via informal channels such as selling at local churches and hawking (door-to-door). Unfortunately the products were quite expensive for locals, even when they appreciated the quality of the crafts. In order to increase demand, the women had tried to create promotions and reductions in prices by selling sets of jewelry (earrings, necklaces and bracelets) but this had not proved very successful. Out of all the crafts produced, sandals provided the most stable income for the women, with an average of 50 to 250 pieces sold a month depending on the quality
of the materials used. The only groups producing sandals were Komamboga and Mutundwe and their approach was relatively similar in terms of production. Komamboga manufactured only the leather straps embellished with glass beads and they used a local service to attach them to a prefabricated sole, and then sold the finished product. Mutundwe used a local service to make the sole and later attached straps. Mutundwe were able to produce sandals of two standards. The cheaper and lower standard was more popular on the local market.
UK Market WaterMade’s sales emphasized that there was some demand for African, handmade crafts on the market. Financial records suggest that jewelry items were the most successful and were appealing to a larger variety of target audiences. Basic one-strand paper bead and seed bracelets had consistently been the best sellers. Furthermore, it was observed that customers were buying certain combinations of colours in either bright/pastel multi-colours or only in one colour. Necklaces had also registered significant sales, especially medium length sizes which appealed to an older female market.
Future Recommendations for WaterMade and KCK 1. Having a strategy in place for the women’s groups before sourcing the materials could improve the production process by making it more organized. In this sense a greater selectivity for raw materials in terms of colours will influence the quality of the final product. WaterMade suggest more selectivity with:
The colours of the paper The quality of clasps (metallic ones recommended) The colour and size of glass beads (metallic and clear colours recommended - medium and small size) Pattern of fabrics
2. Share the knowledge amongst groups in terms of the manufacturing process. Adding 3 to 4 layers of varnish to paper beads could significantly increase their appearance and quality. 3. Produce standardized measurements for the crafts across all groups. The groups should be provided with appropriate equipment (rulers, paper
cutters, etc.) in order to accomplish this (from WaterMade profit reinvestments). 4. More rigorous quality controls should be set in place and all centres should have at least one person from within the group designated to carry out the role. Additionally, KCK should re-check the products according to the quality standards discussed with WaterMade. 5. WaterMade to provide a quarterly order to women’s groups. This should be for a minimum amount to provide financial stability, and should be provided 3 months in advance of product delivery to the UK. 6. Capacity building items provided by WaterMade should allow continued diversification into textile items, and potentially tailoring services.
Designation of capacity building items:
Mulago 1 was given a large sewing machine as their group contained one member who had been trained in tailoring and textile design, and 3 members who were currently taking a course in using sewing machines. A deal was made between Mulago 1 & 2 whereby those more experienced in textile design in Mulago 1 would teach those in Mulago 2 with less experience, and Mulago 2 would be willing to lend Mulago 1 their paper cutter if needed
Mulago 2 was given a large sewing machine and a paper cutter. This reflected their new product range which combined paper bead jewellery and textiles, and also the size of their group and their past ability to standardize and diversify their products to a high standard.
Namavundu was given a large sewing machine, as they had previously made textile products but their machine had broken, and their group contained a trainee designer
Mutundwe was given a large sewing machine as, although their group was small, it was clearly highly skilled, and many members of the group expressly requested a sewing machine to help them diversify into textiles
Katanga received a small sewing machine and a paper cutter. This would enable them to learn the basic skills required to use a sewing machine, and allow them to produce more paper bead products which had always been their specialisation 17
Komamboga was also given a small sewing machine and a paper cutter, to help them diversify and improve the quality of their products
Lunguja was given a small sewing machine. They did not currently produce paper beads but wished to diversify into other products and, most importantly, receive training. WaterMade recommended to KCK that more training was provided for that group
7.2 Group Leader Focus Group
1 focus group was carried out with the WaterMade team, KCK UK director and representatives (generally the chairperson) from 8 women’s groups (including one non-craft group) Not all women responded to every question, and only a sample of responses are provided Centre names have been used in place of the women’s names The purpose of the focus group was to get an insight into the overall structure and operation of the groups, any difficulties they face, look at how groups work together to achieve aims, gauge awareness of Fair Trade and talk about new product ideas A translator was present throughout A full transcript of the focus group is available
Findings Group formation and leadership: Mulago 1 stated her group had formed organically, with her as the initial leader and teacher, which had led to her being selected as chairperson. Namavundu stated she had been making tablemats before the craft groups with a few others, and when KCK prompted them to form a group the others chose her as a leader because she knew how to best make the items. For Katanga, Lunguja and Mutundwe, each leader had previously been volunteering with children’s groups through KCK, and when KCK planned the women’s initiatives, other women in the group selected them as leaders based on their skills and leadership
Responsibilities as leaders: Mulago 1 stated that her main responsibility was carrying out market research to see what items were selling on the local market. Namavundu said her main responsibility was ensuring other members felt motivated and kept coming to group sessions. She said: ‘For you as a leader if they (the members) give up, and you also give up as a leader, you find that the group will never grow up’.
New members: Katanga’s membership was 5000USH, paid after the women was accepted by group discussion. For Mutundwe membership was free but each woman had to buy their own materials and learn how to make the items. In Komamboga membership was also free but prospective members had to agree to some rules and regulations: ‘She must be a good time manager, must always be present, must always come with materials, and no romance in the group!’ Namavundu had a more expensive fee of 10,000USH, as well as rules and regulations. This was because members had joined in the past for free but had not done any work.
Membership fees and savings: Namavundu gathered their higher membership fee in an informal savings account which they used to buy group materials and provide interest free loans for members when they had financial difficulties. In Mutundwe, they operated a SACCO account whereby all money made from crafts was lent out to each person according to a rota
All groups had a treasurer who kept financial records of all sales. However it was unclear whether this was only for KCK (and WaterMade sales) or for all sales, as later research showed that many women specialised in certain products and/or sold items individually, and the prices were often subject to bartering, which would make full records difficult.
Cross-group communication: All group leaders met together at the KCK offices on the last Saturday of every month. Later it was discovered that most groups lived quite far apart geographically, and product ideas and other information was communicated by a KCK volunteer specifically responsible for overseeing the women’s groups.
Mutundwe took products to the local market. Lunguja and Katanga stated most of their sales came from people admiring them and buying while they were making them. Namavundu had tried taking goods to local supermarkets, but the demand was low. They had more success ‘hawking’ (walking door to door). Mulago 1 mentioned the importance of advertising in increasing their sales: ‘When someone is walking around wearing a necklace, others can see the necklace and admire it’. Most women agreed that they had difficulty selling mainly due to how expensive the materials were to buy individually, and consequently people were not willing to pay a good price. There were other problems in sourcing materials; Katanga mentioned that economising and buying duplicate varnish (of a lower quality), tended to produce products of a lesser quality – thus they were stuck either paying for expensive varnish and charging more for the products which people were not willing to buy, or buying cheaper varnish and charging less for products people were not willing to buy. Mulago 1, who made lots of banana fibre crafts such as tablemats and
purses, said that it had recently been a dry season and this had made the fibres hard to get. When asked if buying in bulk reduced the price of materials, all women stated ‘not that much’, however they added that the fact they all made different products, and found it difficult to communicate and travel, was the main reason this hadn’t been investigated.
Sourcing of materials:
This varied between groups. In Komamboga and Mutundwe the whole group decided what materials to buy, and the chairperson was responsible for gathering money and buying the materials. In Namavundu, the chairperson, secretary and treasurer all went to buy crafts. This was mainly to minimise accusations of misplaced funds from other members if materials turned out to be more expensive than usual. In Lunguja all members bought crafts individually.
Fair Trade and networks: None of the women had heard of Fair Trade or NAWOU3. Some had heard about UWONET4 on the radio, but were unsure what it was exactly. After explaining Fair Trade in more detail, the women were very curious to find out about the cost and benefits of Fair Trade, as well as what products Fair Trade could help them sell. The KCK UK director was concerned this could cause unrealistic expectations among the women, and explained to them that the Fair Trade questions were purely for research purposes. Ideas for the future: When asked what one thing they would change about the groups, having access to markets was the underlying and most consistent answer, however many women also answered with reference to their groups overall aims: 3 4
National Association of Women’s Groups in Uganda Ugandan Women’s Network
Namavundu: ‘our goal is that every member will have cattle of their own… we want every member to get a farm on the land. We want the project to grow large’. Mulago 2: ‘We always want to seek out knowledge’. Katanga: ‘we want to see that the things we do are helping them (the group) develop themselves and are beneficial to them because they are getting the crafts to help their children. We even think in the future we can teach our children so they have a good life through crafts. That is our dream’. When asked what products they would like to make in the future, Mulago 1 and Komamboga stated they would like to make more textile products but lacked the sewing machines. Namavundu and Mutundwe also mentioned that if they had more money they would buy a sewing machine. Lunguja said they would like more training to make more products. Katanga said they would like to open up an agricultural project. Mulago 2 said they needed more capital for materials.
19 interviews were carried out across the 7 centres Members were briefed as a group on the purpose of the research and the structure of the interviews, and were then given the opportunity to volunteer themselves 2 or three members were selected from each group, depending on the group size Volunteers were briefed again on the purpose of the research, given the opportunity to ask questions, and were asked to sign a consent form for the use of their information A few of the interviews took place in English, but most in Luganda. A local translator was provided by KCK A full transcript of all interviews is available
Findings ‘Emily’ – Katanga Emily had been encouraged to join the craft groups by the group chairperson. She had previously been living in Sudan where she was working in a hotel, but had moved back to Kampala (it wasn’t clear why). She said she was very happy with the craft project as money coming in helped her solve problems like paying school fees for her children. She added it was entirely her responsibility to look after the kids and pay their school fees as her husband was very ‘disorganised’. Apparently, before the crafts Emily used to sell charcoal, but her husband ‘ate’ all the capital. However, all of the craft money spending was decided by Emily herself, and the husband was given a small stipend to keep himself. The majority of the craft money went on the children. One of the main motivating factors behind the craft work appeared to be that Emily had never attended school, but had a strong desire to earn enough money to help her children: ‘She doesn’t want her children to be the same as she is, the same situation as she is. What she wants her children to be at least somehow good, not like her, when they’ve grown up’. Craft money had also allowed her to diversify her income: with the money she had bought some goats and was now rearing them. Emily added that it was very hard for her to find a market for her crafts locally. As well as saying there was no market, she also said that being a woman, her mobility, and thus her ability to sell, was limited because her husband wouldn’t allow her to travel far from home. Finally she added that the craft groups had allowed her to learn many new skills and increased her personal comfort.
‘Sophia’ - Katanga
Sophia heard about the women’s groups through other women who were spreading the word about KCK. Before joining the groups Sophia was a housewife and relied entirely on her husband for income. Since joining she had been able to save a little and provide some household income herself. This was particularly important when her husband was not working. She also stated she was currently pregnant, that she wasn’t staying in a good condition, and she was relying on the craft money to help her. As well as this, she said she didn’t have enough materials 23
(capital) to make the crafts profitable, and therefore they couldn’t be profitable enough to provide for her family. Sophia had stopped attending school around age 14 and she said that not having completed her studies, due to coming from a poor background, was a main reason she had been unable to find another job. She also added that there were social benefits to being part of the craft groups: ‘She always gets good friends and she’s always feeling comforted and the more she can get knowledge from others’.
‘Lily’ – Katanga Lily had been encouraged to join the craft groups by KCK. Before that she had been making and selling maize on roadsides, however this was not enough to meet her basic needs. At the beginning, she enjoyed the freedom she felt from being part of the craft groups, but she was currently frustrated by it due to the lack of markets, which she added was the main problem with the groups. She also said that she was frustrated with the group chairperson who was deciding for other group members what they would make during sessions, and also controlled the use of the paper cutter, and thus the bead making. Lily clearly faced a lot of challenges in her day-to-day life. She had many children, most of them very young, and her husband was too poor to support them at all. They had previously been evicted from a property by the landlord due to money issues. The money from the crafts was currently the only household income Lily had, and its inconsistency and low amount meant she could not save any money to help her diversify her income. Lily was currently unsure whether she would be able to benefit from the women’s groups, but hoped things would improve.
‘Laura’ – Namavundu Along with Katanga, Namavundu was one of the first KCK centres. Laura was the chairperson of the group and had previously sold crafts to the KCK UK director. Her husband was also the KCK lead volunteer in their community. Previous to the craft groups, Laura has found some work as a tailor but her sewing machine had broken (it was later found out this would have been very expensive to fix). Laura had seen an increase in income from the craft work, and largely used the money to feed and keep a cow that had been donated to the community by KCK. Namavundu was the
only rural centre visited, and Laura’s family relied mostly on farming the land. She stated the craft income was particularly helpful in protecting against household shocks such as child illness. Although stating that the market for crafts was seasonal, she added that being part of a group has helped her sell and save more. The extra money coming in from the crafts had also had knock on effects at home; Laura was solely in charge of household spending decisions: ‘Before she joined the groups she could always wait on the husband to do anything at home; to buy the stuff concerning the home, but now that she has money when she need clothes she just buys. If you want to work on yourself as a woman you just get into your pocket and do that. If the school fees are not sufficient for the kids she just gets that money from the crafts and that pays for her kids’. Laura also said that if she was able (through having enough capital) she would purchase a larger plot of land in the area which could be used as a meeting place for the groups, and could accommodate more members (they currently met outside Laura’s home).
‘Isabelle’ - Namavundu Isabelle was an older member of the group who had been mobilised to join by the chairperson, Laura. Her children had also been sponsored to go to school by KCK. Before joining the craft groups Isabelle did farming/digging work for people in the area, and also gathered firewood to sell. She had 5 children and was a single mother. She stated that she had provided for her children by always working hard, and had come to rely some on remittances as her sons grew up. Isabelle was very positive about the social aspects of the crafts groups, stating that it helped her stand on her own as a woman, and that she would like to see the group continue to work and grow united. She added at the end that the difficulty of not having a fixed market was the main problem with the groups.
‘Amelia’ – Lunguja Amelia had been invited into the craft group by the KCK head volunteer in that area. Before joining the groups Amelia had been a housewife and had relied entirely on her husband for income. She said that the craft groups had kept her
from becoming idle, and had allowed her to pay school fees for her children, send some remittances to her parents in a village outside Kampala, and even lend out money to support her fellow group members. The extra income from the crafts also gave her more control over household spending decisions, and now she and her husband sat down together and decided household expenditure. If her income increased in the future she planned to go back to school and study nursing. The social aspects of the group was very important for Amelia; she said that talking to the other women about her issues helped to relieve worries, and that if there was one thing she could change about the groups it would be mobilising more women to join: ‘She could always walk home to home, door to door telling them the goodness in crafts’.
‘Sophie’ - Lunguja Sophie had joined the group through having children in kids club. Before that she depended entirely on money from her husband who worked as a groundskeeper, however this work was very seasonal. Sophie and her husband decided together how to use their household income. She was able to use the income from the craft groups to cater for her kids, and buy some things for herself. Her biggest difficulty was paying for hospital treatment for one of her children who had a kidney problem. Her other 3 children were sponsored through school by KCK, and she found she could help pay the hospital bills by walking door to door selling her crafts. She also occasionally sold some clothes found at the local market. The market for this was very limited however, and she often walked very long distances without making any sales. Sophie was pleased with the social aspects of the group and the transfer of knowledge she had gained from being in it. If there was one thing she could change it would be to find a trainer to teach them how to make better quality crafts, as this would improve their marketability.
‘Hannah’ - Lunguja As chairperson, Hannah said her main roles consisted of seeing what was selling locally and securing training for the group. She had previously worked with a KCK
volunteer to improve their products, and had also started contacting women from Mulago centre as they were producing more ‘classy’ crafts. Hannah had become chairperson when the previous chairperson has stepped down due to other commitments. Before the craft groups Hannah had operated a stall selling tomatoes, although this did not generate a sufficient income. The biggest difference between her previous activity and the crafts was that now she was making enough money to pay her children’s school fees. Although the market for the crafts was often low, Hannah said the group was able to take advantage of demand and raise the prices if people in the area came looking for crafts. Providing materials for items was also a challenge, as she would often not have enough start up capital to complete larger products, like baskets. Hannah’s husband worked seasonally as a builder, and when he wasn’t working the family struggled to pay school fees and rent. Paying for hospital treatment for her children was also difficult; when her husband was working they could afford to take the children to hospital. If he was not they would have to medicate them from home. Hannah felt her biggest challenge was looking after her children, and as a woman she saw this as her main purpose. The crafts helped somewhat with these difficulties, and had even enabled Hannah to purchase a pig for her home, which had recently given birth to piglets. Joining the craft groups had also enabled Hannah to make new friends, and expand her networks, for example by travelling to the KCK offices once a month or attending special women’s events held by KCK. This helped her think of new ideas for her own group.
‘Ava’ – Mutundwe Before joining the craft groups, Ava had worked on her own crafts and was approached by the chairperson to join the groups. The chairperson told her that KCK could find a market for their crafts. Ava was sceptical and said she didn’t take the craft work that seriously, but she enjoyed relaxing with the group and making the crafts. To support herself, Ava had seasonal work as a party decorator and caterer for a company. If she was able to make enough money from that and the crafts she hoped to open her own decorating business on some family land. Her mother had done decorating before her, but was getting old and Ava said she could continue the business and take advantage of her mother’s markets. Her husband was a engineer, although he often found it hard to raise enough money to
keep the household. She also said that often her plans to start work were restricted by her husband: ‘Whatever thing I want to do at home, I first ask permission from the husband, and sometimes he’s like don’t. Don’t do that. Don’t go for work. It’s like sometime he can refuse when you feel like doing it’. Ava said that her husband had finally come around to the idea of the crafts and her opening up a business, however he was not willing to support her in doing so, so saving money from the craft groups was her only method of accomplishing this.
‘Chloe’ - Mutundwe Chloe was a new member of the groups and had recently finished secondary school. She had learnt how to make crafts which were sold in the US by an NGO and helped them pay their school fees. She had moved to Kampala from Jinja for school and had wanted to go to university to become a teacher but could not afford it. Chloe stated she didn’t want to get married yet, first she wanted to establish herself professionally, and wanted to go into teaching because she could work during the holidays and constantly develop herself through teaching the children and learning from them. She currently worked in a shop and made crafts, although neither of these activities generated enough to pay for her school fees. She said the only way to reach a market for the crafts in Kampala was to target expats, but their crafts would need to be of a higher quality and they couldn’t get anyone to train them to that standard. The reason for this was that anyone that could teach them would risk creating competition for their own markets. If there was one thing she would change about the groups it would be to put more emphasis on quality and take the crafts more seriously. Chloe played a big role in teaching the other women new skills, and she said she really enjoyed the group work: ‘The first thing to make me love the group is I find them social, they can teach you and they are not selfish in teaching you. That is the first thing which is making me love the group. And they are united. That is the thing which makes me love the group so much.’
‘Jessica’ – Mutundwe Jessica had only joined the group that day, and stated that she needed money to help her with her problems, and so she wanted to make some crafts. She then said that she had an abusive husband who allowed her no freedom of speech at home. She had not yet told her husband about the crafts and was not sure how he would react. Her main concern was that her husband was a painter, but spent long periods out of work, and this left them with little money for the children. She made some money selling fried food on her own, and hoped the craft money would provide her with more money to pay for school fees. She also hoped having money on her own would make her husband view her differently and change things at home.5
‘Clare’ – Mulago 1 Clare had often watched other women making crafts and had been instrumental in forming the group (she was the chairperson of Mulago 1). She stated what had been useful for Mualgo 1 was being able to meet as a group and meet other group leaders to discuss products. She said that she often exchanged ideas with other group leaders and traded crafts with other groups. Although the products at Mulago were of a particularly high standard, they had trouble selling them locally as people disregarded the quality and effort, knowing how much the individual materials cost. Since Clare had never attended school she was determined to see her two children get educated. She said the craft money had enabled her to pay school fees for her children and repay debts when she needed to borrow money. She had been abandoned by her husband, and used to work as a cleaner in a hospital but now focused only on the crafts. She also added that finding a market for the crafts was difficult, but at least by working as a group they had a better chance than working on their own.
‘Jenny’ – Mulago 1 Referred to as the ‘mother’ of the group, Jenny was an older women, widowed with 8 children. Clare, the chairperson, had recruited her into the craft groups. 5
After the interview Jessica was put in touch with KCK who provide a counseling service for victims of abuse.
Before joining the craft groups she had sold maize, but now depended on crafts because of her age. She still cared for her youngest son, who was 17 and had cerebral palsy, as well as one of her grandchildren who was infected with HIV. The crafts helped her pay for rent and school fees, but also the whole women’s group often got together to support her financially, because of her age and her large family. Jenny also stated that finding a market was difficult for the crafts and if she had more money she would open a bakery and sell cookies and bread. She appreciated that KCK provided them with bakery training and other support.
‘Nicola’ – Mulago 2 Nicola was the chairperson of Mulago 2. She was currently taking classes in how to use sewing machines along with 2 other group members. She would allow them to make more textile products, as they currently had a group member trained in textile design, but lacked a machine. This meant they had to take their textiles to someone else and pay a lot to have their items made. Nicola planned to open up her own shop selling the products, and was able to list the various costs that required. Apart from lacking capital, she stated that her responsibilities at home with the children stopped her from doing this, but then said that if the women worked as a group they could share the load and more women could benefit. Nicola had never gone to school, but since joining the groups she said that she was constantly learning and thinking of new ideas. It also enabled her to support herself as a woman. She said the local market was poor although if she had her own stall which everyone could see then they could sell more.
‘Ella’ –Mulago 2 Ella had only joined the groups 3 weeks ago and before that had worked as a nanny and a clothes washer, but this didn’t make her enough money as people often underpaid. Her friend told her about the craft groups and convinced her it had more potential than her current work. She wanted money mainly because she was a divorcee who had 2 children from her first marriage and had moved in with another man. This man was not willing to support her children and so she had to
provide for them herself. This was the biggest challenge she faced and hoped the crafts could help her overcome it.
‘Grace’ – Mulago 2 Grace found out about the groups from her sister who was already a group member. She was currently at a vocational college studying cosmetology. Her sister supported her financially, but now she hoped that joining the groups would give her some money to pay her own fees. After university she wanted to start her own salon business. She would start on her own and then hire more friends as it expanded. She knew the costs it would take and was taking business classes in college. She enjoyed learning how to make crafts with other people but said that customers driving down prices was their biggest problem.
‘Lucy’ – Komamboga Lucy used to work as the housekeeper for KCK in their old offices, and had been making some handmade products for over 3 years. When KCK set up the craft groups she was one of the first people to be approached. She was still working as a housemaid and also did some tailoring. She enjoyed the craft groups, but the market was too irregular for her to benefit from them financially, and they were only able to sell products to kids club. Lucy had stopped going to school when she was young as her parents could not afford to send her. She said that sustaining a living was a big challenge, especially being a woman, and she also had little freedom of speech where she worked.
‘Alice’ - Komamboga Alice did not do crafts. She helped with a family business making spices, but spent time in the women’s groups because she enjoyed the social aspects of it. She was also able to leverage the personal networks of the craft makers to sell spices, and the craft makers were able to do the same with her customers. She said that Ugandans didn’t really use spices in their food, but she used to be able to sell lots to ex-pat Kenyans, Tanzanians and Somalians, but a lot of their regular customers had moved away:
‘These days the money is less, Ugandans don’t know much about spices. In fact they know nothing about spices. If you have to sell to Ugandans a small packet of jinga, you have to explain and explain. Which makes my market so difficult’.
‘Holly’ – Komamboga Holly saw the women’s groups working in the local area and asked to join. Before that she was making paper bags for food and medicine. Holly normally made and sold sandals with beads on them, something KCK had not purchased before but which sold fairly well on the local market. She did say that the materials were very expensive though. When asked what she got out of the groups, Holly replied: ‘I get some money, it’s little but it’s better than sitting at home doing nothing’ She also added that being able to create and sell as a group was a positive aspect of the groups, as a well as making friends. She said that at the start her husband would not have allowed her to join the groups, so she did so in secret, and when she sold some crafts and he realised she was able to make money for the household, he condoned the craft making. Holly said that if she had more capital she would invest in a sewing machine to allow her to more easily make textile products. Currently if they needed machine sewing they would take it to someone else and pay for it to be done.
8. Success of Aims In order to Improve the marketability of products and long-term sustainability of WaterMade, and increase the standard and quality of living for our producers, WaterMade has taken the following actions:
1. Improve marketability of products
Two extensive documents outlining standardization measures and style suggestions were sent to KCK, one in December and one in March. This covered a range of issues such as bead and wire sizes, colour combinations, quality of materials and suggestions for future products. These suggestions had been followed for most products, although there were some new products which WaterMade was unaware of that could have benefitted from standardization, such as twisty bangles. Product portfolios containing pictures of new product ideas were given to the women’s groups. This included many textiles which were already underway in the Mulago group, and which the provision of sewing machines should assist with. Textiles have been purchased by WaterMade to design and create African style shirts in the UK. Once prototypes have been developed, WaterMade will send them to Kampala, with size charts, so that the groups can begin diversifying into shirts, which has been identified as a more sustainable product in the UK market Ugandan bark cloth was also purchased to provide some authentic labels for products
2. Collect data to be used for WaterMade marketing
Over 100GB of photos, videos and testimonials were gathered during the trip. This will be available to WaterMade and its partners for promotional purposes, such as social media, websites, leaflets and posters Extensive data has been gathered on the impact of the craft groups on the women’s daily lives. WaterMade plans to use this information to create a positive campaign on the importance of micro-enterprises in developing countries, and the difficulties they face in operating.
3. Innovate production process and empower producers
Based on our needs assessment, WaterMade decided that providing sewing machines and paper cutters to the groups would have the greatest direct impact on their production. This was decided by looking at product research and interviews, and any comments made by the women regarding diversification/improvement of products. As well as enabling the groups to produce better quality products for WaterMade, the sewing machines were intended to give the groups a method of diversification that would provide a greater chance of remuneration through a tailoring service. This reflected the difficulty the groups had in selling crafts, and the larger market for textiles and clothing 4 laptops and 9 phones were donated to KCK to be used for the benefit of the groups. The distribution of the technology was to be decided by a later needs assessment by KCK. It was agreed between KCK and WaterMade that KCK would use the laptops to carry out continuous market research on international craft and fashion trends which may be suitable to the women, and provide training where possible WaterMade purchased £720 in products from the groups altogether. This will have provided an increased cash flow to the groups which can hopefully be used to invest in new materials for new products. WaterMade has pledged to provide a quarterly order of products to the value of at least £500, as well as on going research into market trends and other suggestions for future funding KCK has pledged to continue providing on going training and support to the women’s groups, particularly in the use of sewing machines
4. Gather research on nature of groups, and data needed to apply for Fair Trade certification
Following research on two very different Fair Trade certification bodies (‘FLO-cert’ – the most famous Fairtrade symbol, and ‘Fair for Life’) it was concluded that applying for Fair Trade certification would not be possible given the limited resources of the women’s groups Although financial records of sales were kept by both the women’s groups and KCK, and the groups had a democratic and fair structure, the minimum
cost for certification would have been £500 (with FLO-Cert). Even with start up funding this would be too much of a potential risk for the groups. With FLO-Cert, it was unlikely that the products would have passed certification. This was due to their complicated value chains and lack of standardization. This issue was largely out of the women’s hands due to the fluctuation and seasonality of prices and materials, and also their lack of a guaranteed market and access to value-adding resources such as sewing machines. Fair for life, which follows a more qualitative assessment focused on social fairness, places a high premium on certification, mainly due to the long hours spent evaluating the applicants. They provide several examples of enterprises they have certified and the costs involved. The closest to the women’s groups were a group of 25 smallholders in Indonesia, whose total for certification came to just under €2,5006 On reflection, it was deemed that through expanding their markets in the UK and continuing a close partnership with the women’s groups, WaterMade and KCK could provide the Fair Trade service at no cost, whilst keeping the majority of revenue within the women’s communities.
9. Concluding summary WaterMade has successfully completed 3 of its 4 aims, having decided that Fair Trade certification is not an option for the groups at this time. Valuable data has been gathered on the functions of the women’s groups, such as their sourcing of materials and access to markets, which has added to the baseline analysis carried out by SIID. More specific qualitative data, such as testimonies and interview quotes, has been gathered on the impact of community led development, and its implications for encouraging female empowerment through enterprise. This supports WaterMade’s mission statement of promoting enterprise, empowerment and development. As well as the aims achieved before and during the project, WaterMade will continue to support the development of the groups through the following actions:
Continuing to provide KCK with a report detailing monthly sales analysis and breakdown, as well as market research on UK market trends Improving access to the UK market by approaching more retail outlets and expanding online Providing KCK with a minimum quarterly order of at least £500, to provide a stable income to the groups Use research to suggest reinvestment of WaterMade profits into women’s groups, ie. more sewing machines, laptops, other expansion costs Recommend to KCK that provision of capacity building items should be met with increased transfer of knowledge across the groups. This would involve more successful groups with trained members visiting other groups to assist in their learning and development Provide a market for women’s groups diversification into textile products such as men’s shirts – linking up with UK designers, retailers etc. Using the marketing material collected to create marketing and presentation material that reflects the positive aspects of grassroots development and micro-entrepreneurship
10. Expenditure Breakdown This breakdown includes all expenditure that was covered by the Departmental Fund Grant, or through fundraising. It excludes flights and other costs covered privately by the WaterMade team.
Type of expenditure
Investment in women's groups (Craft purchase)
Coordinator Costs (Translator)
Travel costs (Around projects)
Textiles (For shirt prototypes)
Printing (Product booklets for women)
Internet (Downloading laptop software)
Displays - for UK promotion
First aid kit
The project report detailing WaterMade's findings from our 2014 research trip to Uganda.