Making the Poor Women Reach Markets: "SEWA's Journey"
This paper discusses efforts by Self Employed Women Association (SEWA) in developing effective strategies to help the most marginalized groups take advantage of growing international markets, and share the benefits of globalization.
The paper states that policy makers and researchers have underestimated the role of women workers in the informal sector. As a result, policies and assistance programs have tended to ignore them. The paper suggests that instead of waiting for the market to reach the poor, it might be beneficial to help the poor reach the market.
Banascraft, supported by SEWA, is a direct marketing outlet of craftswomen of the Banaskantha district of Gujarat, India. It provides livelihoods to desert families when rains and harvests fail. Learning from SEWA's experience includes:
- Plan and execute as an enterprise from the very beginning;
- Introduce concepts of market demand, and planning for production, purchase and sales;
- Analyze sales figures and review plans half-yearly;
- Invest in market research;
- Encourage artisans to seek customer feedback, and gain awareness of competition, market trends and changing prices;
- Create a multi-faceted marketing strategy;
- Plan for and invest in sales promotion and publicity.