Capacity-building for rural women artisans in Peru

Mar 26, 2014

Updates regarding our Quality Assessment Workshops

Dear GlobalGiving donors,

I am writing to thank you for your generous donations to our “Capacity-Building for Rural Women Artisans in Peru” project and to share with you the incredible progress we’ve made with the members of our Fair Trade Women’s Cooperative.

As our reputation continues to grow, and our number of orders and clientele increases, it’s extremely important that our cooperatives continuously broaden their product knowledge base and technical skills. As always, the goal of this particular project is to provide technical help, product development advice, skills training, and appropriate tools to members of our artisan cooperatives.

Awamaki is currently administering a pilot program of quality assessment workshops to the women of our weaving cooperatives. Generally speaking, the women of the Patacancha lack the proper critical thinking skills to analyze the quality of the products they create for Awamaki. Through these workshops, the women are learning important skills such as how to standardize product measurements, recognize the distinction between straight and rounded edges, read custom textile design orders, and maintain color consistency in their weavings. We will also provide rubrics with detailed instructions, and additional tools to ensure utmost accuracy for the orders we place with each cooperative.

In administering this project, we hope to create greater transparency on the reasoning behind Awamaki’s product orders and payments. Giving the women quality assessment skills not only empowers them to better manage their production process, but also allows them to make informed decisions to overcome any administrative or technical issues within the cooperative.

Your support through GlobalGiving allows Awamaki to support the women of our cooperatives with skill building and knowledge training.  Workshops like these translate directly into increased economic opportunities and a better life for the women and their families. Please stay tuned for more updates about our quality assessment workshops!

Dec 30, 2013

Happy New Year from Marcelina

Marcelina is 23 years old and has a young son. She completed two years of primary school, but she doesn't read, write or speak Spanish. She lives in the high Andean community of Kelkanca, a village of 50 families at nearly 13,000 feet of elevation.  She and her husband farm potatoes and other tubers, the only crops that grow at that altitude.

With no electricity, and about 2.5 hours from the nearest town, Kelkanca is cut off from modern markets and amenities. Before she began working with Awamaki, Marcelina did not have any source of cash income, and only made textiles for her and her family's clothing. She and her family subsisted on their potatoes. This year, Marcelina participated in quality workshops with Awamaki, and now she can sell her textiles through Awamaki. She says she uses her income to buy food at the village Sunday market, where she can find carrots, beans, onions, rice, sugar, salt and oil.  

Marcelina knows what her son needs, and donations allow us to teach her the skills she needs to earn money to meet those needs. In 2014, we aim add 20 more women to join our programs. We aim to deepen the skills of the women with whom we already work so that they can progress towards being successful, independent business women.

Your donations fund this skills empowerment. As we build these skills, we can increasingly connect them to market opportunities so that they can earn income. The women do the rest. They invest in their families's nutrition, in their kids' education, in concrete floors and warm clothes for the cold Andean winter. They tranform their communities and lift their families out of poverty, woman by woman, household by household. 

Please contribute to Awamaki today and give a sustainable, prosperous future to Marcelina and more women like her.

Thank you so much and best wishes for a new year!


Dec 2, 2013

Thank you and a video from Awamaki

Dear donors, 

This year at Awamaki, we are thankful for you. You provide us the funds to give women the skills and opportunity to earn an income and lift their families out of poverty. You believe in us and you invest in our women and their potential. Thanks to you, this year we have:

  • Provided high-quality skills training enabling our knitters to produce knitwear that is internationally desirable
  • Helped our knitters sell their knitwear to global retailers (from Zappos to ABC Carpet to mom-and-pop fair trade stores all over the U.S.) 
  • Run out of knitwear and thus added a new knitting cooperative of 20 women!
  • Provided intensive leadership training and local and international networking opportunities to weavers who are among our most remote, impoverished Quechua-speaking women so they can take leadership in their cooperative business and in their communities
  • Sent teams of staff and volunteers into the field to conduct surveys, interviews and focus groups with all the women with whom we work so that we can better understand their household economies, serve their needs, and help them meet their financial goals.

We couldn't do this without you, and that's why we made this thank you video

Thank you, and have a wonderful holiday season!


Sep 10, 2013

Awamaki's women explore cultural identity!

Cultural identity workshop in Patacancha
Cultural identity workshop in Patacancha

Awamaki’s Capacity Building Project is full of exciting updates! The Global Giving fundraiser that we held in June to raise money to send our weavers on a visit to another women’s group in Puno was a huge success thanks to all of our generous donors.  A large part of the women from the Patacancha cooperative will be going on the trip in a few months time thanks to the money earned from the fundraiser! Women in the Andes have very little opportunity to travel or build networks with other women in business.  Examples of women leadership or economic success in their communities are rare.  Even a short trip to a different region of the country will be instructive and inspiring.

The Patacancha weavers have been busy with a series of intercultural leadership workshops.  The goal of the workshops is to cultivate leadership in the women so they have the confidence and skills to take over management of their cooperative business; next in the series are workshops on administrative skills and technical skills. These leadership workshops focus on connecting the women to their cultural identities through team building games and discussions about how to face challenges as a group of indigenous people. The women also had a chance to discuss the challenges and roles of being a woman in remote communities in the Andes today, and how some of these challenges can be effectively addressed.  Awamaki has partnered with the Centro Bartolome de las Casas (CBC) to carry out the workshops. The CBC has over 40 years of experience promoting indigenous empowerment in the Cusco region.

Without the kind and generous support of our donors, Awamaki would not be able to organize capacity-building trips and workshops for our cooperatives.  In order to continue to increase the success and autonomy of our cooperatives, we put tools and knowledge directly in the hands of the women artisans. By learning new ideas and rediscovering their own cultural identities, the women are empowered to make positive changes in their daily lives and in the running of the weaving cooperative, ensuring their future economic success and their ability to earn income and transform their communities.  Thank you again for all of your support!

Women from Patacancha during an identity workshop
Women from Patacancha during an identity workshop
Team building activity in Patacancha
Team building activity in Patacancha
Jun 11, 2013

Support Awamaki's cooperatives this Wednesday!

Awamaki's knitting cooperative is still hard at work acquiring new financial skills through our financial workshops. By learning these skills, the women of the cooperative can continue to take management of the group into their own hands, leading to sustained leadership and ownership of the cooperative. Awamaki strives to put power in the hands of the women in our cooperatives, and by facilitating skill-building workshops such as our current financial workshops, the organization can increasingly empower the women with life long skills and ownership of the cooperative.

Interested in continuing to support Awamaki's "Capacity Building for Rural Women Artisans in Peru" project? Donate this Wednesday, June 12th and take advantage of GlobalGiving’s Donor Matching Day! All donations made on June 12th will be matched by GlobalGiving by 30%, but only until matching funds run out... so make sure to make your donation early in the morning!

And if we have the highest number of unique donors on Wedneday, we have the chance to win a $1,000 bonus from GlobalGiving, so even the smallest donations can make a huge difference to our cooperatives!

Awamaki would love to send women from our cooperatives to Puno for a fieldtrip to learn about how other weaving associations in Peru operate, and what skills they are using to advance their own economic opportunities.  Many of the women of our cooperatives have never left the Ollantaytambo area, and would benefit greatly from the opportunity to travel outside of their towns and see how women in other areas of Peru are working.

That being said, this Wednesday we are setting a goal of $2,700 to be raised for this project, with the hope that we can send a group of women to Puno for a capacity building fieldtrip in the near future! 

Thank you for your continued support.  The wonderful work at Awamaki would not be possible without the generous donations from supporters like you! Keep track of our donation success this Wednesday with us as we post updates to Facebook.

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Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Peru

Project Leader

Mary Kennedy Leavens

Ollantaytambo, Cusco Peru

Where is this project located?

Map of Capacity-building for rural women artisans in Peru