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!
Since our last update, Awamaki’s women’s weaving cooperatives have been busy learning new design skills! Over the past few months, the women in the rural communities of Patacancha and Kelkanka have been learning about color theory and measurement. As Awamaki continues to organize training workshops for the women of our weaving cooperatives so that they can produce internationally marketable products, we in turn learn more about how and why the women design their textiles the way they do, with specific inconography and colors. This is a great example of the intercultural connections that Awamaki fosters.
During the recent color theory workshops in Patacancha, Awamaki’s most recent Resident Designer, Tara Gainer, taught the women about the color wheel, and organized hands-on activities with the women to explore their perceptions of different colors and color combinations. The women worked as a group to assign a Quechua name to each color on the color wheel, setting standard names that will now be used between Awamaki and the cooperative to better communicate special orders. This exercise also allowed Tara to teach the women basic descriptive Spanish words for the colors, such as bright and dull. By keeping all of the women on the same page with standard vocabulary, product consistency and quality control will be easier to implement.
Awamaki’s Quality Control Coordinator and Product Designer, Tessa Ranish-O’Donnell, has been in Kelkanka recently, teaching the women about measurement. At the beginning of the workshop, Tessa learned that most of the women didn’t even have their own tape measures, and they had been visually estimating the size of their textiles, which had been creating inconsistencies in size. Tessa reviewed basic counting and measuring skills with the women, and made each woman her own tape measure. Now, the women will continue to practice measuring their own textiles with the president of the cooperative. The president will then be checking the length and width of each textile before it is turned into Awamaki for sale, making sure that consistent sizes are being used.
Workshops and skill building exercises like the color theory and measurement workshop would not be possible without the continued support of Awamaki’s donors like you. By donating money to Awamaki for specific projects, our staff, volunteers, and the women of our cooperatives have the resources they need to continue improving their skills and expanding their markets. As the women gain new expertise, their products become ready for international sale, extending the economic opportunities for the women and giving them a chance to earn more money to support their families. Thank you for your continued support! Awamaki looks forward to keeping you updated on the progress of our cooperatives.
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.