Artisans' Association of Cambodia is undergoing a newly designed program evaluation to further identify the needs of the member organizations in order to plan for the next three years of work. The organization's main goals are to facilitate the creation of fully sustainable social enterprises among member organizations through continued technical assistance, training, networking opportunities, and advocacy; to increase the amount of sales by AAC and member organizations, which will ultimately raise the compensations and, therefore, living standarts of the the workers; and to plan for AAC's own full future sustainability. The last quarter of the year 2014 data showed that the total amount that buyers imported through AAC was $33,881.45 and AAC earned $2,975.70 for its services. AAC received a strong media coverage from the last trade fair and is positioning itself solidly to lead the development efforts of fair trade social enterprise in Cambodia.
Accomplishments towards reaching AAC Goals and Objectives
- 10 of the AAC member organizations have been transformed from NGOs to independent social enterprises operations.
- Over 80% of all member organizations are managed and directed by women.
- Approximate 2,000 producers/support staff employed at member organizations
- Minimum wage of all AAC members is $80 to $120, but many AAC members have paid staff beyond that
- AAC has empowered women in leading and decision making in a democratic manner. Those women gained a high reputation both in Cambodia and outside Cambodia
- AAC members maintain at least 11% of people with disabilities working as producers, support staff or General Manager among the members. Member organizations who mostly employ persons with disability such as Beyond that Peace Handicrafts and Silks, Woman for Woman, Wathan Artisans Cambodia (WAC) have grown significantly and Rehab Craft still continues as a viable enterprise. Both RCC and WAC are led by persons with disabilities.
- Many of AAC members open shops in Phnom Penh capital and Siem Reap city, and some have more than one shop. WAC has four shops as of today.
- AAC consolidated shipments for buyers who placed orders from the following members: VillageWorks Co., Ltd, Ta Prohm Souvenir, Peace Handicrafts and Silks, AFESIP Fair Fashion, Snadai Ek, Khmer Life, Rehab Craft Cambodia, Rajana Association of Cambodia, Woman for Woman, Cambodia Soap, IronWorks.
- International buyers using AAC services are from USA, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, and the UK.
- Products buyers seem to prefer include: silk scarves, silk jewelry, recycled plastic bag products, bracelets made of grass, silk book covers, organic soap, furniture made of water hyacinth and metal.
- The countries that AAC members have been exporting to include: USA, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, UK, Germany, France, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Italy.
Trainings and Workshops: Two major training workshops were conducted during the last quarter: New trend & product development/practical design training and Production line & quality control & lead time, and Production Line & Quality Control & Lead time training.
7 TV programs fetured stories about AAC and its members' work: Australian Radio and three Cambodian newspapers which conducted interviews with the AAC Director, Manager of Khmer Golden Silk, General Manager of VillageWorks Co., Ltd, weavers, spinners, color dyers etc. The event greatly strengthened the relationship between AAC and the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry expressed their desire to repeat the event next year.
Overseas Fairs: With a cost-sharing method involving the International Trade Centre (ITC) and AAC members, a selection of AAC members were able to attend international trade fairs in France and Germany. Members participating included Craft Village, VillageWorks Co., Ltd, Woman for Woman, AFESIP, Wathan Artisans’ Cambodia, Stung Treng and the Women’s Development Center.
New Members: AAC Director sent the application forms to several organizations who have indicated their interest in joining AAC. These include five Phnom Penh based organizations: Craftworks CAMBODIA, Kravan House, Caring for Young Khmer (CYK), Treasures from the Heart and Iron Works and one from Banteay Manchey: Khmer Golden Silk.
Goals for Next Quarter
- Conduct AAC member survey to gather statistical data on member organizations, annual sales figures, statistics on producers/support staff, geographic coverage, and need of the members are collected.
- Conduct artisans survey (April –June 2015)
- Follow up on the design and marketing training would yield a number of trainees using their skills and having them develop an action plan to further strengthen their skills.
- Follow up on the Being Exporter training
- Conduct 3rd stage of production line training
- Conduct Training on Color Theory and Direct Stock
- Conduct training on Intellectual Property/Copyrights –in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce or Industry and Handicraft
- Update AAC website – New members
- Provide direct training on Stock Management
- Ongoing: export of AAC members’ products
- Design/Product Development brainstorming
- Attend Global Workshop on Homebased Workers in February 2015, New Delhi
- Celebration of World Fair Trade Day –May 10, 2015
- World Fair Trade Week: schedule from May 23rd to 31st, 2015 in Milan, Italy.
- Develop three-year financial projection for AAC