Contending with cyclones, heavy rains and droughts as well as increasing food and fuel prices, financial stability in Sainte Luce, Madagascar is uncertain. Despite these hardships, the Mahampy Weavers Cooperative has seen continued success and growth since the start of Phase II. The number of women attending the weaving, literacy, financial, and roles and responsibilities training has continued to rise in recent months. Many are attending multiple training sessions to fully develop their skills and increase their self-confidence; 98 of the 112 members have completed their first literacy session and 37 have finished 4 training sessions. This perseverance and commitment to learning has greatly contributed towards their success in generating income.
As The Mahampy Weavers’ Cooperative continues to grow with new members, the Weavers’ workshop has become a little too small for their products. Mahampy products, such as mats, can be up to 1.5 metres long and require a lot of space to weave and store. Upon request of the Cooperative, construction started at the end of December to extend the building with an outdoor shelter and build additional shelves, providing additional space to weave with improved storage space.
As the success of the Cooperative continues, they are receiving increased recognition. In January 2023, the Riaky (Malagasy for sea) fishery committee visited both the Stitch Studio and the Mahampy Weavers’ Workshop. Learning more about the female cooperative model, what obstacles they face on a daily basis and how they overcome them, whilst also admiring the women’s detailed handcrafted products. These visits helped the committee explore new ways to help generate income for the upcoming lean season, highlighting the importance of female economic empowerment, the resourcefulness and determination of these women.
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