It is one year since MEDA’s Pathways and Pursestrings project ended in Pakistan. Did your support make a difference in the lives of women in Pakistan? The facts show that it did. Your storyteller, Helen Loftin, director of Women’s Economic Development shares the good news of how your gift transformed lives and paved the way for more projects in Pakistan, and other developing countries, that will replicate the good work of Pathways & Pursestrings.
Click here or on the photo to watch the conference call.
Date: June 6, 2013
Stay tuned for the next conference call!
You may be wondering: What exactly did MEDA do for these women to improve their sales that they could not do for themselves?
The main thing we did in this project was make connections for the homebound women and to build the business acumen of the women intermediaries/sales agent.
Before the project, the women would sell their products (milk or bangles or embroidery) via the men in the household. The men would sell it at the local level for a small price that did not reflect the level of skill and labour input that goes into the product – not because they didn't care, but because they and the women producer do not have an understanding of what higher-value markets are seeking nor what they are willing to pay for a product with appropriate specifications. In the case of embroidery, for example, the women only knew the traditional patterns and designs and only had access to low quality input supplies (thread, fabric, etc).
This project introduced information to them – designs sought out by more middle-class and/or high-end consumers, access to better quality input suppliers and competitive buyer channels. Now the women have a choice in terms of what they produce and to whom they sell it to. By deploying a woman-to-woman model, it is possible to convey these elements to homebound women that were not available to them before.
Certainly MEDA did not invent this model – it was being done by a few women our local partner in Pakistan at the time identified via research in 2003. We took the idea and replicated it. And as I mentioned in the conference call, it was wonderfully adaptable to different industries.
The short answer to the question is 'information'. Knowledge is power and for these women, practical knowledge opened doors for them that they didn't even know were there.