CO-OPERATIVES

Bhaktapur Craft Printers, Bhaktapur
Production of paper from lokta for greeting cards and other items began in 1981 as a strategy for community development. It has since been developed and expanded by His Majesty's Government of Nepal, in collaboration with UNICEF, as a project under the name of Bhaktapur Craft Printers (BCP). At present the BCP programme covers the districts of Baglung, Parbat, Myagdi, Lamjung, and Gorkha in the mid-western region and Bhaktapur in the central region.

BCP has been working in collaboration with the Small Farmers' Development Programme/Agricultural Development Bank, Department of Forests, and Department of Cottage and Small Industries. It invests a substantial percentage of its profits in community development activities in the areas of water supply, sanitation, and school support.

The unique strategy of BCP for sustainable community development begins in the high forests of central Nepal. In spring and autumn, upland villagers collect and dry the inner bark of lokta. With loans from the Agricultural Development Bank, papermakers purchase the bark and transport it to the lower valleys. Using traditional paper-making methods, they transform the bark into sheets of textured paper.

The paper is purchased by BCP and transported to the plant in Bhaktapur where 170 employees design, dye and print the paper, and make greeting cards, stationery and other items.

Bhaktapur Wood Carvers' Co-operative Society Ltd.
Bhaktapur Wood Carvers' Co-operative Society, established in 1975, with 50 shareholders, is regarded as one of the pioneer organisations in the wood-carving industry in the organised sector. It received initial technical support from the Bhaktapur Development Project (a German Aid Project). In addition to production of wooden decorative and utility items, the Society has been providing services to several local institutions working for the preservation of cultural heritage. The single largest shareholder is Sajha Pasal Sewa, a Co-operative Marketing Society with about 25 per cent shares. The remaining shares belong to individual members who are traditional wood carvers.

 

Himalayan Leather Handicrafts (HLH)
Himalayan Leather Handicrafts' enterprise (HLH) was established as one of the programmes of the Nepal Leprosy Trust to provide income-generating opportunities for the lepers who had been cured by the Leprosy Trust's care programme. It was established in the mid-1970s and soon became an income-earning wing of the Trust. The unit was started on a small scale. It now has 27 workers producing various leather goods, most of which are exported. HLH also co-ordinates the sale of batik and other fabric items produced by others. Some of them were trained by the Nepal Leprosy Trust itself and others are independent producers.

Santang Women's Club, Dhankuta>
The Santang Women's Club was established in 1977 with technical and financial support from the Women's Training Centre, Dhankuta. It has a total of 80 producers, and its members are situated up to an hour and a half's walk away from its centre below Dhankuta Bazaar. The ethnic group, the Rai, the main inhabitants, own little arable land and are mostly illiterate. The Santang Women's Club was established mainly to help the Rai women earn a supplementary income by using their traditional embroidery motifs to produce items for sale, as well as by introducing other income-generating activities such as vegetable farming and goat raising. The embroidery skills of the women were used to make shawls for their own use. The Club, upon successful implementation of adult literacy classes, took up embroidery work as a programme activity and as a means of supplementing the household income of poor families through providing work to women. Prior to this, many households earned supplementary income by selling firewood in Dhankuta. The Santang Club produces napkins, place mats, tablecloths, and shawls with traditional embroidery motifs. Presently, the club mostly works on order. There is no system for producing pre-order stock.

 

Tehrathum Bansghari Dhaka Weaving Centre (TBDWC), Tehrathum

  • SOLMA WEAVING CLUB, SOLMA

    This group was formed through the initiative of KHARDEP (Koshi Hill Area Rural Development Project) in 1983 to experiment with its Dhaka cloth weaving development plan. Pam Macklan, a British volunteer, was assigned by KHARDEP to assist producers in creating new designs and products. Sita Subba was first woman to experiment and organise a group to weave Dhaka cloth.

    During a 14-year period, Sita Subba and her sisters have trained a number of weavers in this locality - these weavers have now become independent producers. Similarly, a group of 12 weavers from Solma - a village on the hill adjoining Tehrathum - who used to work in this workshop, left in 1988 and established the Solma Weaving Club with the technical and financial help of the NGO Mahaguthi.

  • UJOLTA DHAKA CLOTH INDUSTRY, TEHRATHUM

    Ujolta Subba, a woman from Tehrathum district, is one of the producers for the FTG member and she has been making Dhaka cloth since weaving was reintroduced into the Tehrathum district during 1984-86. She now employs 40 women.

  • ALLO CLOTH PRODUCTION CLUB, SANKHUWASABHA DISTRICT
    Reaching the Allo Cloth Production Club - situated in the remote hilly areas of Sankhuwasabha district - takes about 18 hours by bus from Kathmandu and four days on foot (or 40 minutes by air from Kathmandu to Tumlingtar and then two days on foot). Although the commercial production of allo products had not existed prior to the establishment of the Allo Cloth Production Club, people from this region have for long been engaged in the production of allo and its sale or exchange for other goods in the local haat or bazaar.

    The possibility of weaving allo cloth on a commercial scale was first promoted in 1984, following a survey by the Koshi Hill Area Rural Development Project (KHARDEP), a British-aided project, to identify alternative income-earning opportunities for the people of this region.

    The marketing of allo products from Sankhuwasabha to Kathmandu, targeting tourists, began in 1985 when KHARDEP introduced weavers to marketing outlets for allo products in Kathmandu. The original products were dhakro (sacks), jhola (bags), bhangra (vests), fish net and simple cloth woven on a bamboo back-strap loom. New products were also tried and these were mainly slightly modified versions of existing products to make them more suitable for the Kathmandu market of tourists and expatriates.

Women's Development Centre, Ilam, and Silk Farming Producers of Ilam
In an effort to alleviate the poverty of the rural people of Illam district by introducing new income-generating activities, the Women's Development Centre (an NGO) launched a sericulture development programme with technical and financial support from the Lutheran World Service, in 1984. The project emphasised collective efforts in the production and marketing of cocoons for silk yarn production.

Under the Women's Development Project, nine independent groups of cocoon farmers have been formed in Ilam district. Cocoons are purchased by the government owned project at Khopasi, Kabhre district, where yarn is reeled and sold through auction. The Women's Development Project liases and provides back-up support to the farmers through training, by giving information, and also by providing subsidies in the form of free egg distribution. However due to the lack of twisting machines in Nepal, the yarn is taken to India by commercial traders and then brought back after processing to be made into yarn of the necessary count.

 

Women's Entrepreneurship Association of Nepal (WEAN) Co-operative
WEAN Cooperative was established in 1993 with the aim of bringing housewives and a large force of literate, unemployed women into the mainstream of economic activities through training and marketing programs. WEAN conducts training programmes in various aspects of business such as marketing, entrepreneurship, credit, accounting, and technical skills. The focus of the organisation is on institutional development of the co-operative to enable it to serve its members and other interested women producers in a professional manner.

The product composition of the WEAN Co-operative depends upon production and supply from its members. Currently, 60 per cent of its sales are in food products and 40 per cent in handicrafts. Agro-products are targeted mainly at local markets, while craft products are directed to both local and export markets. The Co operative retails products through its own showroom.

 

Women's Skill Development Centre
The Women's Skill Development Centre was established in 1973 under the then Nepal Women's Organisation: at that time it was known as the Nepal Women's Skill Development Project. Its main objective was to train destitute, physically handicapped, and economically backward women in various crafts. The Centre has undergone many changes since then. Established as a skill-training centre, it started a production unit in 1975. In 1982, a fully-fledged workshop was added with financial support from national and international agencies. With the dissolution of the Nepal Women's Organisation following the establishment of a multi-party system in 1991, the status of the Centre was unsettled until 1995 when the government decided to run the project under the Development Committee Act. Now the Centre is placed within the Ministry of Women and Social Development. HMG/Nepal has formed a board under the chairmanship of the ministry to look after the Centre.


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