IDE (International Development Enterprises) is a non-government organization that has been creating business opportunities in the private sector of Bangladesh while simultaneously tackling issues of gender, climate, nutrition, food security, agriculture, finance, etc. It has been rigorously working in Bangladesh to improve the standard of living of the low-income and marginalized communities. Bangladesh has been effectively fighting a lot of problems that previously inhibited her progress. Even in the public health sector, incredible progress has been made. However, a lot of hygiene-related issues still remain unsolved and hence iDE Bangladesh has taken it upon itself to address these problems.
Women's Economic Empowerment through Strengthening Market Systems (WEESMS) is a project implemented by iDE Bangladesh and funded by the Embassy of Sweden. It is working on providing training to develop skills in a variety of fields such as home textiles, diversified jute textiles, processed and packaged foods, etc.
In February 2018, Bagdoom and iDE WEESM Bangladesh partnered to launch the Krishti project with an aim to promote woman rural artisan in Bangladesh and enable them to preserve the artistic heritage of Bangladesh. The objective is to solve problems that delimit the handicrafts industry by introducing a compact platform through which entrepreneurs can establish a direct linkage with their customers. With IDE Bangladesh industries experience and Bagdoom’s e-commerce reputation, the partnership has resulted in facilitating women empowerment in Bangladesh through financial inclusion.
The Krishti project is inclusive to women entrepreneurs in North Bengal who make a wide range of products that include but aren’t limited to jute diversified products, clothes, souvenirs, mats, rugs, etc. The unique designs of the products handcrafted with love and the beautiful stories behind them make the products truly incredible. Historically, the trade of handicrafts in Bangladesh was conducted through middlemen that would lead to the entrepreneurs losing out on the majority of profits. Bagdoom’s website eliminates that hassle and enables the entrepreneurs to directly reach out to the buyers. Through the website, the entrepreneurs can now deliver across the country. Sapna Rani Sen, one of our vendors from Rangpur Crafts said, “I am a proud business owner. It gives me a lot of joy to bring the best handmade products from Rangpur to the rest of Bangladesh.” Mosammat Monsura Begum, another vendor from Manchura Jute Handicrafts said, “Working with Golden fiber & making home decor goods have changed my life. I have made my own identity and now keep my head high with pride.”
But the project doesn’t stop at providing market access. It goes beyond that and also provides financial inclusion to the relevant communities. Throughout the ages, it wasn’t a lack of creativity that slowed the growth of the handicrafts industry, it was the barrier to financial access that did. The project of weesms bd solves that by granting appropriate financial services to boost productivity and capabilities. Workshops are being conducted in order to train more rural women in the art of handicrafts through ide bd. The entrepreneurs are also being trained in optimizing their products by improving designs, marketing, and operations.
The northern lands of Bangladesh are rich with their unique heritage of handicrafts. The culture is so deeply embedded in the lives of the people, that the know-how has been systematically passed down through generations. The art of handicrafts is second nature to the women of these regions. Grandmothers teach young girls how to make the most beautiful artwork with vivid patterns, nifty borders and dainty motifs, who later pass it down to their grandchildren and the cycle continues. All women spend their leisure creating the most masterful and intricate artworks, without completely realizing how precious and valuable they can be. Kristi is helping them turn their passion and hobby to a sustainable source of income. For that, it keeps the social impact in Bangladesh on rural artisans. These women are no longer relying on their male counterparts to feed them or support them. In fact, they are very smartly running their own businesses, to singlehandedly support themselves and their families, hitting newer milestones every day. The women, who were previously tricked and cheated by middlemen, are now directly benefitting due to the Krishti project. Their abilities were clipped due to various socio-economic problems. Kristi has been solving all these problems since its inception. Many of Kristi's women entrepreneurs now have their own factories of jute bag in Bangladesh where they’re not only doing something for themselves but also employing more women in the process. By the end of 2019, Krishti will reach around 1000 MSEs. The Kristi project is a historic leap towards the systemizing a highly unstructured, semi-formal market.
In the long run, Kristi aspires to expand to accommodate more women under the system. iDE WEESMS Bangladesh and Bagdoom are aligned in their mutual goals of empowering women and aiding them in becoming their best selves. Times are on the verge of change. Women today are disproving all stereotypes, breaking all ceilings and shattering all binding shackles to emerge as deities of strength, confidence and, freedom. Kristi aims to celebrate these women and their beautiful art and help them spread their wings.