Maputo, Inhambane, Nampula

From 1998 to 2006, the Aid to Artisans Southern Africa Office worked under two comprehensive regional USAID Matching Grant programs: the Regional Initiative for Southern African Enterprises (RISE) launched in 1998 and continued through 2001; and the five-year follow-up Pan African Artisan Enterprise Development (PAED) program, which continued through 2006.

The RISE program provided technical, design, marketing and quality control assistance to artisans in Mozambique and Tanzania. The RISE program provided valuable insight and laid the ground work for PAED, further expanded reach in South Africa, Mozambique and Tanzania.

The key areas of services reflected core competencies in delivering market-driven product development, forging market links, providing business skills, technical training, and quality control as well as strengthening the capacity of local artisan associations and enterprises.

Product development and design assistance was executed both through in-country workshops and long distance design assistance. ATA linked craft enterprises to high-demand through exhibition in major international US and European trade shows, the SARCDA gift trade show, ATA-led buyer visits which brought international buyers to artisan communities, and through vendor access to the Product Gallery on the ATA website.

The export infrastructure in Mozambique is much less developed than that of South Africa, or Tanzania. In the beginning of the RISE program, trained and competent exporters were virtually non-existent, and by the end, ATA had determined that the success of Mozambican crafters in the international marketplace would be dependent on the availability of trained and competent craft exporters. ATA facilitated export activities in the interim while encouraging the development of craft export businesses in Mozambique.

An Export Mentoring Program was then designed to help craft exporters succeed in doing business in the global market through direct contact with importers and wholesalers. This program activity provided training and mentoring on the fundamentals of running a successful business to the participating craft exporters.

With support from the Ford Foundation, ATA incorporated into the RISE program in Mozambique a strategy for the sustainable use of precious wood in artisan product production. The strategy made two major steps toward ensuring a sustainable, successful and growth-oriented craft sector: the formation of a national artisan associations, ANARTE (Associacao Nacional de Artsaos), and a draft accord between artisans and community members that would establish a managed source of precious wood. In collaboration with the Confederation of Mozambican Economic Associations (CTA), ANARTE prepared its first draft of statutes, and ATA assisted in the revision. ATA member artisans also participated in Mozambique's second conference of Natural Resource Management.

"We managed to get our voice head and be on the invitee list for future conferences. I won't go back now and cut my wood any which way, I am conscious now on preserving our precious raw material..."
-participant feedback

Through the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Lecuati Project, a collaboration directly resulting from our participation in the conference, Mozambique's first ever accord between a community and a group of artisans was drafted as a step toward promoting a more sustainable source of sandalwood for Maputo-based artisans.

Export sales orders under the RISE program totaled $70,000 (Approximately R522,000) from 1999 to 2001. By the end of the RISE program, ATA Mozambique had built a database of about 53 artisan groups representing approximately 450 artisans, of which 28% were women. Of these, twenty groups received international purchase orders, while additional groups assisted in fulfilling orders through outsourcing agreements. A number of key international buyers were cultivated through the trade shows, and by December 2004, the cumulative sales order total increased over five fold to nearly $355,000 (Over R 3,131,000).