El Alto, Bolivia March 7, 2005—Twenty
indigenous textile producers, representing six associations in and around
El Alto, Bolivia, have completed a three-week design workshop sponsored
by the Royal Embassy of Denmark and the International Finance Corporation’s
Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America and the Caribbean. The
workshop aimed to strengthen the producers’ competitiveness and help them
access new markets through intensive training in current textile trends
“The textile producers participating in the workshop have strong technical
skills and a wealth of tradition on which to draw for design inspiration.
However, they haven’t had access to the kind of up-to-date information
on maket trends necessary for on-going product innovation,” noted Helena
Lindberg, one of the workshop instructors from the Design School of Copenhagen.
During the workshop’s first week, Ms. Lindberg and her colleague Maren
Korboel worked with producer groups on textile design fundamentals such
as shape, pattern, and color combination, exchanging ideas and experiences
from European and indigenous traditions. The second week of the workshop
centered on innovating each producer’s existing portfolio to develop new
product lines that could commercialized in international markets. The
last week provided targeted training in product presentation—such as packaging,
tags, catalogues, and promotional material—to help launch the new lines
into the market.
“The results have been outstanding. Rather than copy contemporary
European design trends, we encouraged the participants to incorporate elements
of both traditional and modern design, creating products which will satisfy
consumer demands in an original and unique way,” affirmed Maren Korboel.
Tomas Saire, a workshop participant from Artesanias Mary, commented, “It
has been very important for me to learn a methodology to create new products
and above all to learn to use new colors that I had not used before. I
also think that workshop’s focus was positive, with the designers working
directly with us, they have guided us, have visited our work places and
have pinpointed our mistakes and also our potential”.
“The international design workshop provides a strong example of how the
facility is working to connect local small business with international
markets in order to extend economic opportunities to marginalized communities.
Within the broader context of its Indigenous Enterprise Development
Program, the workshop highlights the facility’s ability to tailor its
technical assistance to the specific needs of its stakholders,” affirmed
Atul Mehta, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The international design workshop was design to address needs identified
during the first phase of the facility’s Indigenous Enterprise Development
Program, which fostered commercial links between several Bolivian artisans
and an international retailer. To deepen the impact of the workshop,
participants will now begin sharing their experience with other textile
producers in Bolivia. Other current projects include business adminstration
and management workshops for indigenous handicraft producers. The
Indigenous Enterprise Development Program is funded by Dutch Technical
Assistance Trust Funds.
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37
billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.
ABOUT IFC TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FACILITY FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
The IFC Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America and the Caribbean
is a multilateral initiative backed by core IFC fund and program-specific
funds from various donors (among them, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, and
Switzerland). The Facility's work program is focused on sustainability,
investment climate improvement, and strengthening SME competitiveness.
IFC also seeks to add value to IFC private sector development through programs
such as linkages (which strengthen connections between investment clients
and their local economies and communities) and business simplification.
The Facility, based in Lima, is currently operating in four countries (Peru,
Nicaragua, Honduras, and Bolivia) and is actively exploring opportunities
for expanding to other countries in the region.