By: Edwin Bett
The second session of the Access to Markets webinar for HomeNet Africa took place on the 4th of August, 2022, with participants drawn from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa. In attendance were representatives from HNI, WIEGO and invited guests from Zimbabwe and Ghana.
The webinar sought to fulfil the following objectives;
The webinar was held in close collaboration between HNI and HNA; with facilitation on translations and link management provided by HNI and presentation and management of the webinar program by HNA. The webinar thus; began with remarks made by HNI on purpose and clarity on the roles and involvement by HNI on market access intervention towards affiliates engagement in pursuant of markets for their products and included; technical support, mentorship and capacity building especially towards fundraising.
The gist of the webinar involved experience sharing by a marketing and a support organization from Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively. Undugu Fair Trade Limited (UFTL), Kenya is a marketing organization working as a social enterprise with over 20 years in several spheres; identifying HBWs and organising them as family workshops, building on their products to align with market needs, presenting them to various marketing platforms and working with customers, logistical providers and government agencies in ensuring that HBWs finally receive incomes for livelihoods sustainability.
Self-help development foundation (SHDF), Zimbabwe is a social entity and focus on three (3) key areas on HBWs development; Production (Skill, quality, timing, Environment Management), Sales & Marketing (customers, markets, quality, logistics) and Product Development (intellectual property rights, new designs)and currently actively supports Makonde Art & Crafts Association which has seventy (70) members engaged in basket weaving.
Through a plenary discussion, the participants got an opportunity to not only comment and seek clarifications from the experience sharing but enumerated challenges and needs that HBWs go through and seek out as follows;
Lastly, a discussion on what can be done jointly nationally and regionally was discussed with an indication that the five (5) year HNA strategy have set out activities and key areas; inclusive market access and marketing apportioning areas to be performed at each of the levels mentioned.