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Monday, 6th July 2020

Interviews with leaders of the Weavers’ Cooperative

By Joe Caspersz-Loney

Madame Gustavine, President of Fanatenana CooperativeMadame Gustavine, President of Fanatenana Cooperative

In March 2020, SEED’s Women’s Livelihoods Specialist interviewed weavers who held leadership positions in the Weavers’ Cooperative. During Project Mahampy’s research phase in 2019, we sought to understand the socioeconomic factors of mahampy weaving and how they influence weavers’ daily lives. The interviews conducted in March 2020 furthered our understanding of how weavers manage their finances, their ideas about marketing and working with other businesses, and what they value about being members of the Cooperative.

The interviews revealed some areas where SEED can work with the Cooperative to increase capacity. One area is financial education as shown by 90% of participants stating that they did not keep financial records. The importance of developing weaving as a livelihood for weavers was also reinforced as 52% of participants said they never had enough income to cover their living costs.

Mdm-Bertholine,-Pres-Mahefa,-Amp.-Women_s-Day.jpgMadame Bertholine, President of the sub-Cooperative Mahefa (meaning Enthusiastic) celebrating International Women's Day 2020

Participants’ responses also highlighted areas where the Cooperative is excelling. All participants said that they feel confident when talking to resellers who want to buy their goods and 76% said that it is important to collaborate with other businesses when running a Cooperative. Also encouraging, all participants agreed that democratic values, education, training and information are extremely important when running a Cooperative.

The information gathered in these interviews will allow SEED and the Weavers’ Cooperative to identify areas where weavers will benefit from further capacity building and where they are already excelling. Appropriate activities, such as workshops, can be created to help weavers establish the skills that will allow the Cooperative to flourish. Ongoing research is vital to the progress of Project Mahampy and we enjoy continually learning alongside the Cooperative to ensure its success.