Crafting a livelihood: Building Sustainability for Indian Artisans

Jan 15, 2013
  • Description

The Indian Government, the private sector and the non profits are each involved in the sector but their roles have evolved in silos, with little specialization and much duplication. On a policy level acohesive and concerted effort is required to overcome the challenges faced by the crafts ecosystem through funding and programs. Simultaneously, the private sector has a significant role to play in uplifting artisans through different market-led efforts made by retail chains, high end-fashion designers and a relatively more recent wave of social businesses. Non profits have been particularly active in the crafts space since the early 1960s and have evolved numerous models to support artisans in earning better livelihoods. To realize the full potential of the crafts sector, the gaps, overlaps and challenges in the value chain must be overcome to create an ecosystem that enables crafts to thrive. The different stakeholders involved need to come together to build what we call the four cornerstones of artisans' sustainability. Philanthropy has a key role to play in supporting the creation of such an ecosystem. Harnessing the potential of this sector requires different types of investments to preserve traditional crafts, strengthen the sector, and improve the incomes of artisans. Investment should focus on building the four cornerstones of artisans' sustainability.