Providing market access to handicrafts artisans in India

I interned in the summer with Access development services in Delhi and Jaipur, India. Access is a livelihoods organization working with 10000 artisans across the country. They do this through a network of 300+ full time employees spread across major states in India where they work on the ground with artisan clusters.

The artisans are mostly nomadic in nature and lack formal education/ training. They have been trained over the years by a combination of trial end error and passing on of skills across generations. Understandably, they are not connected to formal banking systems and also have poor working conditions. For example- for work involving lac beads, the artisans need to sit around a mini fire kiln and work. This combined with a 49 degree Celsius outside temperature make it real difficult for the people to work.

Access works towards connecting these people to the mainstream by linking them to banks, providing training and development and providing access to different markets.

As part of my internship I focused on the market access bit. Streamlining the production and quality process and tie ups with major e-commerce networks followed. Recently, the products were launched online under the brand JJADE which stands for Jaipur Jewelry Artisans Development Project. Artisans were individually identified on their creations on the lines of designerwear to provide them with a sense of belonging and motivation.

Additionally, I worked towards setting up a production cluster that would iron out the inefficiencies in operating within individual clusters. The organisation had started a production cluster where they would gather the workers and make them work on a daily wage basis. I worked toward the optimization of this model and to understand the replicability of the model across clusters.