In an endeavor to protect and preserve the heritage products of Majuli, ICCo and ONGC jointly worked on building entrepreneurial skills of 40 artisans through capacity building and training to improve their overall socio-economic conditions.
The initiative helped the artisans to upgrade their skills so that they are able to match the requirements of major retail chains and changing taste of consumers.
The project involved conducting mobilization programmes; skill up gradation training on different heritage products – reed products and pottery; introduction of new technology for Pottery in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati; product diversification during the training was imparted to the beneficiaries for better market linkage. A special focus was also on institution building in the form of a common platform of artisans/craftsmen towards ensuring sustainability of the training.
The purpose of this project was not only ‘income generation’, but rather using the project skillfully enough as a way to kick-start the many other aspects of the development process and become the key to various aspects like education, health, community building, women’s emancipation and discarding of social prejudices – in short, the revitalization of both economic and social status of the splintered and marginalized rural artisans.
ICCo is also exploring to strengthen market linkage of these products (for example participating in district and state level exhibition and trade fairs , exploring the local market within Majuli , discussion with Majuli tourism department for display of products in their office) so that these artisans have a sustainable source of income in the future.
Although the project mandate is to train and build capacity of women artisans in Majuli, but ICCo is also exploring the possibility of getting sewing machine and handloom facilities for these beneficiaries to enhance their skills and earn sustained incomes after the project is completed.