I. SUMMARY OF THE PROJECT
The project will tackle the issues of: i) valorisation of local resources along with ii) women’s involvement in economic activities. It will aim to foster the iii) cooperation among women weavers, and local businesses in Vlora and Tirana (PPP) as well as ensure the support and cooperation with local authorities. The project will focus on organizational capacities of the group and will ensure best practices of rural heritage of other countries brought in this project from AULEDA with an extensive experience in local tourism in Cross border cooperation initiatives (especially in collaboration with the neighbouring countries) which will be shared with the women’s group.
The targeted area of this project is one selected commune of Lumi i Vlores (Vlora River Valley). The larger area consists of 58 villages divided into 7 local government units with a population of 44,307 inhabitants, respectively, living in 10,419 families where about 52% of the inhabitants of this area are women.
The project will have in focus women weavers and young girls eager to carry on this tradition, and build their livelihoods in the area. Through this project the team of AULEDA in cooperation with women’s group and supported by local authorities will initiate an economic initiative that may form a social business in the near future to boost the main income generation potential of the area, wool processing, bearing in mind the long tradition and historic background of this craft for women. This initiative will be based on tradition yet modern designs of wool products and other combination will be a long term objective of this group.
AULEDA has identified a significant number of women crafting local products based mainly on wool, destined for the domestic market and occasionally for the foreign tourist market as any interest is shown from tourists on traditional Albanian products.
AULEDA will accompany the group in many stages of the value chain from the selection of the wool, to identification of good machines, looms and other waving tools in order to significantly improve the inputs for the cloth produced from the group. In the team, AULEDA has a textile engineer, with a long experience and lots of local knowledge that will help women to improve the design, enrich their variety as per market requirements, and find the most unique feature that sells them better in the international markets.
The project will support the group to test the market by promoting their products in trade fairs locally, nationally and internationally, creating opportunities for a better marketing of their products.
The project idea came out after a careful assessment conducted by AULEDA and the consultant that concluded in this proposal to valorise the local resources and make them profitable for local people and a factor of success for the local sustainable development. The sustainability of this activity will be ensured by women of Hore Vranisht Wool processing group themselves, as they have been involved in such work before but not benefited accordingly due to circumstances such as the wool quality obtained from livestock locally if ever used. In many cases the wool was not used by women in this community but discarded in the river, often bringing environmental pollution. So the initiative for the creation of this social enterprise will have a social impact in improving the status of women, economic impact as a result of the income generation, environmental impact as it will minimize environmental pollution due to the use of wool, as the main product. To increase the authenticity of products and reassert traditional painting techniques will be used natural based dyestuff, which is an added value for these products. The products will be the proud local mark for any touristic activity organized and for marketing of the area.
Another potential use of the wool that will be collected by the women’s group can be as a natural insulation material that can be introduced to construction industry in and out of the country. After the selection of the wool for weaving the remaining can create an offer for the construction industry. Wool like other natural materials have some advantages over synthetic materials and mineral wools as natural insulation materials, tend to have low toxicity levels and are better for the environment and people’s health. Additionally natural materials have a characteristic that is beneficial for increased comfort in the summer or in a heat wave. Sheep’s wool is a great insulator. It’s very efficient and naturally able to handle condensation.
As the sheep’s wool needs to be manufactured from wool waste, wool sheared directly from sheep and prepared as wool bats the project will explore the possibility of using wool waste with some construction companies that are eager to implement some advanced technologies in construction. The wool waste will be offered in bulk from the women group and the constructor will press it in wool bats.
The project team will also explore possibilities of introducing this offer (wool waste) to any potential buyers outside of the country.
Ruminants are considered as one of the main natural resource of the area of Lumi Vlores in various studies and documents like in the Regions’ Master Plan and in the Value Chain Study for the District of Vlora, thus the local authorities have a good ground to support the activity by promoting it and identifying cooperation with existing businesses. The collision of this commune within the functional zone of Vlore and another 1o local administration unit will increase the opportunities for attention and support from the local government as an innovative yet social business led by women.
Economic Empowerment of Women