Preserving and Promoting Handicraft Products

In 2017, Alola continued to support women’s collectives from seven municipalities to develop their capacity to maintain their livelihoods. Alola also provided economic empowerment opportunities in other municipalities involved in the Alola handicraft program. This project’s objectives were to:

  1. Enhance understanding of market opportunities and market access for women weavers in Timor Leste;
  2. To strengthen the weaving collectives’ ability to produce and sell a diverse range of high quality products and;
  3. To provide economic educational and mentoring support to adolescent girls.

Alola continued to provide support to improve the quality of tais manufacturing through training, the development of natural color dyeing of tais, the diversification of tais product modification, and internship programs through a small handicraft business in Dili. In addition, Alola has produced a short film about the process of natural dyes and organized a two day festival about natural dyes held in Dili. Furthermore, Alola continued to link producer groups to both national and international markets.

In 2017 Alola organized Easter and Christmas Fairs which took place in March and December respectively.  Around 50 producers from many different municipalities and districts came to Dili to sell their wares at the Fairs. The products available for sale included tais, wood carvings, bags and dolls from Atauro, ceramics from Manatuto, womens’ fashion accessories, virgin coconut oil, soap, traditional food and other local products. Total sales at both fairs in 2017 was USD 20,000.00

Rural women need opportunities to access international markets.  In 2017 Alola sent two artisan groups representatives of Timor-Leste to participate in the International Folk Art Market (IFAM) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA to promote Timor-Leste products. This event was supported by the US Embassy Timor-Leste in partnership with the The Asian Foundation and Timorese NGO Empreza Diak.