An Inside Look with MRP Alumna Martha Getachew

Menbere Lidetu, Tadelech Esuneh, Maud Obe (ATA Senior Program Manager), Salem Kassahun, and Martha Getachew pose for a picture after the MRP in August 2013

Between 2008 and 2013, Aid to Artisans worked with several artisans living in the Central and Southern Rift fLangano, Kelo, Hawassa, Dorze and Konso in the Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance Program (ESTA) Funded by former Academy for Educational Development (now FHI 360) they created baskets, curtains, placemats, pillows, scarves, vases, and among others During the course of this project, ATA reached more than 200 artisans. This month, we sat down with ESTA Handcraft Marketing Coordinator and MRP Alumnae Martha Getachew to catch up on the recent successes of artisans from ESTA and their continued work in Ethiopia.

1) What was your role in the ESTA project?

When the project was launched, I was employed as the Handcraft Specialist for the Handcraft component of the ESTA projectMy responsibility was identifying, organizing, training and marketing the handcraft groups in the central and southern Regions of Ethiopia.  I located the 9 groups, organized them and gave TOT (Training of Trainers), MRP (Market Readiness Program™ and Product Development training in collaboration with ATA consultants.  On the 2nd phase of my work with ATA, I was hired as a marketing consultant and training focal person.  I connected artisans to markets both in their area and Addis Ababa market and gave many trainings, on design, customer care, quality and a compact version of MRP. I also organized shows for them both in their localities and Addis.

2.) How did your background impact your work in the ESTA project?

I am an artisan myself doing all sorts of things since I was young and enjoy making beautiful hand made things.I always worked with artisans either marketing them in our Bazaar or helping someone with design or myself always trying to come up with some new concept, it is in the blood.

An artisan at work in Jido

3.) Can you tell us about the artisans in the ESTA project?

These artisans represented 9 enterprises that develop products in textiles, wood, horn, basketry, and calabash. from different villages about 200 of them.  They are both men and women, mainly working in basketry, handloom work, and jewelry-making. Their product collection embodies the lines for home decor, gift, fashion, and hotel accessories

4.) Can you tell me about your experience with ESTA? Any recent accomplishments?

Working with ATA was the best experience of the whole thing.  Recent for me is seeing the people I found in their villages with amazing skills doing nothing with it now became thriving business very successful and coming to the bazaar all by themselves with their beautiful products.  It was a labour of love and it brings tears every time I see them at our bazaar. Most of the artisans were not engaged in any business selling their products. However, when the ESTA project started, they were organized into groups according to skills and area of living and were given ATA training in design, product development and marketing skills. From there, they were connected to markets both within their area and markets in Addis Ababa.