Capacity Building Workshops

It has been a busy and productive three months at Awamaki, and we are wrapping up a year of great
progress with our women’s cooperatives in continued skills-building

Your support of capacity-building at Awamaki funds

  • technical trainings that enable our women to improve the quality and marketability of their

products, this directly increasing their income

  • management skills training that support our women in taking increasing ownership of the daily

business of the cooperative, such as Excel training so they can manage orders and attendance

  •  life skills trainings that support general well-being for them and their families.

These topics come from needs identified by the women. We run them because while we believe that while income in the hands of women is the most effective way to lift families and communities out of poverty, we recognize that health, education and leadership play a crucial role.

Please read on to learn about the workshops in which our women have participated!

Our knitters have recently completed two workshops on quality finishing techniques, and they are
currently applying this new knowledge to their first large export order! They are currently completing
40 pairs of complicated slippers and 50 baby hats, as well as continuing to stock our store in Peru. In the
upcoming months, they will be learning new men’s and children’s accessories, and beginning another round
of training to knit complicated items such as sweaters and cardigans. With intensive support from our staff
and an external trainer, they are starting to take on more managerial responsibilities, such as managing
attendance and banking for their common fund.

The knitting cooperative members have also attended workshops on green technology and design, product
differentiation and innovation.

This year, our seamstresses learned how to make 12 new patterns, half of which are extremely
complicated. They have also started computer and English classes taught by our wonderful volunteers, and
with the help of these new skills they have begun managing and placing their own inventory orders. Most
exciting and fun, they have done a few design workshops and even come up with one design of their own
for a baby backpack. Currently they are sewing ponchos, bags, wallets, purses and skirts for the holiday
season in the United States. (For an amazing gift idea, check out their products online!). In the upcoming
months the seamstresses will be focusing heavily on the 12 designs they learned, continuing to practice
placing orders and creating production schedules, and moving into more design work of their own.

The sewing and knitting cooperatives have made so much progress in product development, they were
recently featured in Vogue India! See the attached PDF for a look.

In the indigenous communities, our weavers have improved their variety of dye colors and ability to weave
to measurement this year. We hope to carry out one more dye workshop in November. This workshop will
be a bit different from past workshops: rather than dyeing with the whole cooperative, the weavers have
nominated several women to undergo an intensive training so that they can lead future dye workshops
with both the cooperative and tourists, thus increasing cooperative autonomy and income, while freeing up
Awamaki funds to invest in other skills.

This year, our sustainable tourism program developed an intensive four-day weaving workshop that sends
tourists to live with our weavers and learn to spin raw wool and weave on the backstrap loom. Both the
homestay and the lessons for these tourists represent a significant source of income for the weavers. Six
of our weavers volunteered for an intensive three-day training in how to teach weaving. We hope that by
improving the quality of the lessons, we can offer the program widely and increase the number of tourists
who go. Typical of the members of this cooperative, four of the weavers who attended did not complete
primary school; two others went to high school, but neither graduated. They all have young children. These new
skills will represent enormous opportunity for them. Our next trainings will be on hospitality and cooking
to ensure that they can provide a quality, comfortable experience for tourists.

Our spinners are currently learning to spin chunky alpaca yarn for sale. Accustomed to spinning very
tight, thin yarn for weaving, they are struggling to create thick yarn with structural integrity and consistent
thickness. The yarn they currently produce sells well in the store in Peru, but is unfit for export. Moreover,
we have found that lots of alpaca fiber is wasted in the spinning process. We hope to teach our spinners to
create felt from this fiber so our seamstresses can use it to make home furnishings accessories. So far this
year, we haven’t had the ability to invest in workshops in spinning and felting, but we hope that we will
have the funds to conduct these by the end of the year. We have also applied for a grant in support of this
project. Wish us luck!

Finally, we are working with our partner health organization to offer reproductive health classes to our
cooperatives, starting with our Spanish teachers in Ollantaytambo. We think this says it all.

Thank you so much for your support and we look forward to keeping you updated in the future! Please
don’t hesitate to contact us for any reason at info@awamaki.org!