The project aimed at Developing Artisanal Livelihoods in Rural Pakistan (RANG) is the brainchild of Indus Heritage Trust. Rang means “color” in Urdu and the rest of the regional languages and it is a representation of rich cultural heritage steeped in tradition and history. In 2014, the Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF) funded and the World Bank supported the project for Developing Artisanal Livelihoods in Rural Pakistan called Project RANG.
The project targets women who have already lost or face a high risk of losing their livelihoods because of their inability to keep up with current contemporary marketing practices. In some regions such as Tharparkar, the project has also engaged women from the Hindu community as well as from other minority groups.
As of April 2019, just under five years from its initiation, project RANG has successfully grown to a large network of 2700 trained artisan women in 72 villages across 8 districts in South Punjab and Sindh. The network is led by our head office and an Artisan Design and Resource Center (ADRC) in Islamabad. As a result of Project RANG, 17 Regional Support Clusters were created, and 2 Provincial Facilitation Centers were established. The finishing unit was set up at the head office to finish products according to the required standards under the direct supervision of the design studio. Expert trainers were hired to finish units in the field to ensure long term gains. Finishing units in Bahawalpur and Sukkur were also initiated and using suitable techniques, we aim to scale up production. Moreover, financial products wereintroduced for micro-finance, payments and insurance. The process of production and work methods were further streamlined and improved to produce products with the finest finishes in order to meet the demand for the upper niche market. A strong and agile procurement team was also established to meet the demand created by increased production.
Furthermore, through the training and business opportunities created by Project RANG, a great number of women have gained control of their own earnings and enhanced their overall ability to contribute to household incomes, education and health. The project dramatically improved these women’s standard of living and resulted in a strong sense of ownership and pride in their work. However, this program has done much more than just vocational training. The initiative enabled several women artisans to acquire government ID cards, giving them access to financial accounts, insurance and the right to vote. The project empowered women by increasing their community spirit and access to and with the outside world. Project RANG helped these women escape the gender norms that restricted their autonomy and mobility. It helped the women artisans become independent, both financially and culturally.
Some other outcomes of Project RANG:
- A 47% increase in income level has been recorded for at least 50% of the target artisan families
- 20% increase in the number of days of employment recorded (Baseline studies conducted in 2016)
- 80% of the 17 Cluster Enterprises (CEs) are marketing through their own brand/sub-brands already