• Women Craft Producers Association

    Economic, social and cultural development for women producers in Myanmar

  • About

    The Women Craft Producers Association is a collective in the Magwe region of Myanmar. The WCPA is a social business concept working towards the aim of economically, socially and culturally supporting women producers. The WCPA has made impressive strides and continues to demonstrate potential for increased impact.

  • Context

    Historically, women in Dry Zone have been unable to access both government services and the business community. WCPA creates tangible and effective links between the women producers, the regulatory process and market mechanisms. In this manner, the social business is able to accomplish its objectives to reduce poverty and to connect to market demand.


    Private businesses in Bagan and Yangon have access to high quality Myanmar-made textiles and handicrafts. Public services and informal education sessions are now accessible to rural communities, and the program is compatible with the GoM’s policies to alleviate rural poverty and promote inclusive growth.

  • Training

    The WCPA training is provided by ActionAid Myanmar. Vocational training is offered in weaving, sewing, rattan and jewelry, and occurs at seven VT Centres, four in Pokkoku Township and three in Myaing Township.


    Trainings are offered 3 or 4 times per year at each of the seven locations, and each session is 3 to 4 months in duration. Potential trainees are identified by program Fellows, village track, trainers, as well as the woman’s interest. To overcome potential barriers to attendance, transportation and on-site daycare are provided to trainees.


    Each trainee receives a monthly stipend while attending the course, thereby reducing the stress and need to earn income for food. During vocational training, trainees also receive informal education trainings in nutrition, hygiene, gender, HIV prevention, literacy and numeracy skills.


    Women Producers Support Groups

    Women are encouraged to organise themselves and form Women Producers Support Groups (WPSG). The women receive necessary information including roles, responsibilities, benefits and financial support. Women organise themselves in groups of 3-15 and enter a contract whereby they agree to produce and sell together. They elect a leader, who is responsible for obtaining orders, delivering finished products and disbursing the monies earned. The leader is also responsible to represent the group during the regular monthly WCPA meeting.The groups receive book-keeping training and are linked to the market through the Association. The WCPA, in turn, is a coalition of producers, government representative and private businesses that strengthen the WPSGs link to the marketplace.

  • Product Development

    When a new group is formed, the WCPA Coordinator orders specific start up products similar to what the women learned during training. For members who do not own equipment, the project provides a no interest loan and procures the machine and supplies for them. For example, a sewing woman may require a machine and thread, and a rattan women may require metal implements needed to mold and shape the rattan. The women pay back the loan incrementally and ultimately have full possession of their equipment.


    The next step is the creation of a marketable design. Each week, two leaders from the WPSGs attend Training of Trainers (TOT), by rotation. During the TOT sessions, new product designs are taught and skills are reinforced. These leaders return to their groups and teach the other members how to fabricate the designs.


    Marketing then generates demand for the new designs. Some demand comes from direct sales channels, such as the sales emporium and from events. Others come from wholesale orders from hotels, International NGOs and private clients.


    Profit Distribution

    Once the WPSGs complete the production, the quality control staff inspects the products through a vigorous quality control process. A product profile is created for each item listing the costs of production and the sales price. The production cost for each item includes cost of material per piece, estimated time to produce, cost of labour per piece and the sale price per piece. The products are then taken to MBoutik in Nyaung U where each item is tagged with a coding system that records the name of the producer, the producer group and the selling price. The product is registered in the stock and data is recorded in the financial system. When this process is complete, payment is made immediately to the WPSGs.


    When the item is sold, 100% of the profit is allocated to the WPSG that produced the product. From this amount, 60% is paid directly to the WPSG, which is distributed among the members. 40% of the profit is deposited in a collective savings account for all the WPSGs.


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