Women help Women - Al Sudaniya Women’s Shop
Al Sudaniya - which means "the Sudanese woman" - is the first shop in the Sudan established and managed by women for women. The shop was registered in Khartoum as a non-profit organization at the beginning of 1987 and officially opened in October 1987. The founding members make up the management committee, i.e. the executive board. The committee members are volunteers. The salaried staff are the manager, cashier, coffee shop manager and two helpers, watchman and cleaner.
Al Sudaniya has opened a coffee shop on its premises. Visitors to the shop can enjoy traditional Sudanese food and drinks. Take-away food is also very popular. Food for parties can be ordered.
Al Sudaniya is a unique organization in the Sudan. As a non-profit foundation it is devoted to assisting the rural and urban poor by purchasing a selection of their products for the craft shop.
Because profit-making merchants are avoided, the handicraft producers receive fair, direct payment for their work. Al Sudaniya's selection maintains a high standard of quality and assists the development process of self-help projects, i.e. production units, women's centres and cooperatives throughout the Sudan. It is planned that Al Sudaniya will eventually export goods to overseas buyers.
It began in a garage
The initiative to open a women's shop came from the four founding members, two Sudanese, one American and one German. A pilot project was starlet in the garage of one of the founding members, who also provided the finance. When the pilot project proved successful, applications for financial assistance were sent to national and international organizations, embassies and private persons. The first to help were the embassies of The Netherlands and Canada, followed by the USA and Lower Saxony (Federal Republic of Germany). For two years, Bandaid provided the rent for the house in which the shop was to open and a four-wheel drive car in order to reach producers outside the capital. The director of UNICEF in Sudan assisted the project with moral support and loans at the crucial start.
The funds were used to pay the producers and give them starting capital, as well as to provide simple office furniture, sewing machines and salaries for the staff. It is hoped
However, in order to improve the quality standard of income-generating activities and the management of women's centres, further training is needed. Al Sudaniya is planning to organize training courses in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Welfare.
Background to the project
The majority of Sudanese women, together with their families, live at subsistence level. Their husbands or fathers earn minimal incomes. When a woman is head of a household - and it is established that at least 50 per cent of the households in rural areas have a female head economic dependence becomes crucial. Women then need to sustain or supplement the family's income. Many produce craft goods such as baskets, mats, leather goods and pottery.
What has been lacking is an ethical marketing outlet where producers can receive immediate and fair payment for their goods. A number of development and relief agencies, as well as government departments, have promoted women's activities such as income-generating projects for urban and rural poor women, refugees, displaced persons and drought victims. But there has never been an effective central marketing centre for these people to sell their goods at a fair price. In April 1987, therefore Al Sudaniya was established in Khartoum by a group of Sudanese and international women as a non-profit organization.
In future, Al Sudaniya will gradually establish centres in different parts of the Sudan to purchase craft goods and to liaise between the suppliers and the central outlet in Khartoum, in order to ensure good quality and fair prices.
The target groups
The main target groups are women, especially rural and urban poor women, but also handicapped and displaced persons, those affected by drought and civil war and refugees. All of these can expect help in selling their products. At the same time, much emphasis is placed on the quality of the produced goods which will, in future, include school uniforms, children's clothes, school bags, shoes, etc. Therefore, the training aspect has to be considered. In special seminars, it is planned to train the best qualified women of each group, to improve the standard of the product of that group. The trained women will then return to their groups and pass on their knowledge to the women involved. The same system will be used in management.
For training purposes a department of the Ministry of Education the School Gardening Nutrition Education Division (SGNED) - has offered its premises. The director of SGNED, Ms. Shahwa el Gizouli, is also the vice-chairperson of Al Sudaniya. Ms. El Gizouli is very keen in having a market outlet for SGNED women's self-help groups and is, in consequence, offering all her assistance in allowing the use of SGNED's local, regional and national centres spread all over the Sudan. In this way, women producers and consumers all over the country will benefit, indeed, in some places consumers already are benefitting. Consumers will become acquainted with high-quality ethnic craft goods and articles sometimes not known to them. All this encourages pride, dignity and the wish for more production, and hence more income.
In short, the Al Sudaniya marketing centre has the following main purposes and objectives:
• To provide a market outlet for selected products made by women and other needy producers.
• To improve the socio-economic position of women and other producers of craft goods.
• To be established as a permanently registered non-profit organization managed by the Al Sudaniya women's group.
• To stimulate the production of saleable items by providing market feedback; to improve quality and design; to market and test prototype items; to have a revolving fund in order to purchase, stock and market craft goods through the centre.
• To involve and train women in management and encourage local talent in all aspects of product design.
• To promote the culture of the Sudan through traditional crafts using local fibres and materials.
• To establish an authority controlling production and providing consumers with a good standard.
• To train women in the production of good-quality clothes, such as school uniforms and children's clothes that are badly needed on the local market. The women should be able to compete with male tailors and imported goods.
Development policy status of the project objectives
One of the priorities in the development policy of the Sudan are projects designed to serve women. So far, the methods used to reach women producers have been rather primitive. One possible way of positioning national/local staff in villages and the poor quarters of towns would be via Al Sudaniya, which would cooperate with SGNED and other national and international organizations as long as the latter were willing to follow the ideals and aims of Al Sudaniya. Al Sudaniya women. Obligatory paragraphs in project documents referring to the importance of women and development are not sufficient. All development activities should be sensitive to opportunities to strengthen the capacity of Sudanese women to help themselves. In this connection, project activities should give women the opportunity to receive/raining in programme planning, project planning and management.
For instance, women in rural communities in western Sudan and other parts of the country are primary producers., Within the household economy, women have to cope with the responsibilities of food production, the daily burden of food preparation, bringing up a family and the time-consuming task of getting water and fuel. The heavy burden borne by the majority of women, in addition to their low level of education limits their access to technology and those government services and rights to which they are legally entitled, as well as reducing their capacity for self-help.
Women in rural areas who perform work such as handicrafts, food processing and the like, often lack the programming and management skills necessary to draw up proposals for funding and to implement activities. Regional institutions, which would serve to expand food processing, handicraft development or marketing, are often weak, underdeveloped, underfunded or non-existent.
To sum up: now that the market outlet in the capital is guaranteed by the centre, it is Al Sudaniya's aim to prepare several project proposals related to strengthening women producers and to assist existing projects by training women in self-help activities such as handicrafts, sewing, food production and processing, marketing activities, management etc. Al Sudaniya will continue to act as a marketing centre for products manufactured by women and other needy persons and will, at the same time, help to train women in self-help activities.
Sixth International Solar Forum
The Sixth International Solar Forum will be held in Berlin (West) from 30 August to 2 September 1988. The central topic of the meeting will be "Renewable resources and efficient use of energy in industrialized and developing countries". It is being organized by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Sonnenenergie e. V. (DOS; German Solar Energy Society). The Solar Forum is sponsored by the Senate of Berlin and the Minister for Economic Cooperation.
Renewable resources and efficient use of energy are of great importance for both industrialized as well as developing countries. Their potential for helping to conserve fossil resources and limiting the ecological consequences of energy consumption is high. In the industrialized countries there is a clearly recognizable trend towards limiting energy consumption. But in the developing countries the demand for energy is likely to increase as their populations grow and industrialization continues.
Present status and development potential of energy technology
Therefore, one of the main purposes of this conference is to show the present status of technical systems for energy conversion and indicate possible future developments. Important aspects of joint or complementary developments in the future become apparent when industrialized and developing countries are compared.
In addition to scientific and technical subjects, socio-ecological problems and questions of employment policy will be discussed, as well as possible new approaches to cooperation.
• Federal and state government strategies for research and development and technical cooperation
The conference fees are DM 400 for participants, DM 300 for speakers and DM 200 for students. Registrations and requests should be addressed to
Producer Gas Round Table
This year's meeting of the Producer Gas Round Table was held in Lisbon (Portugal) from 1 to 3 June. Apart from GTZ/GATE, it was attended by the following organizations: DGIS, ENEA, FAO, EEC, IDRC, USAID, World Dank and SIDA.
The Producer Gas Round Table is a loose grouping of international institutions working in the field of gasification of biomass. The annual Round Table meetings serve to foster the exchange of experience and Information among the participating partners.
We will inform you of the results of this year's meeting in the next issue of "gate".
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