Scarcity of cane and increasing price of bamboo was making livelihood tough for rural artisans of Assam. That is when the North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd (NEDFi) developed a project with a motto "Create Wealth from Menace". The artisans were encouraged to use water hyacinth, an unwanted weed in water, to create handicraft products. This involved development of frugal technology and processes to ensure that final products were affordable to the targeted customers without compromising on the quality. The project is scalable and hence can be adopted for sustainable livelihood and women empowerment. The cost of raw material is zero and the value chain provides opportunity to each artisan -- unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled and master -- to earn as per their skill levels.
This innovative project has been sponsored by NEC, Shillong and provided a platform for promoting inclusive growth in the rural areas, by networking and bringing in the best in the business such as NID for design, UNIDO for linkage with foreign technology and NEDFi for its strength on micro credit, marketing and hand-holding of artisans.
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