I recently realized,  after studying a case study about CCAP (Community Crafts Association of the Philippines), that my vision on creating a sustainable livelihood for  poor rural artisans by helping them market their handicrafts may not be SUSTAINABLE TO THEM AFTER ALL.  (sigh).  Here’s the link:

http://www.fao.org/teca/content/community-based-woven-rattan-products-manufacturing>

This study shows that on the average each producer or artisan will just be earning P1000 per month, YES PER MONTH! In this study the foreign exchange rate then was P40=US$1 so its not very far from our situation right now which is around P42+=US$1.  P1000 per month, per person/family, no matter how you look at it will never be enough to give them sustainable livelihood.  I don’t even know if its enough for their basic needs.. That’s just P33/day!    This saddens me greatly because I’ve done a lot of research about this social enterprise and have been passionately talking about it to my friends, relatives, and previous colleagues.  What’s more is that my husband and I are already planning to go to a trip in Bicol (one of the rural areas here in the Philippines) 2 weeks from now.  He already has filed his 1 week leave! (sigh). So what to do now? I honestly don’t know but I’m keeping my faith because I know that God has called me to be a social entrepreneur and He will see me through this.   For now, I’m going to start doing my experimentation as what I have resolved yesterday in my Blog.  2 of the women social entrepreneurs who inspired me started with small steps through a simple exposure on the living conditions of the poor people and I’ll just have to do the same.  So I have decided that PJ (my husband) and I will push through with our rural visit and will see from there if we can solve any problem through whatever God has gifted us with.  May it be through a handicraft business or not.

So to answer my question, what to do when results are unexpectedly negative? Look at your vision again (remind yourself always why you want to do this), tweak your action items a bit (it’s wiser to adjust along the way than stick to something blindly just because the plan is already laid out) and just trust God will direct you to the right path.

By the way, here are a few pics I’ve seen in my research.  This comes from FRPDI (Forest Research Product Development Institute).  They are a branch of DOST (Dept. Of Science and Tech.) here in the Philippines who help train producers or artisans in building quality handicrafts.  You’ll see below that two of their handicrafts are very artistically and uniquely made and Export quality.  🙂 (one is a magazine rack and the other is a floor lamp) Proud to be Pinoy when I saw this.


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