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United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
   Alleviating Poverty through Social Development (Environment)
 Save the Weavers
Linking cultural heritage to economic and social development
Micro-credit : Promoting crafts, preserving cultural heritage and assisting highly skilled craftspeople to avoid falling into poverty

UNESCO's "Fashion for Development" strategy; offers visibility to innovative local development models (microfinance programmes), promotes the work of traditional craftspeople and fosters linkages between artisans, designers and fashion houses, and secures markets for the products of traditional craftspeople. It seeks not only to bring together the essential components (skill, capital, technical assistance, marketing, culture and creativity) necessary to help traditional craftspeople develop sustainable microenterprises but also to preserve the cultural heritage of different population groups.

UNESCO in collaboration with the Grameen Bank and Bibi Russell, a Bangladeshi designer, organised Culture , Creativity and Crafts towards Poverty Eradication. Attention of the European fashion houses was drawn to the quality and originality of the Bangladeshi hand-woven fabrics, and as a result approximately 30,000 weavers in Bangladesh received work filling orders of European buyers.

These promotional events are followed by programmes which are designed to respond to the specific needs of weavers of different regions. Financial services, managerial skill, use of appropriate technology alone may not be sufficient to make weavers' enterprises grow into stronger and more permanent businesses. Micro-entrepreneurs, especially those living in rural areas, face tremendous problems in selling their products due to lack of knowledge in marketing. Therefore, within the framework of this strategy for the weavers'survival along with the interest in enterprise development, awareness of the importance of marketing and access to markets for microentrepreneurs is built. UNESCO, while demonstrating the importance of establishing linkages in the development process between the local and the global levels , encourages its Member States to link traditional handloom enterprises with product policies responsive to fashion trends and aimed at winning new markets locally and internationally.

Progress and Promise

  • Strategy to be replicated in Latin America and Africa
  • Promoting environment-friendly rural microenterprises.
  • Sustaining and creating employment
  • Expanding marketing opportunities for weavers.
  • Facilitating south-south collaboration.


  • Approximately 30,000 weavers in Bangladesh received wirk filling orders of European buyers

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