During an initial mapping for the Artisan Women-project, the beneficiaries expressed that their main challenges included: How to attract more customers for artisan products? How to to virtually communicate with potential buyers; How to choose clients and how to keep a continuous communication with the clients. Hence the project set out to enhance the capacities of the target group by trainings in marketing, entrepreneurship, setting up a business plan, communication techniques, marketing, financing programmes and networking with tourist operators.
The project also aimed to elevate the status and increase the understanding of handicrafts as part of Albanian cultural heritage. The trainings consisted of two main activities. Firstly, a 2-day session with artisan women from the Northern Albania, which is an area where handcrafts make up the main earning activities for entire families. And secondly a fair exhibiting a range of the handicrafts produced by the community. The 2-day session was attended by 32 participants whilst the exhibition, included 10 booths where around 20 women from the training and others contacted exposed their products.
The project was concluded with the production of a catalogue with photos and contact numbers of all artisan women who benefitted from the project. The catalogue was distributed to souvenir shops and touristic agencies in order to have a continuous promotion of their work. During the course of the project some challenges arose. For example, some husbands of the women collecting the contact information of artisan women for promotional aims, which hindered the full scope of the initiative. Furthermore, the evaluation of the trainings for the participants was complicated by the fact that many of the beneficiaries did not want to complete the evaluation form either due to illiteracy or lack of will.
The results achieved included increased capacities among artisan women within the field of entrepreneurship and networking. Elevated status of artisan handicraft products in highlighting Albanian cultural heritage.