The past two days have been invaluable to our project. Yesterday we were able to meet with a group of women in Ba who make a variety of traditional crafts, primarily for Fijian events such as weddings and funerals. The women make the majority of their crafts by hand, and it was amazing to see the time and effort that went into their work.
We were then able to meet with “friend” an organization in Fiji which works with women on income generation initiatives. Generally, the women friend works with are more interested in making a business out of their work, and it would appear these women would make excellent use of a microfinance opportunity.
Finally, we met with a village that makes traditional Fijian salt. This was our most productive visit to date. The women of this village are extremely entrepreneurial and are anticipating turning their salt into a real commercial product. The village will be a place where tourists can come and watch the traditional salt being made…for a price of course. Upon leaving, tourists will be allowed to buy the salt, known for its restorative properties…again, for a price.
These big plans all come at a cost though, and this is where microfinance could really help. Additionally, these women could benefit from advisory services which an MFI could provide.
Today we’re in Suva, and have several meetings on the agenda. We’ll be sure to keep the blog up to date as we conclude our time here in Fiji. As much as we’re all missing Kelley, it will be hard to leave the people and island of Fiji.
Guest blog post provided by Matt Hutchens, Kelley MBA 2011.