Zambian handloom weavers being trained at IIHT in Salem, India

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-02-12 13:00:00 – Zambia

Zambian handloom weaver received training at the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology (IIHT) in Salem on textile design, block printing, use of sophisticated handlooms and quality management. During the training period of two month they also visited several handloom cluster sites in Tamil Nadu. The programme, which was facilitated by the International Trade Centre (ITC), was backed by the Indian government's Ministry of Textiles as well as the IIHT.

Their graduation ceremony last week marked a new beginning for the weavers, who will spearhead ITC's pilot Handloom Cluster Development Project in Zambia. They will become the lead trainers of project beneficiaries in two cluster locations in Lusaka and Mumbwa. The master weavers will be linked up with stakeholders in Lusaka and cotton farming communities in the district of Mumbwa who are eagerly waiting to receive training.

The graduation ceremony was attended by Manoj Jain, Office of the Development Commissioner for Handloom, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, and Aselly Mwanza, Head, Gender, Business & Extension, Cotton Association of Zambia (CAZ).

One of the Zambians, Elizabeth Manyofwe, said that she had been encouraged by the study visits during which she saw men and women weaving within their homes. This has given her a new vision to go back to Zambia and teach especially the community.

The cotton handloom sector in Zambia has the potential to contribute substantially to employment creation and poverty reduction.

The Zambian Pilot Handloom Cluster Development project is part of a larger EU-financed programme for African cotton promotion and value addition. This programme seeks to introduce low-cost traditional techniques to stimulate artisanal textile production and competitiveness, and to build linkages to regional and international markets.

The project has supported the weavers to build value addition skills and move up the competitiveness ladder along the cotton value chain.

Eight handloom weavers from Zambia are set to promote higher-quality artisanal textile production in their home country having received training in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

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