A Market Survey Report on Handicraft Products in Gulu District - Uganda
Keywords:Handicraft, Items, Skills, Products
The two-decade civil war in northern Uganda, which lasted from 1986 until 2006, Gulu district experienced violence that wrecked the rest of Acholiland. After the war, Gulu District witnessed rapid growth in slums where social conditions have worsened. There is a new population that is mostly young and extremely poor. Many of them are the new landless, unable to leave town and move back to rural areas, and thus without the hope of return that had sustained many of the wartime displaced, but also without hope of employment in town. A handful of these vulnerable groups have been engaged in handicraft production, unfortunately, in Uganda training in handicraft production has often been given little attention. Largely training in handicraft production is purely informal, often results into a skills mismatch between trainee and the world of work and lack of serious quality control standards. Umbrella of Hope Initiative (UHOPI) a local NGO operating in Gulu came up with the intervention of training these vulnerable groups in handicraft production with the aim that beneficiaries would be able to be self-reliant after acquiring the skills. The trainees were expected to venture into handicraft business with the hope that this would be a source of their livelihood. In order to ensure that handicraft business would bring sustainable development to the vulnerable groups, UHOPI commissioned a market survey in handicraft products in Gulu City. Questionnaires and interview guides were the tools that was used to collect the data. The Respondents indicated their views on; basic information on handicrafts, market for handicraft products, profitability of handicraft products and obtaining trainers in handicraft production. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the data. Qualitative responses were coded into themes and their frequencies obtained and triangulated in the aspects under study. The findings revealed that handicraft shoes and bags are the most demanded items in Uganda and particularly in Gulu city which is highly correlated with the handcraft items being trained in the region. It further revealed that there is ready market for these products within Gulu city and the country at large and most raw materials can easily be acquired locally. Also, handicraft items are very profitable especially door mats, bags and shoes. The survey recommended that UHOPI should: (i) train more youth in handicraft bags and shoes making since they create jobs for the youth and the markets are easily available; (ii) compare the raw materials got from Kampala and those locally made to produce bags, and identify the best raw materials that would make quality bags; (iii) engage more market vendors to come up with the actual start-up capital for making bags and shoes.
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