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Middlemen as Agents of Change Image

Promoting Inclusive Markets and Financial Systems

Middlemen as Agents of Change

Middlemen as Agents of Change

Summary

Helping rural, home-bound women embroiderers to reach high-value urban markets sustainably and on a large scale.
In 5 years with under $600,000, profitable women sales agents have linked over 9,000 home-bound rural women to urban markets.

Implemented by:
Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and the Enterprise and Career Development Institute (ECDI), a Pakistani women’s enterprise development program.
Problem:
Homebound Pakistani women relied on their male relatives to get their embroidered cloth products to markets.
Solution:
ECDI trained 185 female sales agents to help women reach lucrative markets through a network of women traders, bringing them designs, input, training, and better prices.
Success:
Linked 9,000 women to markets. Embroiderers have on average tripled their income, inspiring other women to enter the market for the first time. All this in three years, using under $600,000 of USAID and private funding.
Sustainability:
Profitable women traders bring in new sales representatives to trade in new areas. Several new for-profit marketing houses link rural and urban traders. A new trade association facilitates marketing and continuous industry development.



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