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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


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.
Homebound Pakistani women relied on their male relatives to get their embroidered cloth products to markets.
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.
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.
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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