SUMMARY REPORT ON Returnees Enterprises Development Program (RED)

 

SUMMARY REPORT ON

Returnees Enterprises Development Program

(RED)

Project Introduction:

This project is a step towards highlighting the potential of this sub-sector with a special focus on how to increase both the quality and quantity of carpet production, as well as facilitate greater integration of returnees in carpet value chain. Successful carpet value chain development involves where all stakeholders are focused on the needs of the market and create collaborative business models that promote equitable growth. Achieving GoIRA vision of broad-based economic growth particularly in carpet sector and reintegration of the returnees in this sector is the ultimate goal of carpet value chain development.

To address sustainable economic and livelihood opportunities and needs of Returnees, Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Programme (AREDP) design a new project under the title of returnees enterprises development program, this program support the 5000 families in Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Balkh, Baghlan, Nangarhar, Parwan and Laghaman provinces. The project will be focused in strengthening entrepreneurial competencies and qualities and to build capacity of 5,000 entrepreneurs (Returnees) in carpet and other potential sectors;  mainstreaming Returnees in economic development to reduce unemployment, poverty reduction and street crimes; developing various carpet business related skills of marketing & selling and quality business management; providing carpet related business resources such as raw material/materials, business items, tools & equipment etc.; increasing awareness of men and women about the employment and income generation opportunities in the carpet sector; and Promoting women networking platforms to encompass a range of female entrepreneurs to provide collective insight, experience and advice, as well as to potentially provide a larger economy of scale.

1.    Project Objective:

To create and facilitate sustainable employment opportunities and increase income through enterprise/entrepreneurship development interventions in 8 provinces (Kabul, Nangarhar, Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Parwan, Baghlan and Laghman) for 5,000 Returnees in Carpet and other potential sectors. 

Specific Objectives are:

·         Develop and strengthen entrepreneurial competencies and skills, to build capacity of 5,000 entrepreneurs (Returnees) as direct beneficiaries and 15000 returnees as in director beneficiaries in carpet sectors and its value chain. 

·         To mainstreaming Returnees in economic development to reduce unemployment, poverty reduction and street crimes;

·         To develop various carpet business related skills of marketing & selling and quality business management;

·         To provide carpet related business resources such as raw material/materials, business items, tools & equipment etc.;

·         To increase awareness of men and women about the employment and income generation opportunities in the carpet sector;

·         Increase market information flows to potential entrepreneurs with limited mobility;

·         Build the skills of entrepreneurs on business management etc.

·         Facilitate and encourage entrepreneurs to utilize their skills for income generation activities with the provision of specific training in identified areas – e.g. value-addition etc.;

·         Build the carpet weaving, polishing, cutting, dying and other technical and entrepreneurship skills;

·         Support business diversification and identification of market gaps and economic opportunities

·         Build the capacity of community groups in business portfolio management;

·         Develop the entrepreneurial competencies and business management skills of women entrepreneurs;

·         Promote women networking platforms to encompass a range of female entrepreneurs to provide collective insight, experience and advice, as well as to potentially provide a larger economy of scale.

2.    Result indicators:

2.1         60% of the Enterprises (out of which 60% are carpet based) increased their income by over 20%. At least 30% of these will be women owned;

2.2         At least 30% of participating Enterprises Groups (out of which 60% are carpet based) or their participating enterprises increased direct and/or indirect employment by at least 20%. Of these at least 30% will be women;

2.3         Of the total number of direct beneficiaries at least 30 % will be women;

2.4         Of the total number of EGs at least 30% will be managed by the women beneficiaries;

2.5         At least 80% of the businesses established with the support of the project continue after 1 year of their establishment;

2.6         At least 10% increase in direct and/or indirect employment by SMEs;

2.7         50% of the supported SMEs report increased revenues;

2.8         At least 5% of project supported SMEs are female owners;

2.9         100% beneficiaries received technical and business management skills development training out of which 30% are women and 20% received apprenticeship;

2.10      Project management takes and records all necessary actions related to findings of regular Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning reports;

2.11      90% of grievances registered related to delivery of project benefits that are actually addressed;

2.12      Project management satisfactorily addresses the findings of the statutory audit conducted by the Auditor General for managed projects; and findings from an additional commercial audit to be undertaken on a yearly basis;

2.13      At least 50 project supported Business Development Service Providers paid-for services in each Province.

3.    Project Activities and Methodology:

 

AREDP will adopt the carpet values chain development approach to increase the competitiveness of enterprises to sustainably creating employment and income opportunities and alleviating poverty. Through this approach entire value chain of carpet sector will be able to deliver a product/services to the consumer more efficiently, with a higher quality and/or in a more unique form. Key factor affecting the functioning of a value chain are the quality of relationships between different stakeholders. Strong, mutually beneficial relationships between enterprises will be facilitated to transfer of information, skills and services for upgrading enterprises based on a variety non-financial incentives.

 

Separate Unit of Carpet Value Chain Development at PMO level will manage the project cycle, however, capacity building training to the Staff and beneficiaries will be conceptualized, organized and supervised by the Training Unit.

 

Following are the suggested interventions to be implemented:

 

1.1               Identification and Selection of Major Spots/Locations:

During the inception AREDP team will identify the major spot in the major cities of the proposed Provinces with the collaboration of the MoRR, IOM and UNHCR. For an efficient development strategy viable and feasible areas need will be demarcated in the Provinces. The following conditions: physical resources, infrastructure, trained manpower and of basic services and facilities, production levels potentials, administrative easiness, market accessibility, potential for business opportunities, people's participation and living in clustering. For the identification of major spots, data regarding some of the above key criteria may be obtained by means of rapid appraisal methods. Additional preferential criteria for starting participatory projects are e.g. areas:

·         With above average concentration of one or more categories of Returnees;

·         With a sufficient number of actual and/or potential viable economic activities and also market outlets;

·         Spot in which the essential services and facilities are present and can be delivered to the potential entrepreneurs. This is to ensure that the beneficiary groups once formed, will have a fair chance to have their production and other requirements met in time;

·         Spots where these groups can have an influence and multiplication effort on existing projects; and

·         Spots which are not too a-typical. i.e. have such specific hard geographic, economic, social and/or political (unrest) conditions that a participatory project is likely to become unsuccessful, at least for the time being.

 

1.2               Resources Mobilization:

The conceptual framework behind resources mobilization is identical to that describe by the traditional program cycle, in that process can be divided into clear phases of planning. However, the most important resources are the Human Resources. Mobilizing of Human Resources (HR) is a fundamental component to the program delivery and impact. To ensure the successful implementation, deliver and results, AREDP will establish separate unit of experts in enterprise development. However the current structure will be continued.

 

1.3               Situation Analysis and Market Study/Survey:

AREDP will conduct Carpet Value Chain Assessment and Analysis (market survey, baseline survey of skills level and matching skills with the market needs and demand and potential income generations opportunities). Carpet sectors will be assessed analyzed and a customized mapping of resources will be conducted. In this approach AREDP will also consider all stakeholders, national and international organization data and information that support accessing to the target beneficiaries. The program will also survey the demanding business sectors and will select number of economically viable Businesses/Sectors and identify the most innovative products and the related backwards and forwards linkages. This assessment will help AREDP to measure the number of eligible Returnees.

1.4               Enterprise Mobilization:

Enterprise Mobilization and orientation meeting with Returnees will be carried out for in depth understanding of the project/programme and to identify and select 5,000 direct beneficiaries the entrepreneur. UNHCR, MoRR and other relevant Ministries, Department and National and International Non-Government Organizations will be mobilized for the identification, selection and or verification of Returnees. All data and information will be verified by AREDP Team in the field to mitigate any errors.

 

1.5               Establishment of SGs and VSLAs:

AREDP will assess the currents situation and time limitation and the current situation of the returnees’ existence in non-permanent setups it will be challenge to establish and strengthen SGs and VLSAs concept for saving and loaning and easy access to informal community based financial institutions. However, where possible AREDP will continue the establishing and strengthening of Saving Groups (SGs) and Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLAs) in Returnees communities.

 

1.6               Capacity Building:

AREDP experienced and observed that one of the significant hindrances to high quality production is inadequate knowledge, awareness, and skills. More efforts are needed in capacity development with regard to designing, weaving techniques (knotting, trimming, edging etc), and quality control.

AREDP will facilitate 5,000 Returnees with technical trainings and business development counseling’s/advising to involve them in business incubation, employment and self-employment activities. In-general   trainings on (soft and technical skills, exposure visits and on the job trainings) will be provided. The trainings will be tailored to the specific needs and skills of beneficiaries that range from enterprises development, business management, costing and pricing, business planning, marketing & selling, bookkeeping, customer care, etc., and need based technical skills development trainings. Technical skills will be provided by AREDP supported 26 SMEs (22 Male and 4 female). This strategy will also develop the forward and backward linkages with these SMEs and will also open the corridors for business connections and relationship with Exporters and Importers.

1.7               Enterprise Development Support:

AREDP will apply a robust enterprise development approach for 5,000 enterprises, through:

1.7.1          Business establishment: Develop Production Units to empower carpet and other sectors producers to advocate for better wages and working conditions, and to initiate direct marketing strategies. These production units will also act as ‘mini factories’ where producers will have access to key resources such as raw material and designs, and will be able to come together to learn new skills and improved weaving techniques. These units may also organize regular exposure visits to the market in order to help providers create direct linkages with wholesalers/exporters. A directory of major stakeholders would be a useful addition allowing producers to maintain regular contact with key persons in the local, national, and international marketplaces.

1.7.2          Provision of tools and or equipment: Returnees will be trained to produce uniform quality of products and the required marketable quantity lots. Each beneficiary will be provided with better mechanized equipment and improved hand-tools to help improve their productivity. AREDP supported SMEs will be mobilized and motivated to support and facilitate the process of identification of appropriate tools and equipment.

1.7.3          Marketing: Assist entrepreneurs (producers, manufacturers and wholesalers/exporters) in improving and devising proper marketing channels including website development, linkages to international web-based marketing, inventory management, financial management, quality control, and branding. Efforts will also be made to strengthen the capacity of entrepreneurs to understand markets and concerns related to both quality and quantity of market production. In the development of additional marketing groups. Facilitate Afghan participation in international trade shows.

 

1.7.4          Product development: Every entrepreneur should know that productivity is one of the key ingredients for successful product development. The new product development process is often referred to as value addition or and innovation process. Team and technical skills development trainers will collaborate in developing new innovations, having the following seven steps and will ensure that it’s overall marketability will happen relatively quick, and accurately – making everyone productive across the board.

Step 1: Generating Idea;

Step 2: Screening the Idea;

Step 3: Testing the Concept;

Step 4: Business Analytics;

Step 5: Marketability Tests;

Step 6: Technicalities (color scheming and designing);

Step 7: Costing and Pricing

1.7.5          Apprenticeship: Where possible, the potential entrepreneurs will be placed into workplace of successful SMEs in the market to learn and improve their business skills for a specific period of time and will be assisted with reasonable toolkits in order to physically start their business.

1.7.6          Linkages building: AREDP will facilitate and develop linkages of Returnees with institution/organizations, support product/services market and value chain actors (input suppliers, wholesales/trader, processors and retailers) through product placements, exhibitions, market exposures and product development interventions. AREDP will mobilize it supported SMEs for linkages development and enable producers to identify business opportunities and appropriate marketing channels.

1.7.7          Exposure visits: Exposure visits to the market, at the national and regional level, will help beneficiaries to develop a better understanding of the market (production technologies, best practices, etc) and maintain a direct link with wholesale merchants, trader/exporters and other stakeholders. Visit can also feature a linkage building process between the producers, the packaging, storage and transport operators, and input suppliers.

1.7.8          Exhibition: One (1) Kabul level exhibition will be arranged to exhibit the products and enterprises of Returnees and also the level of efforts of AREDP.

1.7.9          Establishment of Production Units: Where possible AREDP will also pilot the Development of Production Units to empower producers to advocate for better wages and working conditions, and to initiate direct marketing strategies. These production units will also act as ‘mini factories’ where producers will have access to key resources such as raw material and designs, and will be able to come together to learn new skills and improved weaving techniques. These units may also organize regular exposure visits to the market in order to help providers create direct linkages with wholesalers/exporters. A directory of major stakeholders would be a useful addition allowing producers to maintain regular contact with key persons in the local, national, and international marketplaces.

1.7.10      Development of Producers’ Associations: AREDP supported Enterprise Groups (EGs), Producers Associations (PAs), SMEs, as well as the Associations of Traders and Exporters, will be encouraged to support the development of Producers’ Associations. As well as providing essential services to its members (e.g. raw material, designs, contact information of important stakeholders, etc). These institutions will offer a platform for producers to voice their opinion and any concerns they may have related to production and the industry as a whole. 

 

1.7.11      Mentoring: Mentoring and on the job handholding support will be provided by Business Support Service Providers (BDSPs) to capacitate.