BADAWEYA Women's Handicraft Initiative

BADAWEYA Women's Handicraft Initiative

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Last Update: December 9, 2013

BADAWEYA empowers female Bedouin handicraft producers to build up their own business. We support the women in developing their products, train them in business skills and link them to suitable sales markets. We aim at combining women's empowerment, community development and preservation of tradition

Founded: 2011 Type: citizen sector

The Problem

Climatic changes in Sinai forced Bedouin tribes to become settlers. Their new sedentary lifestyle is characterized by high unemployment (~95%), poverty, illiteracy (~70%) and changes of roles. While being nomads the Bedouin women substantially contributed to the families’ economic situation by herding the livestock and producing food. Nowadays they are left with few economic opportunities, younger women are restricted to stay within their houses.

The Solution

Bedouin women produce beautiful traditional handicrafts at home. The quality does, however, not match standards of growing handicraft markets in Egypt/MENA/Europe. BADAWEYA draws on this point and empowers the women to successfully market their products. At the same time it promotes the women's personal development and strengthens their role in society. Our program: Explore markets in Egypt&abroad - assess training needs – Hold trainings in professional sewing/design/marketing/business skills – Hold classes on health/literacy/education – Promote the development of competitive products grounded in traditions and tailored to market demands - Link the women distributors in Egypt&abroad - Support participants to run their own businesses


Meet Amira (21 y.) and Selma (40 y.). The women have participated in BADAWEYA’s trainings which have improved their understanding of sewing, quality management, product design and business management. Together with the trainers, their group developed 3 new products and designs inspired by old traditions and modern principles of product design. In the future: Together with others Amira and Selma will start a small cooperative venture in 2015. The venture will sell to a hotel chain, two shops in Cairo, a German trade chain and over the internet. They will hand out orders to 200 Bedouin women who will earn $160/month (average worker's salary). Being important information sources and breadwinners, the women are heard in family decisions.


BADAWEYA aims at women’s financial empowerment and capacity building in the community, not charity but market driven. Up to date, 40 women of the Tarabeen tribe participated in bi-monthly trainings on design and sewing, resulting in improved workmanship of products and in the development of three new product lines. Five participants started home working groups in order to train other women and two of them established self-organized literacy classes. Sessions on health awareness are held three times a week with five to seven participants each time. Contacts to similar initiatives, designers and stores in Cairo are being established. Another 400 women of the community want to participate in the future. Approximately 1,500 persons (family members) could benefit from BADAWEYA’s program. At the same time the wealth of the Bedouin’s cultural heritage is valued, preserved and revived.

Budget: $10,000 - $50,000

Sustainability Plan

BADAWEYA is supported by volunteers and personal loans. A German donor (GIZ) funded trainings and is offering organizational counseling. A reliable funding for the next year is necessary as a seed funding, in order to pay trainers, purchase training materials and rent a location for trainings. As the initiative aims at creating self-reliant sustainable small cooperative ventures that generate income, subsequent funding will not be necessary.


In the project area there are no programs that combine income generation with capacity building. Initiatives such as FanSina, Bashayer, Yadawee, A.P.E and Akhmim textiles target different populations and/or sell different items. They are possible partners in knowledge exchange and lobbying. BADAWEYA will come up with well-crafted products that uniquely reflect the Sinai. Distributors are in Cairo, at touristic locations, the internet and retailers abroad, all catering to social conscious or well-educated customers who look for high-end products that convey identity or history.

Founding Story

In 2011 the idea of BADAWEYA was developed by Bedouin women of Tarabeen village together with Hemaya NGO, when reflecting on how to improve the overall situation. In the beginning volunteers organized a meeting place and some activities (training/sports/social activities) wanted by the women. In 2013 the initiative evolved through the connection to an employment program of a German donor (GIZ). GIZ and BADAWEYA agreed then on launching a 9 month pilot that included market research, regular professional trainings and a variety of educational and community activities. The aim of the pilot was to assess which kind of project is possible and how it will be received by the community. The outcome has been very positive so far (see impact).


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