Manos del Uruguay

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Manos del Uruguay: Non-profit Organization which provided jobs for craftswomen livinin rural areas.

Montevideo, UruguayGuichón, Cerro Largo, Soriano, Tacuarembó, Florida, Uruguay
Año de Fundación:
Tipo de organización: 
Sin fines de lucro / ONG / Sector Civil
Etapa del Proyecto:
$1 million - $5 million
Resumen del Proyecto
Presentación del Proyecto!

Resumen conciso: Ayúdenos a presentar esta solución! Proporcione una explicación en 3 o 4 frases cortas.

The artisans are organized in cooperatives that are located in small towns of Uruguay´s country side. There, they spin, dye, knit and weave the Uruguayan wool with dedication, skill and care, creating wonderful garments. Providing for their families and maintaining the traditions.

¿QUE PASA SI..? - inspiración: escriba una frase que describa una manera en la que su proyecto se atreve a preguntar, "¿QUE PASA SI..?"

More towns in Uruguay could have cooperatives, teaching more women and providing job using traditionals knitting techniques, allowing this women stay in their homes, raising children and supporting their families?
About Project

Problema: ¿Qué problema está tratando de abordar este proyecto?

Usually in small towns, far away from capital, there are not many job opportunities for women living there. The men used to work in the in agriculture and livestock, but women don´t have too many options. Manos del Uruguay provide work for these women giving them the opportunity to empower themselves learning a skill, earning a fair wage with health insurance and paid vacations, and staying in their towns with their families and childrens.

Solución: cuál es la solución propuesta? Por favor sé específico!

We are grouped in 12 cooperatives that bring together 200 craftswomen distributed in 19 localities in the interior of the country. Cooperatives have their central offices in these cities and towns, and, in addition, there are groups of craftswomen operating in different localities, more or less far away. Meanwhile the Service Center is located in Montevideo, the capital, and 77 employees approximately work there, to provide the Cooperatives with different services such as products design, supply of materials and raw materials, technical training, manufacturing and tool maintenance, sale of production, financing, advising and training for the cooperatives directors, and, among others, advising for those who perform administrative functions.


-UNESCO Award of Excellence, (2010, 2012, 2014) -We were shortlisted for the Award of Excellence given annually by the World Craft Council for Handcraft products of Southern Cone.
Impact: How does it Work

Ejemplo: Guíenos a través de un ejemplo/s específico/s de cómo esta solución hace la diferencia; incluya sus actividades principales.

....AND THIS IS HOW WE STARTED, THE WOOL HAD TO BE TRANSPORTED “The wool came to the cattle ranch, and then the ranch foreman sent it over here. He brought it here, because it was very difficult to transport (...). Well, with a lot of sacrifice, but finally we got started (Alicia – Mellizos) - “Because, imagine, the wool had to be brought from the station...All of us came over, with no exception..."We went all on the truck, loaded the truck, we came back, got off the truck, arranged the wool, every thing in the stock had to be very tidy...""Because we all wanted to make a little bit, we all wanted to work”. (Ema – Río Branco).....and the production, we brought it on handcarts. All the craftswomen, like ants, with the bag".

Impacto: ¿Cuál ha sido el impacto del trabajo hasta ahora? Asimismo, describa el impacto previsto en el futuro para los próximos años.

Those heroic times when small independent groups of women met to spin fleece with spinning wheels, in isolated and faraway places, have been left behind. They gave way to new times, in which the same group of artisans, are organized in cooperatives, work using modern technology and obtain high-quality products, without losing the prized magic of handicrafts. Women with only a few years of primary school, without any other prospects in life than getting married, became the businesswomen who run Manos del Uruguay. In these early days nobody could have ever imagined what that initial idea, arisen from the need to palliate the difficult situation of countryside women, would finally become in a collective construction, to which the founders, the artisans, the adhering members, the employees of the Service Center, and volunteers have contributed their creativity, work and enthusiasm.

Estrategias de Expansión: Avanzar, qué son los estrategias principales para ampliar su impacto?

Thinking in the future, we should increase the technology in cooperatives to have better communications between central service and the places where production it is done. It is necessary to teach the artisans how to use computers, skype, and media communications to make the work easy for them and for us. And also have the resources to maintain this digital net working. At the same time we need financial resources to expand the markets abroad offering and selling products under our brand, promoting our Organizations and applying marketing strategies to expand our horizons.

Plan de Sustentabilidad Financiera: ¿Cuál es el plan para asegurar la sostenibilidad financiera de esta solución?

We work all the craft techniques that serves to develop wool garments. We dyed by artisan way using vibrant solid colors, making the Manos palette something unique, special and easily recognizable in the world. We spinning and dyed by hand our handcraft yarns, sold in the U.S. and Europe markets. We also work with international brands to develop and produce their exclusive design.

Mercado: ¿Quién mas está abordando el problema aquí descrito ? ¿Cómo difiere el proyecto propuesto de esos enfoques?

Some similar projects are: lem-lem or iouproject We can´t say with certainty why our business level would be better than their proposal but what we do know is that they have existed throughout history several similar projects that have tried to do something similar with the craftswomen works but for various reasons they have failed. We could warrant that we have 48 years of experience demonstrating that the methodology employed and logistical do work. Our greatest difficulty in accessing to credit to enable us to fund projects that allow us to grow

Historia fundacional

There were a group of friends who lived with their families, in the countryside. Were the owners of agricultural and livestock establishments and had contacts with those who made crafts in wool or leather, products that were impossible to place at remunerative prices in the rural zones, due to the population’s low purchasing power. We all had as a goal to find income sources for the hundreds of craftswomen in the provinces. We started to outline a project that would operate under cooperative principles only eight years later when the groups themselves assumed the responsibility. The fact is that we were looking for an organization not only for craftswomen, but belonging to craftswomen.

El Equipo

Manos del Uruguay is run by a Managing Committee made up of representatives of the Cooperatives. The members of the Managing Committee change every two years, and as of 1988, the Cooperative Representatives have represented the majority of the Managing Committee. The artisans are grouped in 12 cooperatives that bring together around 200 craftswomen distributed in localities in the interior of the country. In the Central Services there are a General Manager hired for the Managing Committe. There are 4 work departments: Production Department, Technical Department, Administration, Comercial Department. Each department has a Department Manager and people playing differents roles: Administration: cash register person, human resources, digital technics, administrative people, CFO, accountant, etc Comercial department: Marketing, Designers and products developments, Sellers, commercial manager Production department: quality control, Deposit, labor man, production manager, purchasing agent, etc Technical department: product technique developers, weavers, knitters, dying department, etc. The structure of the organization is ready to expand hiring more staff to the service center. The number of artisans working in cooperatives could also be extended and even install new cooperatives in other towns.
Cadena de Valor: ¿ En qué parte de la cadena de valor de la industria textil trabaja su proyecto? (Marcar todas las que correspondan)

Fabricación, Consumo .

Tu rol: ¿Cuál es tu relación con la industria textil? (Marcas todas las que correspondan)

Diseñador, Trabajador Textil , Dueño de Fabrica , Empleado de una ONG, Investigador, Vendedor Minorista - Centro Comercial, Vendedor Minorista - de local especializado, Proveedor.

Población Objetivo: ¿Qué grupos principales e interesados empoderan con su trabajo? (marcar todas las que corresponden)

Auditores, Marcas , Consumidores, Diseñadores, Trabajadores de Fabricas Textiles, Investigador, Vendedores - Local especializado, Mujeres .

Foco de trabajo: ¿Qué objetivos tratar de lograr? [marcar todas las que aplican]

Acceso al financiamiento, Conciencia del consumo , Igualdad de género.

Impulso del cambio: seleccionar al menos 3 formas en las que tu trabajo ayuda a transformar la industria textil

Organización, Capacitación .

¿El proyecto está solucionando algunos de los siguientes problemas claves del sector?

Los consumidos no están motivados para tomar conciencia: Ni hay razones de peso ni medios cercanos para cambiar los hábitos de los consumidores , La sustentabilidad todavía no está en el ADN: Los modelos actuales de moda desincentivan economías de valor.

¿Tu proyecto utiliza alguno de los siguientes de estos principios de innovación?

Unir más que las voces: Impulsar Comunidades de Capital y Recursos Colectivos , Activar el cómo hacer para impulsar soluciones: Construir oportunidades para que trabajadores se conviertan en líderes.

Innovación Inspiradora: ¿Cuándo pensaste tu proyecto por primera vez, pensaste que era aplicable para la industria textil?


Si respondiste "no" a la pregunta anterior, ¿Con que industria tratabas de trabajar originalmente?

● Replicabilidad en la industria textil: Si tu proyecto todavía no ha comenzado a trabajar con la industria textil, ¿Cómo se adapta o se podría adaptar a la industria textil?
¿Tu proyecto se nutre o se inspira en otros proyectos o emprendedores sociales? Si es así, ¿De qué manera lo hace?

Showing that it is possible to create a logistic process that allows artisan living in small comunities have a good job.

● Sobre tus alianzas y conexiones que alimentan tu trabajo: ¿De qué manera han colaborado con otros actores de la industria para mejorar su impacto? [450 caracteres - 75 palabras]

We work with international brands to develop and produce exclusive design that drives us to use our techniques in a new ways.

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