Partnering with Japan to connect displaced Syrian women to markets

8 August 2017
ITC News

Traditional designs made by Syrian artisans are featured during the Fêtes de Genève to attract international buyers.

Buying goods and doing good – that’s the idea behind the showcasing of artisanal products made by displaced Syrian women at the Fêtes de Genève, an annual summer event in Geneva, from 3-13 August this year.

The pop-up stand features traditional designs with a modern twist, from shirts to purses, glassware, soaps and more. All sales go directly to an association of internally displaced women living in Damascus, Syria, who receive specialized training to produce high-quality products for online sales.

The stand is organized by the Made by Women association with the Swiss-Syrian designer Rania Kinge, and it is supported by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Government of Japan.

ITC Deputy Executive Director Dorothy Tembo and H.E. Ambassador Junichi Ihara of Japan visited the stand on 7 August to meet the designer and hear the stories behind the products.

See more photos of the Fêtes de Genève stand here.

Targeting European markets

By interacting with customers in Geneva, a city that is home to a number of international organizations, designers can better understand what customers from around the world look for and then create products that better cater to their tastes.

ITC and the Government of Japan are working together through the ITC E-Solutions Programme to empower and connect internally displaced women in Syria to international markets. ITC helps arrange exports of handicrafts, jewellery, and fashion and decorative items through e-commerce, showing that digital tools can bring in income and help preserve cultural traditions. The project is designed to bridge the gap between humanitarian assistance and development assistance by connecting internally displaced people to global markets.

Starting in July 2017, these Syrian products have been sold at 109 Shibuya, a well-known department store in Tokyo.