Development Wheel: Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts

  • PDF

Arts & Crafts

Promotion of Fair Trade: Empowerment of Grassroots Artisan Groups

DEW is actively involved in creating sustainable employment and income generation opportunities for the disadvantaged artisan groups in rural and urban areas through promoting their arts and crafts in the Fair Trade markets.
The Arts and Crafts Promotion Program of DEW assists poor women in using their traditional craftsmanship to develop demand driven handicrafts and provides them with the market linkage support to ensure fair return of their products.

New Picture

Bamboo basket weaving by a DEW producer and creating market access by DEW

DEW is an active member of World Fair Trade Organization-WFTO. DEW’s Arts and Crafts groups produce hand-embroidered products, jute, terracotta, ceramic and different kinds of baskets made of palm leaf, Hogla (dry sea  grass), bamboo, cane, kisa (dry grass born in the river island) etc. DEW assists groups to aquire necessary technical skill in product development, provides design and quality control support, facilitates pre-finance and also, markets their products in local and international markets including USA, Europe, Australia, UK, Japan, Sweden, Italy etc.
DEW also provides skill development training support to other fair trade organizations within and outside the country.


What is Fair Trade

Fair Trade offers marginalized producers and workers a tool to alleviate poverty and improve their lives and livelihoods.  Fair Trade has become all the more relevant in the current global economic crisis, as the world’s poor suffer the effects of the economic recession disproportionately.  Over a million and a half producers and workers throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America already benefit from the better deal that Fair Trade offers. Worldwide, consumers spent over 2.3 billion Euros on Fair Trade.


Key elements of fair trade

Fair trade sets out to:

  •      Creating  opportunities for poor and marginal producers
  •      Transparency and accountability
  •      Capacity building of producer groups
  •      Ensure trading practices are fair, both in terms of payment and prices
  •      Gender equality
  •      Ensure that children are not being exploited
  •      Healthy working conditions
  •      Being environment friendly
  •      Promoting Fair Trade


What we do

As a Fair Trade organization we are committed to:

  • Focusing on trading with poor and marginalized producer groups, helping them develop skills and sustainable livelihoods through the trading relationship.
  • Pays fair prices that cover the full cost of production and enable a living wage and other fair rewards to be earned by producers.
  • Provides credit when needed to allow orders to be fulfilled.
  • Encourages the fair treatment of all workers, ensuring good conditions in the workplace and throughout the supply chain.
  • Aims to build up long-term relationships, rather than looking for short-term commercial advantage.

Our Mission:

To contribute to socio-economic development in Bangladesh through promoting fair trade options for small producers.



  • To provide a marketing channel for small producers in Bangladesh.
  • To support producer groups with product development and marketing.
  • To support producer groups through providing skill development training, credit, educational, climate change and its impact: mitigation strategy, health and other development support services (and by linking to other NGOs or donors who can do this).


Who do we work with?

Producer groups in Dhaka, Jessore, Manikgonj, Tangail, Gazipur, Jamalpur. Bogra and plan to start working with groups in other places of the country.

We work with low income producers in rural and semi urban areas.  We are currently working with 15 groups including 412 group members and 273 are female and 139 are male. 


Product Line of DEW

i.    Basketry  (Bamboo, Cane, Hogla (sea grass), Date palm leaf, Kaisa (dry grass born in the river islands)
ii.    Terracotta
iii.    Ceramics
iv.    Nakshi Kantha and Hand embroidery (Silk embroidery scarf’s, cushion covers, table accessories)
v.    Jute
vi.    Textile
vii.    Tapestry

In the future we would like to expand to work with textile, food items e.g chilli, aniseed, organic produce like fruits.

Product Development

We have held the following training, briefing sessions:

In the year 2004 Asia Fair Trade Forum AFTF provided product development and design support to DEW. One of the young and prominent designers, Mr. Denver came from Philippines to DEW for 2 weeks. DEW organized a two weeks long product development and design workshop in Dhaka and All groups of DEW Arts and Crafts sector participated in the workshop and developed new products and design. 

We provided product development support to our candle groups in Saver area. Ms. Boo Huston, designer came from England and conduct the training session. She is a professional designer and work for developing candle product design for European market. She comes through ECOTA Fair Trade Forum and the program was supported by DFID.

We also provided product development support to our Bamboo basketry group in Borni, Tangail   targeting the Japanese market. Ms Marumo Yumi, Design/Product development officer came from Global village, Japan. The support was provided by the Global Village, Japan. DEW is one of the development partners of Global Village. They provide us marketing support in Japan and UK.

We have arranged product development support to the producers through providing foreign and national designer’s product development support. We also invite our producers to join product development training/workshop organize by ECOTA Fair Trade Forum and BANGLACRAFT.

We also invite our producers to participate World Fair Trade day observance program organize by DEW and apex body of craft oriented organization ECOTA fair trade forum.

Market Development

We are currently marketing DEW products to Global Village a largest Fair Trade Company in Japan and UK, Oxfam Australia, World of Good USA, Rising International USA and ALTERNATIVE HANDEL Sweden.

We are planning to market our products to Fair Trade Company Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Ten thousand villages, and other European and American Fair Trade and Mainstream buyers.

In the year 2003-04 we exported our date palm leaf, cane, bamboo basketry and terracotta products to Fair Trade Company Japan, Oxfam Australia, Sweden and UK.

We develop markets through:
-  Promoting DEW items on our web site
-  DEW Handicraft wing SCANED by IFAT business consultant Mr. Toni Hall in September 2005. Mr. Toni developed a business development plan for DEW and now we are following his recommendations. He also highly appreciated our product quality after visiting other leading organizations products. The SCAN support was provided by the Asia Fair Trade Forum.
-  Attending international trade fairs. We participated in Birmingham International Fair, UK to introduce DEW products to international market. We also participated aworkshop organized by Global village, Tokyo, Japan to introduce DEW products to Japanese buyers.
DEW also participated different IFAT conferences in Africa, England and Asia Regional Fair Trade Forum Conference in Indonesia as an active member of IFAT and ARFTF. The conferences are opportunities to know each other and so many fait trade buyers participated in the conferences and DEW promote producers products to the buyers in the conference place and also DEW maintain DEW stall in the market place in the conference venue to promote DEW products.


Membership of WFTO:

DEW is an active member of World Fair Trade association-WFTO, The Crafts centre of CHF, USA, World Fair Trade Organization in Asia, Bangladesh Handicraft Manufacturer and Exporter Association and an active elected Treasurer of Ecota Fair Trade Forum Bangladesh. DEW is also a partner of the Aid to Artisan, USA and member of the Crafts Centre at CHF, USA.

DEW has been accredited by IFAT as a Fair Trade Organization. IFAT is The Global network of the Fair Trade Organization’s.


DEW participated World Fair Trade day artisan competition in 2002 organize by ECOTA Fair Trade Forum and DEW artisan awarded 1st prize in basketry group and receive cash money and award certificates from the organizers. DEW also participated design competition organize by IFAT in Quito, Ecuador in 2005, Newcastle, UK in 2003 and Arusa, Tanzania in 2001 and  receive certificates from the organizer.

Training support to Fair Trade Organizations abroad:

DEW believes that the Fair Trade organizations should support each other and exchange skills also. Fair Trade Group Nepal requested to DEW to provide training assistance to their producers on Bamboo basketry and Date palm leaf basketry. DEW sent 2 producer trainers to Nepal to trained Fair trade group producers on Bamboo and date palm leaf basketry. DEW is the 1st Fair Trade Organization in Bangladesh to send producer trainer to trained other groups in abroad and our producers are highly appreciated by the Fair Trade Group Nepal, Royal family of Nepal. 
Dew also provided skills development training to other Fair Trade friend organization in Bangladesh. DEW producer trainer provides skills development training to the NRDS women groups on Hogla basketry in Noaklhali in 1995.

Research, Training and Evaluation wing of DEW requested from the Dhaka Handicrafts Ltd. To provide Gender and Development training to their women kisa basketry group in Bogra in 1993. The training program was supported by the Fair Trade Netherlands.

In future we plan to:

DEW is planning   organize strong groups in our main thrust working areas      in the Char lands (river island) of river Jamuna under Jamalpur District.

  • DEW is planning to expand its product line like food processing and Chili, Soj (Anacid), handmade paper, Hand oven textile and other organic agriculture products.
  • DEW is planning to establish a well-equipped training/production/processing and sales centre for DEW women groups in DEW proposed chars   resource centre in Tarakandi areas under Jamalpur District, which is more vulnerable, and disaster porn District of Bangladesh.
  • DEW have a dream to establish a marketing outlet in Dhaka aiming to create market access in local market
  • DEW is planning to establish more market linkages to marketing DEW hand craft products in the international market and especially Europe and America
  • DEW is planning to appoint a foreign volunteer designer to develop new products targeting to international market.
  • DEW planning to set own packaging unit to export DEW product directly

What are our fair trade standards?

1.    Creating opportunities for economically disadvantage producers through trading.
2.    Transparent and accountable to its partners and stakeholders.
3.    Capacity building of the producers and to improve their financial and social status.
4.    Promoting Fair Trade through raise awareness on concept and spirit of fair trade.
5.    Payment of fair price to the producers.
6.    Gender equality:  To inshore equal skill development opportunities and equal payment to both women and man.
7.    Working condition practices should be maintaining healthy and safe place.
8.    Not using child labour.
9.    Must use enviournment friendly technologies and materials. 
10.  Advance financing to the producer groups.


Case Study-01

Name: Nurunnabi
Bamboo producer of DEW
Age: 30

N New Picture

Nurunnabi lived in Borne Dakkhinpara village of Delduar Upazila under Tangail district. People of this village lived on making different bamboo products. The family of Nurunnabi has been engaged in this works for last 20 years. His father has been worked with different producers and Nurunnabi begin to work when he was a boy of 14 years. He studied up to class VIII but he is an expert to design and develop new bamboo products. Then DEW gives him the opportunity to do better work as well as getting fair return through fair trade. DEW includes him as a producer and let him know very well all terms and conditions of fair and ethical trade. After his involvement with DEW (1999) Nurunnabi starts his activity forming a group of 8-9 members and DEW organize skill development training for the groups.Hisfamily members also help him to be a skill and efficient producer of DEW.

Some three years back his family was homeless. They had been staying in their grand father’s house. When Nurnnabi began to work, then it possible for his family to build a home of their own. Many of Nurunnabi’s neighbours are also homeless and do the same work. Nurunnabi put them together and make a group and now he work with them. He wants they also have a home of their own. But there are some problems:

1.    They work only when they get orders and this is seasonal.
2.    The quantity of order is very small.
3.    Because of having no work for long time they lose their interest in this work.    
That’s why they could not make any new design. So they have to work in local market. But they are keen to get the opportunity to work in foreign market due to fair price. And DEW tries to give them the opportunity.

After began to work with DEW Nurunnabi Knows various subject and make some new design. In DEW first he knows about Fair Trade and he informed his group members about the rules and rights of workers for Fair Trade. DEW also gives Nurunnabi and his group members:

1.    The opportunity to work on different and new quality designs.
2.    The knowledge of quality required for a product for foreign markets.
3.    The possibility to work as a producer and group leader.
4.    Training on product development and design

Nurunnabi himself collects the raw materials of the product. From Korotia Hut he brings the bamboo by van. Then they start working on processing the bamboo. They cut the bamboo in eight / nine pieces and make some slices from it. Then they begin to make the beautiful baskets. They are very careful from first to last to produce a product so that the product would be a high quality product.
Nurannabi and his group want the opportunity to have large orders so that they can earn their livelihood and expand cultural heritage through all over the world.
Development Wheel (DEW) is trying to provide him with this kind of opportunity in consequence they can survive in the competitive market.


Case Study-02

Kohinoor Begum
Date palm leaf and dry grass basketry producer

ed c

Kohinoor Begum: a basketry producer of Development Wheel-DEW
Kohinoor Begum, a 17 years old mother of a 2 years old son named Mirajul Islam. She is living in the Hapunia, Sherpur, Bogra district (northern part of Bangladesh) with her parents. She had a dream to be educated and to materialize her dream she got herself admitted in school. When she was about to finish her primary education her poor parents arranged marriage with Farid Khan, so that their economic burden reduced. At the time of her marriage she was only 11 years old. Kohinoor’s husband and his family promised her parents that “Kohinoor will be our daughter and thus her education will continue”.

Unfortunately she could not get a single chance to go back again to her long cherished school. Now she had a child and she is thinking about her son’s future during the last six years. Because of early marriage and having a child so early she undergoes different types of physical problem. Along with the poor health her economic condition detoroids quickly and soon becomes landless also. Now Kohinoor’s in laws don’t have any land to live. Few years back when they were in a severe financial crisis they sold out their homestead. At that time Development Wheel-DEW comes forward with a friendly gesture to help them out her as a friend in adversity. DEW created the opportunity to produce baskets as income generation for her livelihoods. She can make the basket previously. It should be mentioned that Kohinoor had such heredity. For example her grand mother and mother also know very well to weave date palm leaf and dry grass basket. Besides this, DEW provided skill development training, quality control and other related activities. Inspite of this they have no opportunity to work through out the whole year. If they had work for all season they would change their condition. They also have some other problem in their production process. For example they have no storage facility in their premises. As a result the can not maintain product quality properly.

When asked why Kohinoor Begum produced baskets and where she spends her earnings, she replied “I couldn’t get the chance to continue my education but my son will be educated with my income, he will go to school. All of my efforts are for him and now he is my only hope. Now I also spend a part of my income for my family and to fulfilment of my small wishes.”

The standards we work by are:

We are accredited by IFAT: DEW is a Fair Trade Organization accredited by the Global network of Fair Trading Organizations International Federation for Alternative Trade IFAT. DEW has submitted its self-assessment report to the IFAT regularly and on time. The external international consultant of IFAT has externally verified DEW self-assessment report on 2005 and that was highly appreciated by the external consultant of IFAT.

We guarantee our producers:

Fair price (Our wages standard is Tk. 100.00-1500.00 /day $ 1.5-2)
We are always providing advance to our producer with work order
We are aware about our product quality and trained them about international standard of quality

What additional services do we provide our producer groups?

In addition to providing a marketing channel, DEW has:

DEW is running a community school in its operational area at Savar since 1998 and the most of the students of the school are the children’s of our producer group members and majority students of the school are girls.
We provide gender and Development training to our producer groups and other organizations.
Provided water and sanitation support to our producer group members and other beneficiaries in Saver.
Organize skills development training and training on product quality.
Observe World Fair Trade day with the producer groups and organize sports, cultural program and improve diet for them.
Provide small-scale credit support to the group members.
Provide raw materials/advance money to producer groups.
After devastated flood in 1998 in south west part of Bangladesh our producers losses their houses, property and livestock’s. We provide financial assistance to team leader of our basketry group to establish a production centre/store.
We provide emergency support to our producers and their family members like serious illness, marriage of her daughter from our emergency fund.

Our Team

The DEW office headquarters is in Dhaka.  We have five offices in Savar, Jessore, Mymensingh, Netrokona and Jamalpur.

Our team consists of 15 people 06 are women and 09 are man. We have 20 members volunteer groups. Our tram is experience and qualified and having a strong development professional skills. In our core team we have sociologist, anthropologist, marketing, finance background professional.

DEW also provided exposer trip for its coordinator of Art and Craft sector to Philippines in 2003 to see the developments of their handicrafts. To see Asia’s reaches art and craft development centre and also to get some ideas what type of intermediate technology they are using to produce finest quality of hand made products.  DEW also encourage to inshore DEW staffs to participate different workshop/seminar organize by the ECOTA and other craft based networking organizations for their capacity building and human resource development of the organization.   

The team meets once a month and all the staff and volunteers meet once a year.  DEW provides a fair salary and staff development opportunities to maintain a high morale and a motivated team. DEW staffs fill like that they all are a family member.


Best Practices of the Development Wheel (DEW)

Best practices

1. DEW has been running a community school for the under privileged children of the dew artisans in Dhamsona Union of Savar Upazila under Dhaka District. These children are being provided with school-based non-formal education for three years that eventually assist them to enroll in the mainstream education. The free educational support thus provided from playgroup to class III also includes recreational activities including painting, annual picnics and sports days.


2. Under the Arts and Crafts program, DEW maintains an emergency soft loan fund to assist the artisans especially in crisis situation because of any accident, severe sickness of the family members or natural disaster. The emergency loan assistance has been very helpful for the artisans to cope with crisis situation and to restore their livelihood strategy. DEW raised some relief assistance from the buyer People Tree and distributed it to the DEW producer members.

3. DEW always provides 50% advance with production order to the producers on raw material purchase. It is very much helpful for them to run the production smoothly.

4. DEW always prefers exchange of technology to improve the quality of the product by artisan groups. The organization provided skill development training support to other Fair Trade organization abroad. Fair Trade group Nepal requested to DEW provide training support to there artisan group members on bamboo and Date palm leaf basketry. DEW also took support of a designer from AFTF.  AFTF provided to a Philippine designer for the product development and training to the artisan groups.


5. DEW observes Fair Trade Day with its producer group members. DEW also organizes recreational activity like sports and picnic with the producer group members and that inspire them that DEW authorities with them.  

6. Besides implementing various development activities for the grassroots people, the organization undertakes research activities to develop future programming directions. As part of its efforts to develop its char based programme, DEW recently hosted a 19 month research project (funded by DFID/CPHP-NRI) looking at two key char based enterprises chilli and beef production. Based on the research findings DEW has designed an actor oriented knowledge management project for the chilli producers.

Last Updated on Monday, 19 October 2015 11:46

DEW Vision

A society where all people will enjoy equal rights, equitable access to employment and adequate resources necessary for their livelihoods and will live in dignity.

DEW Mission

DEW is dedicated to improving livelihoods security of the poor segments of the society in Bangladesh through increasing their participation (particularly women) in small scale economic activities by creating the provision of a range of business and life skills for them.

Contact us

  • Address: 13-A/4-A (3rd Floor), Babar Road, Block-B, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Bangladesh.
  • Tel: +(880) 2 913 7196
  • Fax: +(880) 2 910 1226
  • Email:,
You are here: Development Programs Arts & Crafts