Find a good business process.....

Posted February 7, 2014 from United States

I am working with a group in Kenya called the Power Women Group. This is a group of 15 women affected by HIV and who are constantly trying to fight the stigma within their community. One of the ways they fight HIV stigma is through supporting themselves. They make amazing crafts such as beaded animals, necklaces, scarfs etc. and sell them to make a living. By doing this they are an example to the community and are disproving the stigma that someone with HIV is “useless”. Right now I am trying to connect the women with local store in my town to their amazing crafts. To do this I went to a local store and showed them both pictures and examples of some of the crafts they could order. One store brought $200 dollars’ worth of crafts. I was so excited and emailed the order to the Power Women Group. I received the package yesterday and quickly opened it. In the box was not the same order I had sent to the Power Women. I laughed because I did not expect to get a perfect order due to past experience. But, if I am going to connect them with more stores I need to find a feasible process. The process must be simple enough for the women to understand and effective for large amounts of orders. I think the problem is that the women do not have a computer in their work shop. They live in the Slums of Kibera and only have access to a cyber café far away. So by the time they read the order and go back to the shop they do not remember the order! Does anyone have any suggestions?

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  • Mary S
    Feb 07, 2014
    Feb 07, 2014


    Sounds like a great project!

    I don't have any business experience, but some simple ways to make sure they don't forget the order could be:

    • Ask them to print off the email at the internet cafe
    • If that is not possible, ask them to take a notebook and write it down.
    • If any of them have mobile phones, can they use them to access email?
    • Can you send orders via text (SMS) message? You may need to agree some abbreviations to make it short enough.
    • Can you send orders by phone? They would need to write them down as you talk. If sending by text or phone, send an email as well to confirm.

    Explain to them that it is important to get orders correct... If they send items that were not requested, the shop may refuse to take those items. If they send incorrect items again, the shop may not want to do business with them at all. If the shop doesn't take them, you have to put a lot of effort into finding another buyer. If you cannot, they may not get paid for their work.

    Also have a chat with the shop to see if they are willing to be a little flexible about the items they receive, especially at the beginning.