Students at the British University in Egypt’s (BUE) Faculty of Communication and Mass Media have launched a marketing campaign to support women making handicrafts in Upper Egypt.
The campaign, entitled “Baddara” and which aims at helping women work and earn money from home, forms the students’ graduation project, and promotes a handcraft brand made from recycling agriculture waste.
Egypt can boast many locally produced handicrafts, many of which are part of the country’s cultural identity and heritage. However, the technological developments and changing trends witnessed internationally has led many of these crafts to disappear from the Egyptian market.
The students, however, have joined forces to revive one of these crafts by effectively marketing their products in the hopes it will slow down the sharp decline in demand for these products. The students cooperated with “Baddara” in making give-away bags for the Women Economic Forum (WEF) 2020 that was held under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, as well as giveaway bags for the Turathna exhibition.
In their graduation project, the students also launched campaigns in cooperation with Alex Bank and the National Council for Women (NCW), to promote Egypt’s heritage products manufactured with natural materials.
Waste recycling is one of the basic industries that underpin small- and medium-sized projects, which help the economy grow in any country. Among these industries is the plant waste recycling industry (palm waste), that produces environmentally friendly products such as bags and wicker baskets.
The students focused on the wicker industry as it has not received the same levels of interest as other handicrafts industries, despite the increasing interests and demands in this area.
The material is also abundant in the New Valley Governorate, which provides the basic material at the lowest cost. Wicker handicrafts, which are made from palm-tree waste suitable for daily use, rely on traditional palm varieties which do not have a modern alternative.
“Baddara” aims to develop traditional products to meet the requirements of the modern era, while preserving the ecological heritage of the products. It also tries to preserve the ancient artistic manual heritage besides learning to create environmentally friendly designs and products that can be marketed locally and internationally.
On the social side, the project has supported and re-motivated women who are working in the handicrafts, to encourage them to continue manual work and reduce unemployment.
“Baddara” products are handmade and environmentally friendly, using plant varieties, locally manufactured natural leather, fabrics and Egyptian-made threads, spun into unique modern designs.
The wicker industry is also facing another challenge, as the handicraft manufacturing relies on skilled labour, most of whom are now senior in age and reluctant to pass these crafts on due to low incomes.