Ankole Cow Horn: Identifying Effective Strategies for Optimizing the Supply Chain to Create Empowerment and Sustainable Development from Ranch to Consumer, Shanley Knox Harruthoonyan

“Artisanal” approaches to production and services are a growing trend across industries – from beer to bread, clothing and advertising. But in the Global South, artisan work has the potential to be much more. Across low- and middle-income countries, artisanal approaches to work have proven to be uniquely fit for those experiencing unemployment or poverty, inequality or lack of access to formal employment. With a shift in both market preference and opportunity has come a proliferation of “artisan” goods offered in markets internationally. With it, organizations and companies in the West have begun to use two phrases to define the nature of their sourcing. First, artisan work is described as “empowering,” and, second, it is described as “sustainable.” Yet, the meaning of, and measurement for, these terms remain undefined. A growing movement of literature has examined interventions and approaches to the
artisan industry and identified an accretion of unintended, negative consequences within supply chains and sourcing relationships routinely described as “empowering” and “sustainable.” The objective of the current research was to understand the predictive variables within a single, artisanal supply chain, in order to develop a strategic plan for shifting current practices toward effective empowerment and sustainable development. Thirty-seven interviews were conducted with individuals across both the production and purchasing ends of the supply chain. The findings show that artisanal workers are well
aware of their needs in order to experience empowerment and sustainability. But to meet these needs, artisanal workers’ known and unknown barriers must be identified and systematically removed, ultimately providing workers with a meaningful voice in the conversations and decisions that define their working experience.

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