Options and enterprises: The Kallari community development project in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador

Date of Completion

January 2004


Anthropology, Cultural|Business Administration, Marketing|Economics, General




Kichwa artisans living near the Jatun Sacha Foundation have formed the Kallari Handcraft Association for economic empowerment. The results presented reflect the analysis of information gathered during the summers of 2001, 2002, and 2003. Through participant observation, informal interviews, and structured surveys, data was gathered to understand if the association has assisted the Kichwa in maintaining non-timber renewable resources that are helpful economically. Before the Kallari handcraft association existed, the Kichwa mainly earned cash through the sale of agricultural products or through the sale of timber to intermediaries. Additionally, Kichwa people sold their crafts to tourists who visited the Jatun Sacha Foundation. With the assistance of Judy Logback, a Kansas native and researcher employed by the Jatun Sacha Foundation, Kichwa crafters have realized the possibility of internationally marketing their products to receive a fair price for their goods. The association has met with preliminary success through revenue of craft sales and through the support of organizations such as PL-480, CIDA, and Bay-Paul. Offering new products such as coffee and cocoa will be the next step in the association's venture, which just recently has received certification by the Fair Trade Federation. The Kallari Handcraft Association shows much promise for future success in spite of the grinding poverty that most people living in Ecuador face. Crafters are able to apply traditional and innovative technologies to make natural products for niche markets for a global market, thus creating an alternative income source. Supplemental income earned through the project is mostly used for schooling, medicine, and household necessities. Through Kichwa ingenuity and the assistance of the Jatun Sacha Foundation, the future of Kallari shines brightly. ^