Tackling Couro Ecologica's production issues is just one of the Phase 1 challenges Ney is working on.
Challenges: Critical Thinking, Communication and Marketing
Recent Success:Increase in orders. Development of a new "authentic" line of products
Ney Fietosa is a new participant of CEN's cClear program, working within a fair wage association called Couro Ecológica. The name Couro Ecológica translates into English as "ecological leather," with the organization being named after the natural leather-like material they use to make their products. This material is made by the associations' artisans that overlay cotton with latex taken from native Amazonian rubber trees. Couro Ecológica is a noteworthy association in that it's owned by the very same workers that produce and sell their handmade purses, handbags and other products.
Lately, Couro Ecológica has experienced changes in its leadership. Arimar Fietosa, Ney's brother and one of the founders of the association, was marketing director until mid-2008, and has scaled back his involvement with Couro Ecológica. Ney Fietosa is now utilizing CEN's cClear program to address the problems confronting the organization. A significant reduction in sales and income has resulted in a diminished interest among the workers to continue making their products. This trend is attributed to the lack of effective marketing strategies as well as access to the mainstream, worldwide market.
Ney's objectives and needs are more complex than most Phase 1 cCLEAR participants due to his involvement with Couro Ecológica. While our primary focus within phase 1 of the cCLEAR program is to help individuals develop basic skills and mindsets, as Ney's objectives are focused on Couro Ecológica, many of his Phase 1 activities will also be focused on the organization's challenges mentioned above.
One of the challenges Ney and Couro Ecológica currently faces is a shortage in materials, namely, the "ecological leather" from which Couro Ecológica gets its name. The technology-transfer for the manufacture of the "ecological leather" is emphasized in this stage since only a few individuals are knowledgeable in making the material. Promoting the education of Ney and association members of this process should help avoid manufacturing roadblocks in the future, allowing for more product diversity and the ability to meet more production quotas. CEN volunteers will also work with Ney and Couro Ecológica to refine their latest product prototypes by using up to date market information, and an emphasis on marketing and sales strategy for the organization will be a central focus for Ney during his work in Phase 1 of the cClear program.
Another way CEN will help Ney facilitate his own personal development along with addressing Couro Ecológica's needs is by providing some valuable input in their production process during the "Unveiling the Amazon" trip later this summer. As one of the "Unveiling the Amazon" cClear participant workshops, visitors will help Ney gather information to help him make informed decisions regarding product development and manufacturing. CEN visitors will be given the opportunity to make their own "ecological leather," giving Ney the chance to develop his managerial skills as visitors help with the production process. Staying true to the purpose of cClear's Phase 1 program, this experience will build Ney's critical thinking and organizational skills, and in that process, CEN will also help Ney improve the association's organization, marketing and quality control capacity.
Ney's growth as part of the cClear program is being done in conjunction with other CEN initiatives, such as the selling of Couro Ecológica's products online. By taking a comprehensive approach to solving the problems Couro Ecológica faces, CEN is giving Ney and the other workers of Couro Ecológica a better, more informed way to change their operational strategy to promote long term, sustainable growth for this community association.