Increasing youth employment in rural areas by supporting artisan groups

Working with women textile artisans, Ma Te Sai is able to increase trade through skill development and exposure to international markets.

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Ma Té Sai

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $50k - $100k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 50 - 100

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Rural development

Headquarters location: Country

  • Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos)

Headquarters location: City

Luang Prabang

Location(s) of impact

Laos: Nambak District, Ban NyaNyang Tai and Ban NyaNyang Nuea Laos: Savannakhet, Ban Lahanam


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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Women of many ethnic minority groups in Laos create unique high-quality textiles but their cottage industries are limited in growth due to the lack of product appeal. By training young women in sewing and designing new products Ma Te Sai is able to increase the number of women and families involved, creating additional income. Young people are discouraged to leave for work and positively impacting the social fabric and cultural heritage.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

This model is effective because we can grow the market being based in a tourist centre, and with our skills promote the work of the artisans through new designs, and then at the same time increase skills and work for women, who are not weaving, through sewing, giving them more income opportunity.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

The social impact of our work is increasing income significantly for women who sew for Ma Te Sai. Each woman has made home improvements, one built a new house, since working with us. Our wider impact has reached over 50 families, as we are now purchasing more cloth from both of these village, and have increasing custom orders. Sengmany, one of our sewers, is now the breadwinner of her family. In the south we have linked the sewers of Sengsavang to Ban Lahanam, and the centre is now marketing their sewn products as well.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

90% income comes from earned income, 10% from grants.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

Our production is remote, it is challenging for us but takes the income out to rural areas.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

I started designing my own products to get a competitive edge. The first was a jacket made out of cotton fabric from Ban Nyanyang, but we had to sew it in Vientiane for the quality, due to lack of western sewing training here in Luang Prabang. This was difficult and expensive. But the product was a success. Also it gave us a higher selling item, at a better profit margin. I knew we had to sew in the village. After trying my luck with aid agencies I met someone who was looking for a small project in Laos, a Malaysian foundation, who supported training projects. With this project, we not only had funds to train four women to sew, buy equipment for them to sew at home, but also to purchase the raw materials needed to catapult the production.

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others
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Attachments (7)


Indigo cotton cloth drying. The villages sell a lot of cloth, by being able to sew as well they are enabled to get paid more for their handiwork and this is more interesting to the younger women.


A Ma Te Sai runner on the loom, designed with the weaver's own traditional motifs for international market. Runner of same design now is in 50 rooms of a newly opened hotel in Luang Prabang.


Sabai range, handwoven, natural dyes cotton homeware range woven and sewn in the village


Village sewers preparing the bill


Village women learning to sew at Houey Hong Vocational Training Centre for Women in Vientiane


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Photo of Mouhamadou Moustapha Seck

Good initiative

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