In remote regions of Uzbekistan high unemployment and few job opportunities mean that poaching saiga for their meat and horn can become an attractive livelihood option. With saiga meat a cheap option in local markets women will often buy this instead of beef.
Our embroidery projects give women the opportunity to learn new skills in sewing as well as business and marketing, ensuring this enterprise continues in the long-term. The potential to earn a sustainable wage and provide a consistent income to the family home will enable women to purchase more expensive meat, hence stopping the demand for saiga poaching.
Combining embroidery and business training with information on saiga conservation means that the women act as multipliers of the conservation message and deter male family members from becoming poachers.
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Symbols in the Stitches
The ladies in our embroidery groups use traditional techniques and designs. In times past women would sit outside their yurts and embroider what they could see around them, which means that most of the symbols depict the natural environment, and each bags tells a unique story. Luckily these symbols have been passed down from mother to daughter and we can share them with you.
Find out more about our alternative livelihood project with women here
Explore the meaning of the designs in traditional Karakalpak embroidery.