When we were catching up. I could feel the pain in his voice. There was hurt in the way he was trying to describe how things were in the Valley. We felt the need to do something now that some kind of stability was re-emerging. We did some research. We discovered mass industrialization would destroy the way of life of the region. So we decided to go to the pre-industrial age and look for solutions. We looked into the concept of the ‘Guild’. In its different forms the Guild has been used globally - From China and India to Europe. Guilds have traditionally collated know-how and maintained communities of workers. We felt the Guild best suited our needs - with a few modifications of course.
In our case, the purpose of the guild would be to preserve the heritage on the Swat Valley. This means as the economic gateway with China takes shape. The isolation of the region will be reduced. We would need to make an effort to preserve the local culture, customs and ways of life as never before. We also needed to focus on the post-conflict situation of the Valley. Rehabilitation of the locals, re generating economic activity and re building social networks are part of these concerns.
As an institution it will allow us to provide a collective voice to the political bodies. This will ensure the concerns of locals are accurately identified and dealt with. We also feel the Guild as an instrument would support us access the global markets. This means local produce finds a home in the global marketplace. It helps us lower the distance between the crafts people and the global consumer. For example, it ensures the products meet the ever-changing needs of the global consumer. Let’s not forget the distance may be thousands of miles.
In short, it allows the region plug into the global brotherhood in a way they do not feel lost and overwhelmed by it. It also builds a two way dialogue between different parts of the world. This helps to generate an understanding of humanity using trade.
In more precise terms. The Swat Valley Guild intends to focus on supporting its members to -
- Manage their demand cycles.
- Provide contract service level agreement support.
- Organise Quality Assurance Standards and support members to achieve them continuously.
- Support them in building bargaining positions in the international markets.
- Leverage innovation eg incorporate eco and ethical concerns in the production processes.
- Organise career development support to ensure ancient skills aren’t lost.
- Build capacity for on the job training.
We are looking to work with existing products and find them global markets. This helps the entire supply chain enjoy the benefits of globalisation.
We have been working on this project for a just over a month now - 6 weeks to be exact. In this time my local MP and the International Development Secretary - Justine Greening - supported us gain direction. We have built an understanding with a UN agency - Business Call to Action . They will be helping us access some of the global retailing players. We have been accepted to join the UNICEF Fintech Jam hack weekend in April. We are approaching buyers of coloured gems in the EU. We are looking for more introductions to sectors we offer our products in. So if you know any anyone looking to break away from the low cost/ low value model just drop us a note.
Look forward to your support in making our dream support humanity.