In bandurria spi is working with a local reed artisan community to provide them with a sustainable livelihood and a place to live which turns them from those who threaten the site to those who can most act to preserve it


  The Site The site of Bandurria contains some of the earliest monumental architecture in the entire Americas, with four pyramids that are nearly 5500 years old reaching heights of 26-40 feet.  As well as these grand structures, excavations have revealed the domestic areas and cemeteries of a complex maritime society which did not produce pottery and metal, but rather made gourds and reed products - a tradition which continues today. This unique site is being threatened by the encroachment and daily activities of the local artisan community.

 

The Site

The site of Bandurria contains some of the earliest monumental architecture in the entire Americas, with four pyramids that are nearly 5500 years old reaching heights of 26-40 feet.  As well as these grand structures, excavations have revealed the domestic areas and cemeteries of a complex maritime society which did not produce pottery and metal, but rather made gourds and reed products - a tradition which continues today.

This unique site is being threatened by the encroachment and daily activities of the local artisan community.

  The Community SPI works with a community of 23 artisan families who live near or directly on the archaeological site. These artisans are continuing their ancient ancestors' traditional practice of reed and rush weaving.  These artisans are the only ones who both produce raw materials and create finished products.  However the income they currently receive is low, leaving them impoverished. The community currently lives on the ancient site itself, not only damaging the site and its potential as a tourist resources, but also preventing the artisans digging down to connect themselves to basic water, sanitation and electricity services.

 

The Community

SPI works with a community of 23 artisan families who live near or directly on the archaeological site. These artisans are continuing their ancient ancestors' traditional practice of reed and rush weaving.  These artisans are the only ones who both produce raw materials and create finished products.  However the income they currently receive is low, leaving them impoverished. The community currently lives on the ancient site itself, not only damaging the site and its potential as a tourist resources, but also preventing the artisans digging down to connect themselves to basic water, sanitation and electricity services.

  The Project The project will provide a sustainable livelihood to the artisan community of Bandurria in a location where they can gain essential services while also protecting the archaeological site and making it an asset for their own development. SPI is working with the community and local archaeologists to increase revenues and jobs by developing new retail and production space as well as helping them create new products and open up new retail opportunities. The project will mean the continuation of an ancient craft and help artisans produce the handicrafts on which they pride themselves, drawing inspiration from the unique local site.

 

The Project

The project will provide a sustainable livelihood to the artisan community of Bandurria in a location where they can gain essential services while also protecting the archaeological site and making it an asset for their own development. SPI is working with the community and local archaeologists to increase revenues and jobs by developing new retail and production space as well as helping them create new products and open up new retail opportunities. The project will mean the continuation of an ancient craft and help artisans produce the handicrafts on which they pride themselves, drawing inspiration from the unique local site.


Achievements

  • SPI has built and opened new retail and production space for the community - designed by a local architect with full consultation of the artisans.
  • Led by Peruvian graphic designers from local universities, a new brand and logo for the artisans has been developed, spearheading the drive for new sales.
  • These interventions have boosted sales and left the artisans with a stronger business!

The big thing we have learned

  • An existing contract with an international supplier paid very little in a market overcrowded with generic product. Unique products incorporating local cultural heritage and a strong domestic market will be the foundation for success!

The Future

  • Local and national authorities, impressed by the work so far, are enthusiastic supporters of the project and will be promoting the site heavily to domestic and international tourists in 2017.