McColm & Company delivered a project designed to accelerate quality jewelry production in Afghanistan. Jewelry making is a core artisanal skill that represents immense opportunity for job creation and niche sector growth in Afghanistan. McCO designed a rapid impact sector survey and responsive training methodology to develop a baseline of existing capabilities and quality. We then leveraged a production order from a social enterprise as a training and capacity building tool.
McCO designed and implemented a responsive evaluation and training methodology that enabled our engagement team to rapidly respond to the precise training needs of the workshops and pivot our approach to meet realities on the ground, as needed. Rather than utilize rote memorization and classroom based training to improve quality of a vocational skill, McCO utilized the social enterprise production order to provide real time, one-on-one quality control and production management mentoring to workshop owners and their employees. Participants told the engagement team that they favored our approach over past donor trainings because it directly correlated development of skill and quality improvement to income and real business opportunities.
Jewelry production quality improved dramatically during McCO’s engagement, as did understanding of international quality standards and customer service expectations. Consider that a single company placing a single medium sized jewelry production order provided employment and generated a living wage income for 38 Afghan artisans at the primary level for 30 days, as well as unknown numbers of secondary and tertiary beneficiaries. Now consider that most jewelry companies place orders at least three times per year – collections for Spring/Summer, Winter/Fall and Resort – and the result is that attracting just four companies to move their production to Kabul would have the potential to maintain the businesses of a quarter of the known Kabul sector each year.