The Barriers

Iraq has been oppressed for more than 30 years, they lack knowledge about free markets and representative government. Because we cannot be in Iraq we do remote management which means talking through chat to our focal points about programs and project ideas.

The focal points we work with speak English, but not fluently, they definately speak English 100 times better than I speak Arabic; however, it isn’t just the language barrier, it’s a knowledge gap because access to information was controlled by Saddam. I want you to feel what it is like to manage people remotely.

(9/16/2007 2:05:08 PM): the group of sewing wante to submit proposal dealing with the rug and flower industry skills.

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:06:05 PM): This is an income generation project correct?

(9/16/2007 2:06:09 PM): that mean a Vocational Workshop for making flower and rug

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:06:31 PM): O.K.

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:06:42 PM): Is this the deaf and mute women? (this is how they refer to all deaf people in Iraq)

(9/16/2007 2:06:57 PM): yes

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:07:23 PM): So, this is the deaf and mute women and they want to do an income generation project?

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:07:40 PM): The pictures you sent, were those dresses they made.

(9/16/2007 2:08:48 PM): yes the dressses above the pix were made by them

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:09:45 PM): I’ve never seen women wearing dresses like that, are they house dresses?

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:10:27 PM): I thought they were submitting a proposal to buy fabric?

(9/16/2007 2:11:04 PM): the second approvals is diffrent

(9/16/2007 2:12:15 PM): they want to leran make flower and rugs this things bring money when you sell it

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:12:25 PM): What do you mean the second approvals, are they a different group?

(9/16/2007 2:13:06 PM): the same group and the number will increase to 2o women

(9/16/2007 2:14:04 PM): no

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:14:13 PM): So, this is training only?

(9/16/2007 2:15:11 PM): training and supplying materals to make asmall Vocational Workshop in their homes

(9/16/2007 2:15:43 PM): this the idea of project

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:15:47 PM): O.K. so this is income generation right?

(9/16/2007 2:16:12 PM): it is sound income generation

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:17:35 PM): O.K. but I need more information, how many workshops will there be? And I need a business plan. Where will they sell them? Are they going to be trained as a group? And when you say sound income generation do you mean “Good” income generation?

(9/16/2007 2:18:44 PM): i mean it is near to be a income gentertion

(9/16/2007 2:19:02 PM): it is ok

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:19:27 PM): What do you mean by near income generation?

(9/16/2007 2:20:06 PM): beacues the group will involved in training last 2 weeks

(9/16/2007 2:20:38 PM): to leran the skills of making the flower and rug

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:21:07 PM): So the group will be involved in training for two weeks to learn the skill and then they will start making them and sell them?

(9/16/2007 2:22:05 PM): exactly

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:23:41 PM): O.K. and then after they run out of materials how will they continue to make money.

(9/16/2007 2:24:32 PM): they will independ on themself

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:24:46 PM): How?

(9/16/2007 2:25:27 PM): Mc just supplying the workshop and they will making the flowers and sell it in market

(9/16/2007 2:26:22 PM): and from the money of selling they continue

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:26:29 PM): How many workshops are we supplying?

(9/16/2007 2:26:49 PM): 20 workshop

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:27:00 PM): in homes?

(9/16/2007 2:27:05 PM): for each one

(9/16/2007 2:27:07 PM): yes

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:27:18 PM): Where do they get the materials to make the flowers?

(9/16/2007 2:27:35 PM): ah.

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:28:02 PM): Also, do people buy flowers during war? And what do they buy them for?

(9/16/2007 2:28:41 PM): in the starting Mc will supply raw materials to them

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:29:30 PM): O.K. now do people buy flowers during the war?

(9/16/2007 2:30:08 PM): yes , the can in iraq there are many market to buy the flowers now

(9/16/2007 2:30:31 PM): not just flowers and rug

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:30:41 PM): Flowers made from cloth and rugs?

(9/16/2007 2:31:06 PM): yes exactly

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:31:37 PM): O.K. if there are already shops that sell these why will buy ours? Or are we selling to the shops that sell them?

(9/16/2007 2:31:53 PM): yes

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:32:16 PM): Which is yes. We are going to sell to the shops that sell them?

(9/16/2007 2:33:06 PM): yes they will sell to shops and they sell them

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:33:22 PM): And the shops that sell them have agreed to buy from these women?

(9/16/2007 2:34:52 PM): the women will show sample of their making and if they agree with the shops they will making the a big numbers

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:35:21 PM): O.K. have we already talked to the shops?

(9/16/2007 2:35:57 PM): yes already talked to the shops

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:37:05 PM): Great! And they are interested in and have room for more women other than the women they are already buying from?

(9/16/2007 2:38:33 PM): each women will agree with shops to sell their producing

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:39:19 PM): O.K. but my question is the shops that already sell, they have other women making flowers, is there enough business for our women to also be selling to these shops?

(9/16/2007 2:40:08 PM): ah .

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:41:21 PM): Is there “demand” for more makers of flowers and rugs?

(9/16/2007 2:42:02 PM): most of the flowers which selling in the shops are inport from other cities and country

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:42:28 PM): Ah, so the shops are interested in buying local?

(9/16/2007 2:42:30 PM): and there are little number of women make flowers

(9/16/2007 2:43:05 PM): that mean areday the shops will buy the local making

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:43:40 PM): And the shops want this?

(9/16/2007 2:43:55 PM): yes

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:44:09 PM): just a minute. ( here I was interrupted on chat by the crazy Greek)

(9/16/2007 2:44:16 PM): ok

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:46:56 PM): How much does it cost to make a flower?

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:47:07 PM): Or a rug?

(9/16/2007 2:47:53 PM): i dont know exactly the cost

(9/16/2007 2:48:28 PM): but i think it is less than 0.50 $

(9/16/2007 2:48:41 PM): the flower

(9/16/2007 2:49:05 PM): but the ruge is more than 3 $

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:50:02 PM): O.K. so it would be good to know the cost of how much it costs to make the things and then how much the store will buy them for?

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:50:18 PM): And how many the stores can buy?

(9/16/2007 2:50:47 PM): i will do that

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:51:16 PM): It would also be good to know how many the stores sell in a week or a month?

(9/16/2007 2:51:56 PM): i try to know that

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:52:44 PM): This is called finding out market capacity. Do people want what you are going to make? How much do people want it? How much will they pay for it? How much does it cost to make?

(9/16/2007 2:53:32 PM): ok

(9/16/2007 2:53:51 PM): let us go to the second project

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:54:38 PM): So if a flower costs .50 to make and the store buys it for $1.00 you have .50 profit. If they only sell 25 in a month that is only $12.50 for the woman who makes it. Not enough to live on. Does this make sense?

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:55:30 PM): Wait one second, and if there are 20 women making them and only four stores buying no one will make money. Do you see what I’m saying?

(9/16/2007 2:56:10 PM): yes it is clear to me

(9/16/2007 2:57:25 PM): i think the buying of flowers and rug not bring much money to them

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:57:47 PM): Good now one other point. What we also need to know is how much each woman can make doing this and then we need to know how much money out of the profit she can buy supplies with to make more and still have money for food and living.

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:58:05 PM): I want to do projects like this, but they have to be able to really make money.

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 2:58:42 PM): It’s a great idea, we just need to know that it can continue after the grant money is gone.

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 3:01:16 PM): Hello?

Tiana Tozer (9/16/2007 3:29:56 PM): Were we done, or did you lose internet or electricity?

At this point they lost electricity and I heard back from him the next morning. Although the above conversation may make you think that I’m talking to someone not very bright, I assure you the men I work with in Iraq are educated and very bright, but some concepts are just very literally foreign to them.

This is a good idea, particularly if you have a large tourism industry,because people want to take home something that is made in the country they visit. Right now Iraq gets approximately 3 million tourists a year, but mainly during one month. So the rugs might be a viable idea in the future when the bullets quit flying. They could sell them to GIs, but right now you don’t really want to be near Americans or working with them.

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