Pottery Production an Asset for Women Livelihood Case Study on Kechene Women Potters in Addis Ababaa

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Addis Ababa University


The thesis explores the livelihoods of the women potters in the Kechene neighbourhood, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It focuses on how they ensure their livelihood by the (1) Traditional pottery production knowledge, 2) Market supply and demand for traditional pottery, 3) Business environment (production, market, and community attitudes), 4) Pottery production contributions to the family, and 6) Pottery production using a house as a production unit and/or association facilities. The research is a multiple case study using standard techniques for exploring the women potters’ production and marketing of their products for their livelihood. In-depth interviews with 40 women potters and direct observations were the major sources of data. The 40 women potters were purposively selected from two potters association producing pottery within their association workshops and from two groups of potters making pots using their homes as a production unit. The research indicates that potters organized in association have a better working environment and marketing opportunity than those producing in their homes. It also shows that the stigma and discrimination against traditional handicrafts producers is decreasing. The prevailing production barriers to the pottery production activities are the lack of appropriate production tools and facilities such as pottery firing places. The clay soil site being used as a residential construction and green area plantation site is a crucial and burning issue to the potters which needs urgent correction by the city administration. Analyzing the production by four groups of potters, their pots are accepted by their customers. The potters appreciate their traditional skill and adore it. Transferring the traditional knowledge to younger generations was a common theme. Most of the potters had learned their skills from their mothers and are training their daughters. They are training and are willing to train others. They accept that the gender-based division of the traditional skill is not right; and both genders should know the skill and lead their livelihoods. The research indicates that traditional pottery producing women should be assisted in acquiring improved production tools such as wheels and production shades in small groups or large association as per their preference near to their living quarters. Market outlets and pottery design trainings are vital to potters. The level of stigma and discrimination, the relation of the potters with intermediary traders needs further in-depth qualitative study and research



Social Work