Association for Craft Producers - One of the oldest and largest handicraft NGO's in Nepal, ACP is dedicated to providing design, marketing, management and technical services for low-income, primarily female, craft producers.. A blanket organizations of small rural producer groups, they have over 1000 women working throughout Nepal in a variety of industries including:
  • Applique in Kailali and Nepalgunj (primarily Tharu women)
  • Dhaka cloth weaving in Tehrathum
  • Basketry in Sankhuwasabha and Baglung
  • Copper goods in Tansen-Palpa
  • Bags and Clothing in Pokhara
  • Bamboo goods, cloth weaving, and metal buttons in Lalitpur
  • Pottery goods in Bhaktapur
  • Leather goods in Sindhupalchowk
  • Nepali paper in Barahbise
  • Maithali art in Janakpur
  • Bamboo boxes and goods in Dhankuta
  • In ACP's main facility in Kathmandu, they have weaving, sewing, knitting, felting, embroidery, block and screen printing, painting, carpentry, pottery, spinning, dyeing, batiques, buttons and candle making. The facility is the center for raw material preparation, prototype development and craft finishing.

ACP has two retail outlets under the name Dhukuti, in Kupondole, Kathmandu and Lakeside, Pokhara. Run by the dynamic Meera Bhattarai, ACP has grown into a sustainable and profitable handicraft exporter and a socially oriented but commercially viable enterprise. And they are most proud of their program of Producer Benefits and Welfare including: Savings Program, Performance Rewards, Education, Retirement Funds, Festival Allowances, Paid Maternity Leave, Girl Child Education Allowance, and financial loans to producer groups for modernization. ACP is also very active in promoting environmentally friendly practices including the usage of water based inks, recycled paper, use of soft wood, discontinued use of plastic, heat-exchanging energy conservation kilns and a smoke free environment.

ACP is an outstanding example for socially conscious enterprise that maintains its fiscal viability through excellent management. They don't depend on outside aid and thus are truly sustainable. Meera and the group at ACP are great and it was wonderful to work with them. They are always looking for volunteer help in design, marketing or business consulting for any length of time, though a commitment of at least a month is preferred. Contact for more information. 


Mahaguthi, Craft with a Conscience - another excellent Handicraft non-profit organization. Established in 1984 with help from Oxfam, they provide similar service to disadvantaged women producers but all their profits generated are used to support the Tulsi Mehar Mahila Ashram, a rehabilitation center for destitute women. Mahaguthi represents over a 1000 women who often are working within their homes to supplement their family meager earnings. In addition to the products similar to ACP, Mahaguthi also deals in musical instruments, herbal incense, silver and beaded jewelry, and filigree. They emphasize entrepreneurship and women empowerment through equipping micro-scale producers with technical, marketing and design skills to raise their income and contribute to employment generation.

Mahaguthi has currently one full time designer, Ms. Sumitra Baiju, working in design, prototype development and quality control. She is great to work with and is eager to learn more about western design style and taste. She is especially interested in clothing design and graphic arts for printing cards and textiles, as well as accessory design. Anyone with handicraft ideas or information is welcome to volunteer for any length of time and Mahaguthi can provide lodging for women volunteers at the Tulsi Ashram. Their facility and retail outlet is located in Kupondole across the bridge from Kathmandu in Patan municipality.

Also. anyone with social work experience in rehabilitation of destitute women, or micro income generation is welcome to volunteer at the ashram. There are a number of social programs underway concurrently with the handicraft enterprise. For more information, visit their website at or contact them directly at The current head of the organization is Mr. Bajrarcharya and the head of marketing and sales is Mr. Biba Das Dongel who also maintains their website. Or you can contact Sumitra directly at

Both groups are founding members of Fair Trade Nepal which is recognized by IFAT, International Federation for Alternative Trade. Fair Trade is about giving poor people power over their future, about giving producers a fair price and helping them gain knowledge and skills to increase their business and challenging traditional trading practice that keep people mired in poverty. Help people by giving them a hand up, not a hand out. If you are interested in shopping some some on-line fair trade shops, click here to go to links.


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