A Dance of Hope
The sweat flows in a steady trickle down Hathim Ahmed’s face. His heart is thumping and his hands are throbbing, but he keeps on beating on the drum, his head bobbing in tune with the song. As the performance reaches its crescendo, Hathim increases his tempo, and sees the dancers gyrate their bodies to the wild beats, some of them going into frantic trances.
As the ‘boduberu’ performance (Maldivian music involving traditional drums) draws to a close for the night, the resort guests leave the dance floor to quench their thirst. Hathim wipes his forehead on his shirt sleeves and adjusts his sarong - part of the traditional attire worn by his performing group. As he does, Hathim sees the Resort Manager approaching and gives him a beaming smile, his set of pearly whites sparkling like the stars above him, scattered across the balmy tropical island.
“I hope the shipment was up to your satisfaction?” Hathim inquires of the Manager.
- The P4D Forum held in the South brought together local communities, the private sector and resorts to form direct linkages and relationships to drive sustainable growth.
- This included commitment towards empowering and creating opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to network with the private sector.
- Officials from the Business Development Service Center, whom Hathim met at the Forum, helped him form a Cooperative Society on his island, and provided technical assistance in wood carving.
- Today, the Katolla Cooperative Society specializes in making Maldivian traditional boats, and are in talks with several resorts to provide these boats to the souvenir shops.
“But of course. We never doubt the quality from Katolla. Excellent performance by the way,” the Manager gives Hathim’s hand a vigorous shake.
Hathim is the proud founder of the Katolla Cooperative Society from the island of Hoandehdhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll in the South of the Maldives. While many members of the Cooperative are avid ‘boduberu’ performers, they have also ventured into markets such as wood carving, as a means of increasing livelihoods for the island community. In the resort Hathim had performed in, the Cooperative had today delivered over 50 handmade wooden dhoni’s (Maldivian boats) to the resort’s management, which they would gift as souvenirs to the tourists.
This business opportunity presented itself to Hathim when he participated at the Government and United Nations Development Programme-led “Partnering 4 Development” (P4D) Forum. “We had plans to form a Cooperative Society - my ‘boduberu’ group members and I, and venture into other markets. But we were lacking direction and struggling for opportunities,” Hathim says. It was at the forum that Hathim saw avenues to link up to the resort markets for opportunities for business deals.
The P4D Forum held in the South brought together local communities, the private sector and resorts to form direct linkages and relationships to drive sustainable growth. This included commitment towards empowering and creating opportunities for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to network with the private sector.
At the Forum, Hathim was introduced to the Business Development Service Center (BDSC) officials. The BDSC helped him to form a Cooperative Society on his island, and provided technical assistance in wood carving. Hathim as the Cooperative Chairman, using the networks established at the P4D Forum, played a lead role in engaging with UNDP and BDSC to seek potential markets to sell the Cooperative’s products to. Through these engagements, the Cooperative has learnt the importance of establishing long term business relationships, and to provide services with maximum quality.
“Through the Forum we saw avenues to engage with neighboring resorts for opportunities for business deals,” Hathim points out. Today, the Katolla Cooperative Society specializes in making Maldivian traditional boats, which can be made in any size, dismantled for easy package, and comes with an instruction manual. Following some successful partnerships, they are also in talks with several resorts to provide these boats for souvenir shops and wood-carved vases for the spas.
“We started by beating on drums, but now the Katolla Cooperative Society actually has much to go into a song and dance about,” adds a hopeful Hathim.
- MEET THE TEAM TUESDAY “I am inspired by the work done by communities” AHMED HAMDHAN Project Coordinator, Rule of Law and Access to Justice - Integrated Governance Programme I have always been passionate about development work, despite my skepticism for certain approaches by international organizations in developing countries. It was only natural therefore that when I joined UNDP nine months ago, I did so being cynical of the role of UNDP and the impact of its programmes in the Maldives. However, as I leave UNDP at the end of this month, I am more than ever convinced of the crucial role that UNDP plays in making a difference in people’s lives. I am especially encouraged by the work the agency does in seeking localized solutions to development issues through new and innovative approaches. Governance is and have always been my passion, and my main area of work. Since joining UNDP, I have also developed a new found interest in the environment. I was inspired by the work done by the local community of Noonu Kudafari, especially their work on waste management. I am from the island of Kendhoo in Baa Atoll, and as in other islands of the Maldives, waste management has always been a major issue in my local community. Kendhoo already had a composting facility which remained unused, and the Council was very positive about starting composting waste on the island. I came to know that they just needed the technical know-how and the motivation to initiate this work. So myself and my colleague Adam Abdulla who works in UNDP’s Environment Unit, travelled to Kendhoo one weekend, and were able to help the Council start composting work. Since then, we have traveled several times to monitor the progress of the composting facility on my island. There’s still more work to be done, and I look forward to continuing the work we have started in this area. We did this not as part of our official duties, but because we found a shared passion in helping to bring about positive changes within our communities, and I can honestly say that this is true for all the staff working at UNDP Maldives. My regular job is as a Project Coordinator for the Integrated Governance Programme of UNDP Maldives, and I am responsible for the design and implementation of activities related to enhancing access to justice and protection of human rights in the Maldives. Before joining UNDP, I worked at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), focused on electoral reforms in the Maldives. Tuesday AT 07:11 AM
- We are helping Maldivian communities establish good waste management practices in the islands. Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development - LECRD Project. L.Maamendhoo Council Monday AT 09:56 AM
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