From left: Valentin Guerrero of Selecta; and Caribbean Export Communication & Research Officer Romily Thevenin and Deputy Executive Director Leo Naut.
ST. MICHAEL, Barbados--Caribbean Export announces that on Friday, September 8, the Agency was honoured by Selecta for its outstanding contributions to the development and enhancement of the handicraft sector in the Dominican Republic (DR). This recognition comes as a result of its unwavering commitment to nurturing and elevating the competitiveness of the handicraft industry across the Caribbean, according to a press release from Caribbean Export.
The prestigious accolade was bestowed upon the agency during the Selecta exhibition, a collaborative effort between the Dominican Development Foundation FDD, the COOPERA Program of the Banco de Reservas, and the Fundación Reservas of the Dominican Republic, the release states. This event celebrated the remarkable journeys of 25 artisans from various craft disciplines, shining a spotlight on the exceptional accomplishments of three artisans who have earned the coveted UNESCO Seal of Excellence for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The distinguished recipients of the UNESCO Seal of Excellence include “Los Santos de Palo” from the Bonao province, crafted from ancient tree trunks; “Las Mariposas de Coco” by Arteco, hailing from the Moca province, created from dried coconut shells; and “El Gallo de Madera” by Artesanía Puello, originating from the San Cristóbal province, very near Santo Domingo. These artisans have not only preserved traditional craftsmanship but have also elevated it to a global standard.
The curator of this remarkable exhibition, Valentin Guerrero is a long-time collaborator and partner of Caribbean Export, the release states, adding that his passion for creative industries has been instrumental in showcasing the exceptional talents within the Dominican Republic.
The Selecta exhibition also included seasoned artisans from throughout the Dominican Republic; many of them beneficiaries from past Caribbean Export interventions. These artisans conveyed their heartfelt appreciation for the pivotal role the agency has played in their business growth journey. They fondly remember how its support facilitated their entry into international markets, recalling the success for the Caribbean Gift and Craft Show and Design Caribbean, the release states. These initiatives were part of the Regional Private Sector Development Programme which Caribbean Export implemented with the support of the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund.
Caribbean Export has been a driving force in transforming the handicraft sector in the Dominican Republic, in Haiti and the rest of the Caribbean region, according to the release. In this year alone, the agency successfully established the first-ever Handicraft Cluster in the Dominican Republic, boasting a membership of over 115 artisans, companies and universities. Furthermore, in June 2023, it launched the Haitian Handicraft Cluster, aimed at empowering underserved communities to develop productive capacities for export generation.
In an exemplary display of cross-border collaboration, Caribbean Export developed a Handicraft Value Chain initiative that brought together DR and Haitian companies along different sub-sectors, such as fashion, jewellery and housewares. This Binational Value Chain launched a joint jewellery collection brand named “Symbiosis” in June 2023, which highlights the remarkable talent and tangible outcomes of true binational cooperation, according to the release.
All these interventions were part of Caribbean Export’s implementation of the Trade and Private Sector Development Component of the Haiti-Dominican Republic Binational Cooperation Programme, generously funded by the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund.
Caribbean Export is proud to receive the recognition from Selecta, and remains steadfast in its mission to empower artisans, promote creative industries, and foster economic growth for the Caribbean region, the release concludes.