Female Coir Fiber Workers

coir fiber workersCoir is the coarse fiber extracted from coconut husk. Traditionally, coir fiber has been used for making yarns, brooms, and brushes. Lately, new usage of the fiber includes coir twine, mats, carpets, geo textiles and in horticulture. Sri Lanka produces 16% of the world’s total coir production. This represents 40% of Sri Lanka’s exports. The industry is thus very significant in the country’s economy. About 90% of the workforces engaged in coir processing in south Sri Lanka are women. And their role in the coir industry is largely focused on the initial stages of the supply chain, associated with ‘unclean’, labour intensive work with low profit margins. Women’s work typically involves heavy, manual processes: ‘retting’ coconut husks in pits, manually extracting fibers, manually spinning the fiber into handmade yarns and making brooms and brushes. Coir workers come from the poorest groups of society earning around 200 rupees per day.

Nagenahiru initiates to uplift the socio – economic status of these disadvantage coir workers includes distribution of Coir yarn weaving machines, formation of their self-help groups and development of skills to produce value additions which in turn enhance their house hold income from coir industry. The project implemented in Ampe, Rajawattha and Mohottiwathta in the Balapitiya Divisional Secretariat area in Galle district of Sri Lanka. 175 coir yarn machines were distributed among 350 women engage in domestic coir production and 15 groups was trained and mobilized to produce door mats using coir yarn produce in their own villages. Thus the project aims to promote women’s leadership in the economy, that is in terms of the process and outcomes through which women are able to meaningfully participate in economic decision-making and gain equal access and control over economic resources.