Women empowerment through upcycling

City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

SDG 5: Gender equalitySDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
ASTA is a Brazilian network of female artisans and a platform for production and retailing of products produced out of waste. ASTA transform artisans into entrepreneurs, and waste into new products. Their objective is to empower women artisans living in vulnerable areas of Rio de Janeiro. It started with helping artisan groups enhance their products and selling them through ASTA’s own sales channels. After 12 years of operations and many lessons learned, ASTA is focusing on its two main areas of actions: Impact and Business.

Women in Brazil still face major inequalities and exclusion from the labour market. Today, women represent a significant part of the social economy, which comprises more than 33,000 businesses throughout the country. However, small-scale artisans face great challenges to the quality and commercialization of their products, hindering their entrepreneurial efforts.

Good practices and solutions

ASTA has developed an innovative capacity building program called the Business School for Artisans, based on the knowledge acquired working with artisans and with the market. The school provides relevant contents regarding business and human capital management, production and sales. ASTA is also focusing on the wholesale market selling corporate gifts for companies produced by the trained artisans base, using the companies discarded materials, operating a circular production cycle.

Outcomes & Opportunities

By providing training to disempowered and marginalized female artist and grant them access to the market by selling their products under the brand of “ASTA” in showrooms and online these women are able to earn an income and develop marked skills. ASTA supports 60 productive groups across 10 states in Brazil, having improved the lives of more than 4.000 women.

Related SDG targets


Photo: © Bruno Nascimento/Unsplash

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Project: Circular Baltic 2030