Munira Akilova

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Create. Empower. Unite.Tajikistan

Munira Akilova is a designer, and the founder and owner of the MUNIR brand. She is also an expert trainer in handicraft, tourism and entrepreneurship.

Munira is passionate about embroidery, and after a long period of being a professor, she decided to change her path and spend the rest of her life doing what she loves to do. Since 2013, Munira's hobby has become a business. She reflects that "motivating people, seeing the shine in their eyes is what keeps me empowered in this beautiful world."

Her business, MUNIR unites more than 30 ladies in order to run a social enterprise. The main aims of MUNIR are research, education and production in handicrafts. In these ways, Munira sees her work as helping to revive the culture and build the future in Tajikistan.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Create. Empower. Unite.

The project empowered 12 artisans of the Sughd region of Tajikistan who were each a member of one of the 11 handcraft groups in their areas. The project helped foster the development of 20 new artisanal products and services, increased digital knowledge and involved participants in e-commerce opportunities through four workshops. In the workshops, the participants learned about topics such as tools for teaching a master class, product design and social media marketing, among others. Some of the artisans also participated in a 3-day study tour to the Zerafshan Valley, where they networked and shared experience with local handicraft groups there. More than 300 visitors attended the three handcraft fairs that were organized in Khujand and were able to experience the traditional handcrafted products that the artisans had newly developed as well as attended master classes they taught. One mother commented that her children were "delighted" by the overall experience.

"I’ve never paid attention to fixing color combinations in my production before. Even when clients asked for a repeat product, I didn't even remember what color combination I used. It turns out that it’s convenient to save a color combination - this way you can somehow systematize your production." - Project Participant

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Munira was a participant in the IVLP Project Adventure Tourism in the United States, organized by the U.S. Department of State and CRDF Global.

Munira's exchange experience led to the development of her IVLP Impact Award Project: "...during the program we visited one of the well-organized handicraft shops in Traverse City. It was a good example of tourism & handicraft synergy."

U.S. Communities Visited

Grand Canyon, AZ; Flagstaff; AZ; Scottsdale, AZ; Denver, CO; Washington, DC; Traverse City, MI; Madison, WI

Country: Tajikistan

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