Weaving tradition into the future



Tansen-4, Palpali, Nepal


Our Partners

Palpali Dhaka Association (PDA)

Palpali Dhaka Association (PDA) was established in 2020 with an aim to revive the Palpali Dhaka industry. The association plays as a catalyst to preserve the indigenous technique of producing hand-woven dhaka fabric, expanding the knowledge to future generation, and improving the working conditions for weavers. Currently comprising of nine dhaka producing factories, PDA aims to standardize the quality of working conditions for the artisans through fair trade standards, introduce finest handmade dhaka fabrics production through certified and curriculum-based skill building trainings and collectively produce to cater to national and international markets diversifying design and product innovation. With support from UKaid सीप, Lumbini Province Government, Tansen Municipality, among other system and market actors, the association has been working towards the “Growth of Nepali Dhaka” endeavour to take the brand PALPALI to new heights.

Palpali Dhaka Association (PDA)

Funded by the British Embassy in Kathmandu, UKaid सीप brokers transformational partnerships with the private and public sector to propel growth of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in priority sectors.

UKaid सीप’s partnership with the PDA was designed to support resurgence and inclusive growth of the Palpali Dhaka industry for sustainable and quality jobs and enterprise growth.

With support from the Lumbini Province and Tansen Municipality, UKaid सीप supported the co-creation of and co-funding for the PDA in 2019. Comprising of nine firms, सीप’s multi-stakeholder partnership with PDA provided a coordinated platform to improve and institutionalize stronger skilling practices, through standardized three-month apprenticeship-based curriculum on weaving, business literacy, and soft skills and enhanced trainer skills; and other interlinked productivity-enabling interventions.

Through active collaboration between local and global designers and buyers, the Lumbini Provincial Government and the Municipality of Tansen in particular, the सीप-PDA teams have worked hard to embrace culture-based innovations, recyclable materials, and story-embedded products that will continue to define the way Brand Palpali will relate to its innovative products of the future.

Palpali Dhaka Association (PDA)

Lumbini Province Government, Tansen Municipality and the other municipalities of Palpa have played a huge role in formation of the Palpali Dhaka Association and have deeply invested in the revitalization project. The Mayor of Tansen Municipality, Ashok Kumar Shahi is setting an example for other government bodies to promote and use Palpali Dhaka by using it in the interiors of his own office. 

Revival of Palpali Dhaka industry is a top priority for the Tansen Municipality. The partnership forged among the Lumbini Province Government, Tansen Municipality, Palpali Dhaka Association and UKaid सीप Programme has brought together the private sector, government, and development agencies at a common ground—harnessing the multi-sectoral capabilities to tackle the bottlenecks facing the industry. Indicative of the building momentum, and growing interest in Palpali Dhaka, advocacy is ongoing for Tansen to be declared the ‘Dhaka Capital of Nepal’. 

Palpali Dhaka Association (PDA)

PDA is working in collaboration with Swiss non-profit organization Label STEP to promote the sustainability of the handmade Dhaka industry and ensure the wellbeing of its weavers. Label STEP has developed fair trade standards specific to the handwoven textile sector in Nepal that provide strict social and environmental guidelines. The guidelines cover: the protection of workers’ health and safety; the assurance of fair wages and protection of agreed wages; the prohibition of child labour; the protection against all forms of discrimination; environmental protection; the protection against forced or bonded labour; and the workers’ right to freedom of association.

The Palpali Dhaka Association has made big strides to implement these guidelines and comply with the fair trade standards. Weavers salaries are set using STEP’s wage calculation tool, making sure that weavers earn at least the governmental minimum wage. Production facilities have been upgraded to prioritize the safety of weaver and workers, emergency measures and protocols have been introduced, and all employees participate in regular safety and occupational health training. All workshops are equipped with sanitary and safe drinking water facilities, adequate lighting conditions, first aid kits and fire safety equipment.

Ethically sourced and eco-friendly products have become a fundamental requirement for a growing number of consumers around the world, and the market for sustainable products continues to grow rapidly. But compliance with fair trade standards is about much more than just satisfying a market demand, it is the heart of the Palpali Dhaka Association’s purpose and philosophy.

Other Collaborators

Palpali Dhaka Association’s partnership with UKaid सीप is an embodiment of a real multi-sector collaboration aimed at enabling sustainable jobs and industries. In addition to the partners mentioned above, the following have been important contributors:

  • Lumbini Province Government prioritized the revival of Palpali Dhaka and allocated budget for skilling, employment and marketing through the local government, Tansen Municipality.
  • NMB Bank enables affordable financial solutions for women weavers to buy handloom technology for setting up their self-employed/home-based business and for entrepreneurs to access growth capital.
  • Nepal Yarn Manufacturing Association and other yarn suppliers in and outside Nepal, like Triveni Spinning Mill in Birgunj and Aquafil in Italy, provided raw materials to address PDA’s supply chain gaps as well as introduced recyclable and environment-friendly products.
  • Image Ark created the brand concept and identity of the Palpali brand and gave it its strategic direction as a contemporary brand. From logo to communication collaterals the Palpali brand is consistent and recognizable in its visuals and personality.
  • Kathaharu provided visual storytelling to document and present the emotional and historical context behind the Palpali brand to strengthen marketing capacity. With the visual documentation, the Palpali brand has a marketing material that shows the effort as well as emotional weight the brand has for the consumers.
  • Christoph Hefti, Textile Designer introduced modern-day world-class designs that appeal to a global clientele, also sensitizing PDA members about the need to and how to adapt to new-age youthful interests.
  • Ayusha Shrestha, AAMO infused design thinking to turn Palpali Dhaka fabrics into contemporary, purposeful products that hold accountability and is relevant in today’s progressive market.
  • Srishti Bajracharya, Association for Craft Producers (ACP) helped make a selection of fabrics and develop swatches, covering all three collections. She also supported buyer identification in both national and international markets.
  • Alternative Technology (AT) developed the Galaincha software to help Dhaka entrepreneurs design and visualize the fabrics and their colors before weaving, as a valuable efficiency improvement tool. AT has also developed a digital catalog to boost PDA’s marketing efforts and help clients/buyers visualize the fabrics.

The solutions and interventions from these stakeholders have helped optimize the value of the partnership built by PDA and UKaid सीप—by addressing critical systemic constraints and gaps at the firm, industry, and workers’ levels.