Etkie is a social enterprise committed to the financial and social empowerment of women Navajo artisans in New Mexico. By promoting their jewelry through its online sales platform, Etkie strives to help Native American artisans sell their products at fair prices to earn a higher income and eventually attain financial independence.
Today most Navajo reservations are in remote locations and face important community challenges including high unemployment and housing shortages. In these reservations, women are traditionally the sole heads of households and -- being very skilled in beadwork -- their art is often their principal source of income.
Founded in 2011, Etkie works exclusively with women, most of whom have been socially excluded or have physical disabilities. In addition to manufacturing and marketing assistance, the organization also offers clients holistic support, including transportation, organizational and technical assistance. While many women already sell their jewelry to the local market, their access to out-of-state markets remains deeply limited. Etkie aims to unlock opportunities by opening their access to the larger market.
By working with Etkie, the organization hopes that these artisans will not only learn to create their own sustainable business, but also grow in self-esteem and improve their living standards.
A unique lending approach
Through this partnership, Kiva lenders will be able to support Navajo artisans to produce their jewelry through in-kind, interest-free loans. Etkie will offer existing clients these loans to help them finance their production costs, for example for beads, copper, leather, loom, loom thread, tools, and transportation to and from the reservation.
Each loan will typically range between $500 and $1000 USD, with a repayment term of 12-months. In order to best accommodate its clients, Etkie will collect monthly repayments from the artisans according to their monthly revenue and Kiva lenders will see a lump repayment at the end of the tenor.
Etkie joined Kiva through our Experimental Partnership Program, and has therefore received a lighter level of due diligence. Accordingly, loans associated with this partner carry a higher level of risk than typical Kiva loans.