Manoj Bhatt pioneered an income-generation based model of conservation in 2009 which generated income for rural families as well as revenue for community-based conservation projects in the Himalayan areas. Manoj, through his organization, Research, Advocacy, and Communication in Himalayan Areas (RACHNA), used tourism to assist conservation and the greening of existing tourism infrastructure.
One of RACHNA’s projects included the Green Dhaba Campaign which rewarded dhabas along the Gangotri Highway with marketing support for their commitment towards green and responsible practices. These practices included not employing child labour, preserving water, and using locally-produced ingredients resulting in hundreds of dhabas following green and responsible practices.
Building on the success of the Green Dhaba Campaign in reducing child labour, Manoj launched GoodWeave in India, an organization aimed at eliminating child labour in the carpet and textile industry. Manoj is using an innovative holistic approach, leveraging partnerships with industry, communities, NGOs, and governments. GoodWeave is the only organization offering an independent, third-party certification label that successfully prevents child labour in the informal production sector.
Its’ market-driven approach includes Western consumer awareness campaigns and business engagement; supply chain inspections and product certification; child rescue, rehabilitation and education; and international standard-setting and governance. The certification targets both Asian weaving communities and Western consumer markets, creating a race to the top that will improve artisans’ livelihoods and ensure that children are educated and not exploited on looms.
GoodWeave is uniquely designed to work through the marketplace, pulling the economic levers so that human rights abuses are no longer profitable. By building collaborative rather than combative relationships with industry members, GoodWeave has been able to access factories, loom sheds and homes to identify child laborers and then use licensing fees to support their remediation. GoodWeave also works with NGOs to promote child friendly communities where all school age children attend formal school. It also supports workers in health and safety awareness, accessing government welfare and health services.
Since it’s inception, GoodWeave has reduced the number “carpet kids” on South Asian looms by 75% - reducing 1 million child laborers to 250,000. GoodWeave has also directly rescued 3,445 child slaves and provided them rehabilitation, education and homes. In addition, nearly 11,000 children have gained access to education, and more than 30,000 adult workers have been provided health, vision care and other services.
GoodWeave monitors rug production for 130 North American and European importers and has certified almost 11 million carpets available through more than 2,000 stores, showrooms in Europe, North America, Australia and other countries and online retailers. GoodWeave India currently inspects more than 1000 carpet manufacturing units in India, and more than 130 importer companies currently sell GoodWeave certified rugs.
In future years, GoodWeave plans to expand its work from Uttar Pradesh and other northern parts of India to further south in India and in Kashmir.
Note: This was updated in August, 2014. Read on for the ELECTION profile