The Mexican government has partnered with Meta to train hundreds of artisans to use the latter’s social media channels to set up their own online stores, allowing them to sell traditional designs and avoid the theft of their designs. The rise of e-commerce could create meaningful opportunities for indigenous communities in Mexico.
The Ministry of Culture partnered with Meta to support artisans and keep Mexico in the digital economy. This alliance was part of ORIGINAL, a program backed by the Ministry of Culture that was created in 2021 because of the constant plagiarization of symbols and designs of traditional community artisans in Mexico. “Each year [the program] has strengthened the active participation of artisans who keep the tradition alive. In its third edition, 2023, it is consolidated as part of a permanent cultural movement backed by rights and law,” reads their website.
ORIGINAL Encuentro de Arte Textil Mexicano gave training in the use of social media, specifically on Meta’s platforms, since Facebook Marketplace, Instagram Shopping and WhatApp are being increasingly used as online retail alternatives. During the training, artisans learned to use these tools, learning to tell the story of their business and products, to generate connections with users, to take product photography, to generate catalogs and to automate replies to inquiry messages.
This project is part of Meta’s Responsibility program, in which it uses technology to create opportunities for “digital citizens.” Meta Boost for Indigenous Communities is “an exclusive adaptation for indigenous communities in Mexico. It seeks to provide educational and culturally relevant materials along with digital skills training in indigenous languages. In this way, we want to boost the expansion of their projects or businesses into the digital world, as well as overcome the language barriers they normally face when approaching the digital economy.”
Alejandra Fraustro Guerrero, Minister of Culture, thanked the trainers for the courses. “Traditional art should never again be discriminated against, that is why ORIGINAL was created and among its actions is training for the artisans, which considers the topics that they themselves request. Thank you very much to the trainers, thank you to the artists for leaving your workshops, your land, your family for a few hours to grow as the artists you are,” she says.
About 500 artisans participated in the in-person workshops, while the live streams registered 43,556 views.
“We are proud to be part of this program that seeks to protect and preserve Mexico's cultural heritage. These trainings not only help artisans expand the reach of their businesses and increase their income; they also seek to foster representation and diversity in the digital ecosystem, giving a voice to underrepresented communities,” says Eliana Pérez, Public Policy Manager in Mexico, Meta.
The growing e-commerce industry in Mexico will allow the artisans to have a wider client reach and it could help prevent the increase in plagiarism of their traditional designs.