Omani craftsmen go global

MUSCAT, JAN 6 – Works of scores of Omani traditional craftsmen went global through social media as the “Herfati” competition, organised by the Ministry of Technology and Communications (MoTC) and the Public Authority for Craft Industries (PACI), concluded announcing the winners.
The competition, held between October 23, 2019 and January 6, 2020, targeted craftsmen with Instagram accounts who are registered with the Public Authority for Craft Industries. This competition was organised with the intention of enhancing digital marketing capabilities of people in the crafts community and to encourage them to use social media. This benefited craftsmen by giving the access and visibility to wider audience in Oman and other countries.
Held under the auspices of Dr Salim bin Sultan al Ruzaiqi, “Herfati” garnered wider attraction and witnessed 1,462 Instagram posts from the competitors who sell various products like textiles, pottery, palm-based products, incense, canes and other products while 52 craftsmen made it to the finals.
Sponsored by Oman Oil Marketing Company for the second year, the competition allocated RO 3,300 for the first 4 place winners and some several distinctive accounts. Muna al Shukairi who makes incense and beauty products won the 1st place, while Asma al Kharusi who also works with incense and beauty products bagged the 2nd place. The 3rd place went to Abdullah al Adawi who runs a pottery business, and in the 4th place came Rahma al Aamri who works in textiles.
“We believe in the power of digital marketing in all aspects and therefore, we organise a number of competitions and training programmes for people working in different fields to encourage them to effectively utilise such tools to promote their products and services,” said Ahmed bin Salim al Wahaibi, a Project Specialist.
“PACI and Oman Oil Marketing were keen to take an active part in partnering and supporting “Herfati” competition, believing that digital marketing skills through social media will have a positive impact on promoting the handicrafts locally and internationally thus empowering craftsmen to reach a wider audience,” he added.
Omani craftsmen who participated in the competition said that this competition is expected to help them cross international boundaries with their products/services to get wider reach.
“It is our pleasure to be part of this wonderful competition that targeted the technological improvement of the crafts sector through social media,” said Ahmed al Farsi, Head of the office of Shaikha Aisha bint Khalfan al Siyabiyah, PACI Chairperson.
“Social media nowadays has an active and direct role in allowing quick access and effective marketing locally and internationally,” he added.
“The competition also assessed the organisational culture within the Omani crafts industry to lead craftsmanship into a new innovative era to ensure a competitive market and an increased demand. In addition, it also aimed at helping the craftsmen enhance various marketing and promotional skills so that they can achieve better productivity and profit,” Muna al Shukairi told the Observer.
“Herfati contributed to encouraging craftsmen in our society, for it challenged their skills and abilities and focused on marketing their products in light of the rapidly evolving digital development that the world witnesses today,” said David Kalife, CEO of Oman Oil Marketing.
“The opportunity is now open for the winners to harness and utilise new technologies and widen the reach of their products locally and internationally. While Oman is moving towards eTransformation, it is now vital for us to support entrepreneurs, SMEs and skilled artists as part of our social responsibility and as a pillar of our national economic growth,” he added.