Serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Ait Bouguemez Valley of Morocco, Dan Driscoll grew frustrated when he learned that the carvers he worked with remained poor even after selling to fair-trade organizations. While working with the carvers, they showed him that the only way to grow would be to ensure that they were able to sell their work independently without middlemen.
As technology transformed the Ait Bouguemez valley (Dan had internet, but no running water in his mud house), he decided to train the carvers to sell on Etsy and eBay. The carvers had so much success selling online that they poured the excess profits of their sales into the local community.
Today, the carvers continue to self-fund their own solutions to local problems and have built a thriving community in the valley. For Dan, this represented true sustainable development.
Etsy and Ebay began as good solutions for the carvers. However, illiteracy, lack of confidence, and geographic isolation prevented the vast majority of Moroccan artisans from being able to benefit from these platforms. As a result, Dan and Brahim El Mansouri, the president of the woodcarving association in Ait Bouguemez, teamed up to begin building the community of Anou.