The Union of Craft Cooperatives of the North (UGAN)unites 600 artisans from many different villages situated in northern Cote d'Ivoire in the proximity of Korhogo, the country's third largest city. UGAN began as a small group of weavers in 1975 and obtained official status from the government in 1983. Thirty percent of the members are women who spin cotton, crochet hand-woven strip cloth into wearable garments or make pottery; seventy percent are male weavers, cloth painters, wood carvers and bronze casters. All members pay 15% of each sale to sustain the UGAN cooperative structure.
In 1988 funding was made available to build the UGAN Craft Center in Korhogo which houses the finest selection of products produced by the member artisans. A catalog of UGAN products printed in three languages to which three new pages have just recently been added was financed by the Swiss government. (The catalog is reprinted in its entirety on these pages).
UGAN artisan leaders demonstrate their skills in urban centers (Abidjan, Baouke, Cote d'Ivoire; Lome, Togo; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso) regularly for the past 15 years. Their products can be found in many fine hotels and restaurants all over Cote d'Ivoire. In recent years export of UGAN products to Ghana and to South Africa has begun to increase. UGAN has been exporting to "Artisans du Monde" in France and to "Caritas" in Switzerland successfully for many years.