THE SHEER DEPTH OF TALENT AND CREATIVITY OF MARGINALIZED HANDICRAFT PEOPLE OF KENYA.
BawaHope is a Fair-Trade company that works with marginalized handicraft artisans in Kenya by linking them to global markets. The company works with creative women and men, with the capacity to produce high quality products at competitive market prices. These artisans do not want sympathy or charity—but an opportunity to access and compete in global markets.
Our products range from:
Jewelry: Necklaces, earrings, wristbands
Fashion: Bags: handbags, shoppers
Living: salad servers, bowls
Lifestyles: Soapstone gift Items.
Wooden gift Items
Recycled gift Items
Create and develop Contemporary Ethnic jewellery products that satisfy the consumer’s desire for Value, Quality and Fashion, whilst taking care of our environment and creating opportunities for marginalized communities.
To access gifted art, jewelery, craft and gift artisans, largely drawn from rural and slum communities, to wealth creating global markets. Capitalize on sustainable and recycled raw materials to develop an attractive and unique range of products that have a competitive edge in global markets. Access ethical markets with a human face that allow artisans to generate acceptable returns to their investments.
Environmental conservation is a key pillar of Bawa Hope’s core values. Bawa seeks to use enterprise as a tool not only for empowering marginalized artisans, but safeguarding the environment .
The women, living in these informal settlements, see value in many of the things that we throw away! The bags combine sisal, which occurs in abundance, and waste banana fibre amongst other materials to create an attractive and functional fashion accessory. By buying these products, you help create demand that fuels further collection, processing and utilization of waste material thus safeguarding the environment.
Anne Nzilani (pronounced as nzee –lan –eee!) grew up in a world of crafts – coming from a Kenyan community that gave the world the famous kiondo. She has a Big Heart for Social Justice and believes in making a difference in the lives of marginalized producers that have a talent in crafts but lack a market for their products. No wonder she has the knack for energizing producers and getting them to achieve their best, backed by an innate ability to spot winning products with great market potential.
Her entire work experience has been in product development, production and marketing of a range of products that include kiondo’s (hand woven bags), jewellery, wooden and soapstone products.
– Interpreting new designs and product development
– Working with producers to develop new products
– Identifying designs with market potential
– Promoting products to customers
Anne Nzilani has great networks and working relationships with producers from Kenya’s dominant craft clusters of Eastern province (famous for kiondos and wood carvings), Nairobi (key source of great natural jewellery) and Tabaka (home to the worlds most famous soapstone)
Anne Nzilani is experienced in the export process having worked with buyers from the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Australia, Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK. She has worked on design projects with key international designers and design universities including design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Cardenal Herrera CEU in Spain .She has also visited and gone on marketing visits in the Netherlands, Paris, Belgium, Italy and Germany.
She is the managing director of Bawa La Tumaini that works to link talented women in the low income areas of Nairobi, Ukambani and Tabaka to market opportunities in Europe and the USA. She also believes that it’s possible to transform the lives of marginalized producers from a life of abject poverty to one of social fulfilment and economic empowerment through Trade.
Bawa works with a pool of consultants that train on:
Quality assurance systems
Communication in business
Leadership and governance
Value chain analysis
Fair trade compliance
Bawa La Tumaini is keen on projects supporting Health and Safety of its producers. These include sensitising the producers on the use of safety gears in production. A ground survey carried out in 2007 established that producers in Tabaka lack safety gears for protection during processing and production of soapstone products. The producers do not use safety gears such as goggles, overalls, face masks, gumboots, and helmets (for quarries). The tools used are often either rudimentary of improvised exposing the users to higher risks than necessary. For example, they face risks of partial or full blindness from flying chips. They also suffer from unnecessary cuts and bruises due to in-appropriate clothing. There are no first aid kits in the mines or workshops. Simple rudimentary tools such as shovels, hoes, machetes, wheelbarrow, pulleys, hand drills are lacking. Producers sometimes lack even proper footwear and will be seen in the mines with slippers!
They also rely on ineffective production systems that are incapable of handling mass orders leading to lost market opportunities. The ineffective systems also increase the workload during production while impacting negatively on quality and volumes Production is done by individual producers who usually work alone even when they belong to groups. This slows down production and fails to capitalise on relative strengths of each artisan which eventually impacts on incomes and livelihoods. If the producers continue to rely on outdated technologies and processes, they will basically continue surviving from hand to mouth.
Soapstone is the most important export craft product accounting for 40-50% of Kenyan export sales. It generates millions of shillings for producers, exporters and other stakeholders. It also contributes to thousands of jobs. There is a need to work with the producers of this precious stone to enable them appreciate health and safety and increase the benefits accruing from it to them. This is an initiative Bawa seeks to do.
Tabaka is in Gucha District, in South Western Kenya. The district is mostly hilly and is dissected by rivers flowing west into Lake Victoria. Lack of infrastructure like electricity, telecommunications and good roads inhibit the full exploitation of resources. The hilly nature of the district leads to serious soil erosion and makes Transportation difficult, especially in the rainy season when many roads become impassable.
In the beautiful hills of Tabaka lies unique stone that is widely used for carving. Kisii Soapstone is famous world over for its texture and varying colours. It accounts for 40-50% of all soapstone exports from Kenya.