AAKS fosters community development and creates sustainable employment opportunities for local female weavers in Northern Ghana. Specializing in woven bags and home decor, AAKS products are made from sustainable fibers, including vetiver and raffia, and are crafted with traditional techniques unique to North Africa. In addition to employment, AAKS offers zero-interest loans, empowering women artisans to become financially independent.
The Design for Peace project provides local artisans and refugees an opportunity to collaborate with Parisian designers. Many artisans are displaced Malian people seeking refuge in nearby Burkina Faso. Through this program, 200 refugee artisans can learn, design, share and experiment with techniques to develop a collection.
At Gone Rural, over 750 rural Swazi women earn a living by weaving highly intricate baskets, bowls, and placemats. In Swaziland, rural families suffer from illiteracy, high rates of HIV/AIDS, and extreme poverty. Through participation in Gone Rural’s skill training courses, these women are able to provide for their families.
As a social enterprise in Madagascar, Ivahona brings much needed work to talented artisans who would otherwise be hard-pressed to find a market for their handcrafted goods. Despite being rich with natural resources, Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Le Souk Ceramique honors the cultural importance of ceramic bisque design in Tunisia by preserving local traditions of urban artisanship. Le Souk hires and trains artisans from predominantly lower socioeconomic backgrounds in order to provide those without marketable skills fair wages.
Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO) works to give a voice to pastoral Maasai women in remote, impoverished regions of Tanzania. Through the creation and sales of beaded jewelry (designed and produced in traditional fashions), Maasai women can bring themselves out of extreme poverty.
Olivia Knox was founded as a 100% female owned and managed social enterprise. With a vision to create new markets in Ugandan communities and improve the economic value of the Ankole breed, artisans at Olivia Knox are involved in the creative design and manufacturing process of Ankole cow horn.
Sabahar is a fair trade enterprise that celebrates Ethiopia’s age-old textile traditions, combining handspinning and hand-weaving with contemporary design and craftsmanship. Sabahar currently employs 50 people at its workshop in Addis Ababa and engages another 100 artisans who spin and weave in their own homes or in cooperatives around the city.
In Kenya, roughly 85% of the deaf community is unemployed with women facing heightened discrimination and mistreatment. Sasa Designs by the Deaf was founded in 2011 to combat the stigma of deafness, and to offer jewelry-making jobs to deaf women who otherwise may never have been able to earn a living.
Founded in 2011, Sidai Designs is a social enterprise working with over 50 women artisans in the Maasai community in and around Arusha, Tanzania. Sidai’s mission is to build an organization that provides a sustainable income, skills training and literacy classes to marginalized Maasai women.
Few jobs are offered to South Africans with little formal education, but at Streetwires, 120 artisans in Cape Town and Johannesburg earn sustainable incomes through the sale of their wire and bead creations.