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Fair Trade Weaving

WomenCraft Offers Ethical Employment in East Africa's Mafiga Matatu Area

— February 18, 2012 — Social Good
WomenCraft is an East African social enterprise that empowers female artisans by paying them fair wages to make beautiful crafts that are sold internationally. This income allows women living in the Mafiga Matatu area -- which lies between Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi -- to support themselves and their families, send their children to school, and even help take care of other children who have been orphaned due to HIV.

"WomenCraft's members create high-quality handcrafted products that preserve local traditions and incorporate environmentally-sustainable local materials," the website explains.

"Members also build business acumen and gain practical life skills so that they can eventually take ownership of the enterprise."

The social enterprise was founded in 2007 and currently works with 380 artisans in 17 villages. Since launching, WomenCraft has enabled artisans to earn over $50,000, a hefty sum when you consider that the average person in the Ngara region lives off less than $260 USD.

Among the products created by WomenCraft are woven fruit bowls and placemats, handcrafted from organic materials like grass and banana fiber, as seen in the gallery above.

Contact Information
WomenCraft website
WomenCraft on Facebook
Trend Themes
1. Fair Trade Entrepreneurship - Social enterprises like WomenCraft that empower women and artisans through fair wages and sustainable materials allow for disruptive innovation in ethical and sustainable entrepreneurship.
2. Sustainable Handcrafting - The use of environmentally-sustainable local materials and traditional handcrafting techniques, as seen in WomenCraft's products, is a trend in the sustainable production of artisanal goods that presents opportunities for disruptive innovation.
3. Community-based Economic Development - Social enterprises like WomenCraft that provide fair wages and life skills training to local artisans and support community growth and development offer a disruptive innovation opportunity in community-based economic development.
Industry Implications
1. Sustainable Home Decor - The use of sustainable, locally-sourced materials and traditional handcrafting techniques, as seen in WomenCraft's woven fruit bowls and placemats, represents a disruptive innovation opportunity in the sustainable home decor industry.
2. Fair Trade Fashion - The use of ethically-sourced and produced materials and the employment of female artisans at fair wages in the fashion industry presents a disruptive innovation opportunity in the fair trade fashion sector.
3. Socially Responsible Tourism - The support of social enterprises like WomenCraft through tourism that showcases artisanal products, traditional techniques, and community growth offers a disruptive innovation opportunity in the socially responsible tourism industry.
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