Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Friday, October 29, 2010

Success at Diani Craft Fair!

A significant part of GVIs work in Kenya involves creating alternative livelihoods for communities previously dependant on unsustainable resource use, for example poaching, fishing and charcoal burning. We work with a number of groups, in both the Tsavo west region and on the coast in Shimoni and Mkwiro to create handicraft products that can then be sold and generate income for the people within these communities.

-- Our products displayed beautifully on our little stall --

For the past 2 years, the three villages in Tsavo West have been learning and developing skills in making, labelling and marketing their products and making the most of the natural resources in Tsavo West, including elephant dung and honey, and training with Shimoni and Mkwiro’s womens groups have included braiding and beading jewellery workshops and soap and lotion making lessons.

This weekend in Diani, a craft fair and music festival was held at the local Forty Thieves beach bar and offered an unmissable opportunity to promote the fantastic work of these communities; our products included orange and cinnamon candles, honey bath wash and body scrub, aloe vera soaps, beaded earrings and necklaces, postcards made from elephant dung paper and woven baskets with jasmine body lotion and neem body cream. It was a big event, with tickets being sold out and a number of different organisations involved and setting up stalls, so we were excited to be involved.

-- Customers showed lots of interest in the products and community projects --

So, the two hot sunny days were spent manning our stall and explaining the stories behind the products to passers by and customers. It was a really successful weekend, not only did we sell just under 10,000Ksh worth of products (equivalent to about £90), meaning we can put this money straight back into the communities and reward all their hard work, but also was a great opportunity to see what other crafts are being produced locally.

The whole team involved had a lot of fun and are returning to the communities with renewed determination to further develop and expand the handicrafts!