On World Fair Trade Day this year (May 14th), Indego Africa–a nonprofit organization and design company dedicated to empowering artisan women in Africa–shared their goals for supporting artisans in Rwanda and Ghana. By bringing their products to a global audience–and paying them a solid income–these creative locals, often women, can help their communities grow responsibly.
From Indego Africa via One.org:
Since day one, we have been committed to paying our partners fairly and in accordance with the Fair Trade Federation’s principles of respect, transparency and accountability (learn more about these values here). We believe that paying artisans fairly is both the right thing to do and the wise thing to do. It’s right because it honors the time, skill, artistry, and expertise that goes into the making of each product and treats people with the respect and dignity they deserve. It’s also wise because empowering artisans—and especially women—is a powerful way to drive economic growth and sustainable development in communities around the globe.
Since working with us, our Rwandan partners’ income has increased significantly (700 percent, to be exact) from approximately 25 cents a day in 2008 to, on average, $2.00 a day or more in 2015! These women use the income they earn to invest in the health, education, and well-being of their families. For example, today, 72 percent of our partners never run out of food (versus only 5 percent in 2008); 89 percent send all or most of their children to school (versus 50 percent in 2008); and 90 percent have medical insurance for their entire families.
We (along with many others) like to call this phenomenon the multiplier effect—that is, the reverberating positive impact that investing in women has on their families and also on their communities. However, we don’t stop at providing women with income. We like to ensure that our impact is self-sustaining by providing women with the education they need to become confident, independent businesswomen. Our training programs equip women with knowledge and skills that empower them to build their own sustainable businesses, create employment opportunities for others, and become agents of change in their communities.
This story was originally published on May 14th, 2016.