Photo Tour: Zambia Fair Trade Producer Visit
I was fortunate to visit our newest artisan partner group (Mulberry Mongoose) in Zambia, Africa last month. The goals of my trip included:
1. Face-to-face time with our partners. This is a priority for us at Dsenyo because we work directly with our artisan partners and although we have extremely effective long-distance working relationships, business is always personal within the cultures that we work. You simply can't replace the value of the personal relationships and friendships that are built with time spent together in-person!
2. Implementing our Social Impact Survey. We launched our social impact survey in Malawi last year. This year we are rolling it out with our partners in Zambia. One of my missions on this trip was to interview and survey each of the artisans to give us a baseline to measure their growth and development overtime as they work on Dsenyo orders.
3. Snare Wire Jewelry Launch Interviews and Filming in preparation for official Spring 2015 launch. We had professional videographer Hubert Lamela of 845a travel with me to Zambia. He recorded over 750 gigabites of amazing footage and interviews. We are extremely excited about being able to share with our customers and supporters the story behind the snare wire jewelry through video. More to come on that later!
The take aways from the trip include a deep sense of fulfillment, pride and gratitude for having the opportunity to represent such a wonderful group of people doing honest, effective work in the region and a sense of team work. During the trip the message I heard over and over again was that these problems (poverty and poaching) are too big for any one person or organization to tackle. To truly make a positive and lasting impact it is going to take a team effort...each of us doing our part, doing what we do best and teaming up with others to build a stronger coalition meeting the challenges in front of us.
So, I offer up a huge THANK YOU to our wonderful hosts and partners on the ground in Zambia doing what they do best and doing it really, really well!
- Mulberry Mongoose: empowering women and creating economic opportunity in the local community
- South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS): anti-poaching patrols on the ground combating the poaching crisis
- Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP): primarily research based activities monitoring the effects of poaching and providing studies informing policy decisions related to game management and poaching
Here are some more awesome pics from the trip. The professional looking, fabulous photos were all shot by Hubert Lamela of 845a!
(Photo below: Tracking a pride of lions who have been snared but recovered thanks to the work of SLCS and ZCP with Thandiwe of Zambia Carnivore Programme)
(Photo below: Peggy putting the finishing touches on snare wire bracelets)
(Photo below: Kate, Founder of Mulberry Mongoose, instructs Nkandu at the workshop)
(Photo below: Marissa, Dsenyo Founder, reviews quality control with Kate on necklaces. P.S. check out the Dsenyo bangles I'm wearing!)
(Photo below: lovely zebra we spotted on a safari drive through South Luangwa National Park adjacent to the artisans' workshop)
(Photo below: Hubert with his camera ready to track lions and catch it on film.)
(Photo Below: Gorgeous creatures! Elephants pass by the artisans' workshop on a regular basis as they are located next to a national park.)
(Photo below: Happy giraffe in the park. Quite a contrast to the poor giraffe we saw a day early that was limping along and had been abandoned by the others due to an injury from snare wire that left her with a lame leg.
(Photo below: And we found the lions we were tracking! ZCP is thrilled to see that this pride has been mating and growing despite the fact that one of the lionesses has scarring from a previous snare wire wound. The lion population is severly threatened by the snare wire poaching problem. Dsenyo's snare wire jewelry donates $5 per item back to ZCP and SLCS for their anti-poaching efforts!)
(Photo below: Elephants at play in the background as we conduct interviews!)
(Photo below: Goodbye Zambia...until next time!)