AfriBeads are made by a group of 30 women from Kampala in Uganda called the AfriBeads Women’s Association.
Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world and has a population of about 36 million. Most jobs are in agriculture with major exports being coffee, tea and cotton. In the city many people are employed in low productivity formal and informal sector activities such as building work, small businesses etc. About 40% of the population live on less than $2 per day, and 20% live below the poverty line (World Bank Uganda Poverty Assessment 2016). Many people live in one or two room houses. Even in Kampala, the houses generally do not have running water and people collect their water in jerry cans from a communal tap. Typically houses share communal toilets and many do not have electricity. Disease is an issue and infant mortality is high. Although 90 percent of children attend primary school, that drops to below 25 percent in secondary school. (The Borgen Project July 2017)
The artisan partners
AfriBeads are made by a group of 30 women from Kampala in Uganda called the AfriBeads Womens’ Association. The project is a Ugandan initiative and was started in 2005 by a Ugandan woman to help poor mothers have work while caring for their children at home. She started helping the women earn money by making beaded jewellery at home and selling at local markets. However this was difficult as so many people are poor in Uganda and there are few tourists.
Our partnership with this Project started in 2009 after a visit to Uganda. AfriBeads now orders every month from the women artisans giving them a regular income. The women artisans are paid above the market rate for their beads. The aim is for those artisans working full-time to earn an income sufficient to enable them to pay rent, buy food and educate their children.
Profits from AfriBeads are used to further support this project and the community in Uganda. The use of this money is determined in consultation with the members of the project. The AfriBeads Womens’ Association meets twice a week and all decisions are made collaboratively.