Inspiring Change, the women artisans of WomenCraft. [Photo: WomenCraft]
Our Tanzanian WFTO Member WomenCraft is now the second Fair Trade Organisation to receive the Inspirational SME Award. These awards are given by CBI (Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries), an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to organisation that have 'bettered themselves or benefited others through innovative and inspiring means.' The first member to win this award is Selyn Exporters (Pvt) Ltd back in 2013. We are very proud that another WFTO member has been recognised for its efforts inside the Fair Trade Movement.
WomenCraft operates in Ngara, Tanzania, a post-conflict border area where Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania meet. This organisation has created economic opportunities for over 300 rural East African women. One of their main goals is to empower rural women by giving them the possibility to create products that are connected to their culture and talents. WomenCraft artisan women are able to provide for their families and stimulate their local communities, achieving economic self-reliance.
This inspiring and empowering organisation also seeks to increase economic opportunities in Northwestern Tanzania, a region that has been greatly impacted by conflict and refugee flows. It first began as an implementing partner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Heidi Christ, founder of WomenCraft had been working together with the UNHCR assisting Burundian and Rwandan refugees in Tanzania. She saw how Tanzanian women faced the same economic and social challenges that refugee women did and decided to create an organisation that would bring the Burundian and Tanzanian women together through the shared goal of economic empowerment.
By Natalia Báez