At KAZI, we’re focused on creating unique, beautiful products from talented artisans in remote regions that haven’t had access to the global market. This isn't just a vague business practice. This means creating employment for 3,600 artisans from Rwanda, Uganda, and Ghana and paying them a livable wage.
This changes people’s lives because a family’s income is permanently improved. While education and traditional aid can help, we’ve heard directly from artisans, “what we really need are jobs”. By connecting artisans in developing countries to the global market, we’re equipping and empowering women and men to be agents of change for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Our artisans are incredibly talented and create beautiful home decor products. When you purchase a woven bowl or floor vase, you’re making a responsible investment to change their lives for the better.
Years ago, KAZI started as a non-profit that sponsored kids to go to school. Our heart and mission was to provide relief and opportunity for those in need in underserved communities around the globe. However, what we saw was that sponsorships can only help so much; it can also create an unintended consequence. When a family doesn’t have help from their children who were helping farm and produce food for the family prior to being in school, families struggle more.
When we realised this and heard “we want jobs ourselves” we started to look at how to create local jobs (like chicken and egg farms), but eventually landed on the artisan impact model based on the high wages that could be returned. We started by sitting with these women, asking how much time goes into a basket and how much they need for materials. Next we did a survey of the market to better understand the cost of food, housing, livestock, and healthcare, determining a targeted daily wage. We discussed these numbers with the artisans and they were all in agreement on the wage being fair. This new wage meant that we were paying 600% more than the price they could get locally for their baskets.
Since then we have continued with the same model, bringing weavers to the table to inform us of the time and materials that it takes and discussing together what a fair wage looks like. We are ensuring that it’s a life-changing number that impacts their family, which averages around 6 people. Often we hear of a “percentage of proceeds” being given, or people may ask “what part of the profits are paid to the artisans”? To be honest, on KAZI’s end there is little profit, if any. We strive to be a break-even business that pours our earnings and revenue into the local communities by providing more training, education and helping them expand their markets.
The artisans are paid up front for their work. When they deliver to our centers, the purchase is recorded and reviewed the following day, and they are paid the day after that. We pay up front and on time for the products, regardless of customer cancellations or defects.
At KAZI, we sell beautiful home decor products that stand on their own as works of art. We’ve been able to create employment for 3,600 artisans, impacting more than 19,000 family members and 100,000 community members across Rwanda, Uganda, and Ghana. We're proud not only of the products we sell, but the artisans who make them.
With every dollar you spend, you’re casting a vote on how you want the world to be, so seek out responsible companies that are committed to social change and want to positively impact the world.
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