The Kenyan Crafts Project
As CCF-Kenya research has explored a variety of regions of Kenya we have met many talented people. While tourism is still ranked 4th in income generation in Kenya, a recent decrease in tourism has required people who once relied solely on tourism to seek additional sources of income. It has been difficult to find good quality merchandise with cheetahs as the object or theme, but with encouragement from CCF staff and volunteers we have identified several vendors who are now making items we consider reflect their abilities as craftsmen/women and the theme of the cheetah.
The idea of marketing Kenyan crafts through CCF is in the early stages of development. There are many other talented craftsmen/women who have not yet been approached. To date the products have been sold on a small scale through talks given in Kenya and USA by CCF staff, and through supportive institutions via Washington State (USA) CCF Chapter Head Susanne Garrison. Orders are filled as they come in, thus can take 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the size of the order and the items. Shipping costs will depend on the amount and weight of the items ordered and will be the responsibility of the purchasing person/organization. With each order a 10% processing fee is added to the purchase cost to cover processing costs and to support Kenya research. Additional donations can be made at the time of purchase or directly to CCF in the US or UK or directly to CCF Namibia as a result of sales.
Vendors offer their merchandise for sale at wholesale prices for the purpose of fundraising and awareness of cheetah conservation:
Kaki Creations: Moses and Ester Kareme operate a small woodcraft operation in the suburbs of Nairobi. They use only soft wood (mainly Jacaranda and olive) because it is a renewable resource and purchase most of the wood from furniture remnants. The products available are simple and inexpensive. Animal figures range from carnivores to elephants with careful attention to detail. Each piece is cut using a die, and hand painted. No two pieces are identical. These products are offered in a variety of shops in Kenya and are not exclusive for CCF.
Out of Kenya: —is a "for-profit" organization supplying work for Masai women creating original crafts for export sale. The company works with street children of Nairobi as the humanitarian side of their program. These products are mainly for export and are not exclusive for CCF. Additional items are made and can be viewed at the Out of Kenya web page.
Masai Market: —is a vendors' display that moves from location to location in Nairobi. Many of the vendors use community women's groups to make their crafts and display the items in different locations throughout the week. The people who set up space in the Masai Market are sales and craftsmen/women. If you want hassle-free shopping this is not the place to go. If you want a variety of items from all over Kenya it is perfect. There are several vendors from whom CCF orders beaded merchandise. These crafts are available in the Masai Market to any visitor, but specific colors and patterns have been identified as "cheetah" styles.
Nyali Crafts: From a small side street off the beaten path in Nyali, a suburb of Mombasa, several shops offer a variety of crafts including paintings, beaded sandals, belts and wood and soapstone carvings. The sandals and belts can be custom-ordered in any color or style. The vendors on the street corner work together and often the shop owner is also the craftsperson. Most patterns and colors are not exclusive for CCF; however, any custom designs can be requested as exclusive at any time.
Murai Carpets: Many members of the Kekopey Group Ranch seek alternative sources of income to suppliment their subsistence farming. William Murai is a Kikuyu who has lived all of his life along the Lake Elementaita shores. William and his family spin their wool, use natural dies and make original cheetah designs as well as the more common elephant, rhino and patterned designs.
Arthur Ogada: Arthur works in Nairobi, but has a keen interest in art and etched glass. His brother is a researcher specializing in human/carnivore conflict resolution. Arthur works out of his house as he is trying to build the etched glass business. The cheetah designs are original for CCF, other animals can be requested.
Masai Blankets: These blankets range from traditional to modern colors. They come in wool or cotton. CCF purchases the blankets from vendors along the highways between Nairobi and Nakuru or Nairobi and Masai Mara at near manufacturer cost. By purchasing from these vendors we know that profits are going directly to the people who live in these rural areas. It also gives us an opportunity to interact with these people who live in rural areas where cheetahs share their land.
Salama Bags: The Akamba women are known for weaving baskets with a combination of sisal and cotton threads. People in the Salama area, 100 km southeast of Nairobi see cheetahs on a regular basis and occasionally lose their livestock to cheetahs and other predators. While the baskets are common, the animal designs (particularly the cheetah) have been placed on the baskets especially for CCF. The baskets can be finished at the top without the addition of a handle, or made into tote bags by adding leather zips, buttons and/or straps. The leatherwork is done by an organization of blind and handicapped workers in a nearby village, Machakos. Orders can be placed for particular colors or patterns.
For more information or to place an order please contact: Mary Wykstra Cheetah Conservation Fund - Kenya Representative PO Box 1611 Sarit Center Nairobi, Kenya, Africa Tel: +254-(0)733997910 Email ACK