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An elderly woman weaves a kiondo to be sold in fair trade
African Propoor Tourism News - Issue No. 004/2006
An eZine published bimonthly
African Propoor Tourism Development Centre]
August - September 2006

Title:- Fair Tourism Trade in Kenya

African Pro-poor Tourism Development Cenre (APTDC) is a Kenyan based chapter of Africa Pro-poor Tourism Foundation - USA (APTF).

The two chapters have carefully formulated two fair trade programs that are aimed and alleviating poverty in Kenya. They are as described below;

a) PROACT is a carefully formulated non-profit project, aimed at addressing the problems facing local women, namely; poverty, unemployment and gender inequality through the selling of curios made by these women. More than 50% of Kenyans' live below the poverty line (CBS), curio making is one of the best means of helping the poor societies in Kenya since it is practiced by the marginalized communities, requires little capital to kick off and the fact that the business is labour intensive and requires semi-skilled labour. Essentially, the project works with women since majority are the sole breadwinners in most rural homesteads. Most women in Kenya lack land, adequate employment in agriculture and or formal employment. Currently, the project boosts of over 50 women members who are benefiting from this small manufacturing outfit.

PROACT program uses an alternative dimension to international curio trade by promoting sustainable development for the marginalized African Curios producers in Kenya. PROACT's primary goal is thus to help the marginalized and disadvantaged Kenyan women by advancing micro-loans, promoting producers' independence and gender equality, providing decent working conditions, increasing their production capacity and helping them to sell their curios at fair prices in the Fair Trade. PROACT Program is guided by the slogan "Give the marginalized women a fish and you feed them for today, teach them to fish and you feed them forever".

We at PROACT believe that sustainable curio trade is better than aid since it equips the women with a sustainable means of earning their livelihood as opposed to waiting for funds which might not be forthcoming or may not be consistent. Currently, the project coordinates the production and the marketing of products from three workshops in Kenya: Olmakaun in Kitengela, Tshiekuru in Mwingi North Division and Katangi in Machakos. Each workshop is self-managed; salaries and working conditions are well above other production centres from the same sector. In excess of this members are trained on how to produce high quality products, how to save and reinvest their earnings, how to form social groups and how to improve their welfare. At the moment Olmakaun Workshop has 32 women members, Tshiekuru workshop has 25 women members in total while Katangi workshop boosts of 20 women.

Olmakaun project produces Maasai beads products, namely; necklaces, neck collars, bracelets, mats and watch bands. On the other hand Tshiekuru and Katangi weaves hand made African bags from wool, sisal and banana fibres.

b) Fair International Travel (FIT) seeks to provide tourists with a memorable opportunity where they are in a position of visiting the various touristic attractions in Kenya while at the same time have a chance of helping in solving some of the social problems facing Kenyans such as poverty, youth unemployment, and gender inequality.

FIT operates as a convectional tour operator in that we package various tours and safaris and price them accordingly, in excess of this since we are non profit making organization we are in a position of offering tourists with activities which are considered to be less profitable such home stays, camel rides, nature walks, cultural tours and missionary tours. Our Safaris are highly personalized safaris that enable our clients to appreciate and enjoy the natural and cultural heritage of the destination visited and at the same time contribute to the improvement of the livelihoods of the locals in the areas visited.

The carefully packaged thematic tours have different themes that range from cultural tours, ethnic safaris, agro-tours, missionary tours and homestay safaris. FIT acknowledges that tourism is a Top Priority in the fight against poverty and gender inequality. All our safaris proceeds are ploughed back to the community through community projects. FIT's mission is to ensure that tourists enjoy nature, share experiences with the local communities and contribute to their well-being, this is guide by our motto "Travel responsibly and touch the heart of a poor Person".

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