Crafts

Training the trainers Jamaica Style

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With a mission to train 250 craft traders in Montego Bay we felt our best approach would be to train local trainers to undertake the delivery. In doing so the expertise would stay in Jamaica with the potential to allow replication in other resorts.

Travel Foundation’s work on this programme is extremely awesome. I think it’s a great opportunity for the craft traders to be involved in something that will help them to be much more aware. I think it will broaden their horizons, and they will be able to use the skills that they gain in their day to day work. I don’t think there’s anything that tops this programme right now based on what I’ve seen and experienced so far. I think the craft traders who apply what they learn here will do extremely well in their business. So hats off to a great programme Travel Foundation.

– Cavelle Gordon

An hour into the training we knew our strategy was the right one. Let’s just say Jamaicans’ do not have the same ‘reserve’ as us British! Their delivery is loud and powerful with an energy as strong as the imminent Hurricane Mathew about to hit the island. They train like preachers in a gospel church with joy echoed by the participants in the room. And of course this can be the only way to do it with a target audience of Mo Bay craft traders, used to communicating in the local patois with their characteristic brassy banter.img_1431

This was fun training at its best with our formidable team of six – Cavelle, Cheryl, Marlene, Maxine, Natalie and Shelley. They revealed how filling a jar with coins could reinforce the learnings and lowering a bamboo stick with the whole group can demonstrate the importance of team work.

With modules including knowing the customer, business skills and working as a team, the trainers are set to deliver the programme to the craft traders over the next six weeks – barring any hurricanes!

I honestly believe that this is a great programme and will definitely impact positively the craft traders to maximise their profits because all the information we’re giving to them is actually practical information that they can build on and improve themselves. By improving themselves they will also improve earnings for their family members. For me it was amazing, a really great experience. It has taught me so much more and I’ve been a trainer for 9 years and I thought I knew something about training but this training for craft traders has taught me so much more. I will take this information and skills I learnt here to better and perfect my craft. For learning to happen and to be effective you need to have trainers that engage you and that push you to make a change. And this is what happened in this training. I am extremely grateful for being here and for being given the opportunity to be a part of this training programme.

– Natalie Ellis

The last 3 days have been amazing; I have personally enjoyed the programme, drank it in. If you, yourself buy into it, then delivering it then becomes a little easier and I will say that I will put my best foot forward to do my part in the whole basis of what you [Travel Foundation] are trying to achieve.

– Cheryl Kelly

Our aims for the training are to enable the market traders to earn a living from tourism by increasing their income from sales and improving the experience for tourists.

Written by Julie Middleton, Head of Sustainable Practice Julie Middleton

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The future is bright for Cape Verde

Tom ArmittTom Armitt recently joined the Travel Foundation as a new Destination Programme Officer. 

Half way through my second month at The Travel Foundation, and I am starting to get my head around the responsibilities that I have been assigned.

I was first put in charge of the Cape Verde programme: an interesting destination for me as I started my tourism career in West Africa researching the possibilities for the development of community-based Ecotourism in Senegal, and working closely with local communities to design and manage heritage trail tourism experiences in Sierra Leone.

Cape Verde has a lot of potential for the implementation of Sustainable Tourism principles within its fast-growing tourism industry. While big-complex, all-inclusive tourism is holding sway, the 10 island archipelago seems to have learned from other nations’ mistakes and has set its sights on sustainability. It has recently been in the news for increasing its renewable energy output by 300%.

On Sal, the island where The Travel Foundation works, a Destination Council has been created, bringing tourism stakeholders together from the public, private and third sectors to ensure that sustainability principles are made part and parcel of the island’s tourism development strategy. Slowly but surely this initiative is taking root, and the council has built on some of the Travel Foundation’s past work with the Cape Verdean Crafts, Discover the Real Sal and Better Beaches programmes.

In my opinion, the future is bright for Cape Verde, the future is sustainable tourism!

– Tom Armitt

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Crafting a sustainable future in Sal

debora-abu-rayaToday’s blog is a guest article from Débora Abu-Raya, who is based in Sal, Cape Verde. Débora joined the TF team in July 2013 and has since been working to build our programme of work on the Island of Sal. Today, Débora updates us with the latest from the Cape Verdean Craft project. The project aims to increase the awareness, provision and competitive nature of the Cape Verdean craft offering in Sal, increasing sales to tourists to improve the livelihoods of artisans and help create a more unique tourism product. More on the project here.


As a Cape Verdean, I want to see tourists shopping for locally made crafts, and taking something home that is unique to the islands. Aside from the romantic notion that a little bit of Cape Verde will be spread around the world, it’s vital that local businesses are able to benefit from tourism, and that as a destination we’re providing a unique, quality experience, in order to protect our future in tourism.

Craft producer SalCape Verdean craft producers and vendors haven’t had it easy since the growth of tourism on Sal. Initial research showed that imports, lack of knowledge, lack of diversity of products and poor access to market have all contributed to a difficult market place. On top of that, there was very little communication between producers, vendors, regulatory bodies and the ministries. We were left asking questions such as…who could help? How could we help to protect the future of Cape Verdean craftspeople in Sal?

With backing from the Destination Council (you can read more on that here), we pulled together a strong group of influencers from both public and private sectors that would help us address some of the issues, and more importantly, co-ordinate efforts and take ownership in the long term.

A year on, I was so pleased to organise a workshop for local craftspeople, being run by two designers from M_EIA (University Institute of Art, Technology and Culture in Cape Verde). It focussed on meeting customer demand and customer service. Leão Lopes led the 5 day workshop, and recognised that due to the lack of formal training, traditional craftspeople in Cape Verde were getting lost in the market. We collaborated to design the training course to address issues found in the initial research.

Andrea Monteiro from LAlambicIt’s rewarding to see a year’s worth of research, planning and future-proofing reaching the local craftspeople. On the day, I spoke to craft producer Andrea Monteiro who said “This training helped me to have a more critical look into my work and to be aware to the need of constant innovation. We had an excellent trainer, who obviously knows very well the craft and design areas/sectors in Cape Verde, and that lead me to know more about what’s happening in other islands with craft and to get more info about designers that I can work with.”

The project is due to finish in December, and I don’t want to jump the gun, but I think we’re almost at the point where we can answer my earlier questions…

Who could help? Input is needed from many parties, and to list all those involved would be too long (you can read that here!) but to make this project work we needed, and got, buy in from all sectors – public, private and NGO.
How could we help protect the future of craft in Sal? Our approach was to first understand the issues, then bring together the people who influence those. Of course, upskilling the producers and vendors was important, but without a supporting network, it wouldn’t have a lasting effect.

All One, All One… a day in the life of my Maasai office

Kenyan jewellery makers
I am sitting under a large acacia tree overlooking the Maasai Mara listening to the sound of cow bells as a group of young Maasai boys pass by with their grazing herds. Overhead a flock of Crested Cranes fly by making their harmonious “All One, All One” call of unity.

In all directions as far as the eye can see, the black dots of wildebeest are interspersed with the red robes of Kenya’s Maasai people, drifting across the plains to take part in today’s meeting under the tree.

I am here to kick-start a new Maasai women’s livelihood initiative in partnership with the Travel Foundation and the local Kenyan fair trade crafts intermediary BawaHope.

About 100 Maasai women settle down under the shade of the acacia tree and we begin today’s workshop on new product design. I am amazed when the colour wheel the women excitedly paste together from torn out magazine snippets matches exactly the colours forecast to adorn supermodels on the catwalks of London, Paris and Rome next year!

When I ask why they only use bright primary coloured beads to make the jewellery they sell to tourists, the women reply in unison “Because they are our colours – we have always used them”. They would also love to design jewellery in new colours if they could only get the beads.

Kenyan jewelery makingThrough our new “Guaranteed Maasai Crafts Project” we are working hand-in-hand with Maasai women in the Mara Triangle and Suswa, jewellery producers in Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenyan designers and the eminent UK beadwork jewellery designer Marilyn Phipps, to design an inspiring new range of contemporary Maasai jewellery that will be wearable and attractive to the UK tourist market, along with the affluent Kenyan domestic market.

We will bypass exploitative brokers by using wholesalers who respect fair trade principles to get the new product range stocked in the gift shops of safari lodges, hotels and retail outlets in Mombasa and Nairobi, giving the Maasai access to new ‘fair trade’ markets and, importantly, a lifeline out of poverty.

As the day draws to a close and we make our way on foot across the African savannah back to the Maasai villages, the boys with their herds of grazing cattle catch us up and cheekily enquire “When are you coming to work with us Maasai men again – we too can make jewellery!”.

Guest Blog by Dr Cheryl Mvula, Director of the social enterprise Tribal Voice Communications 

Find out more about our Guaranteed Maasai Craft Project

Getting a share of the tourist dollar

IMG_2656In 2014 we carried out research into the supply and customer demand of Cape Verdean crafts in Sal, and ran a 5 day workshop for 15 craft producers and 11 vendors with the help of craft experts Unearthed.

But what difference did our training make? Would changes to product design and pricing help the artisans to make more sales to tourists? We found out in June, at a small craft market at the Oasis Atlantico Salinas Sea Hotel.

In preparation for the event, five artisans received some extra coaching on what selection of products to bring to the fair, how to approach customers, and how to present their stalls, for example, by decorating them with traditional fabrics and palms.

Andreia Monteiro from L’Alambic, who produces a wide range of the local liquor grogue, developed recycled packaging as a result of the training. She was delighted with their sales on the day, saying:

“It was such a good day for us and since the market we’ve had a number of customers coming into our shop who said they’d seen us at the market – I wish we could do more of these hotel craft markets!”

Sotero Lopes who creates white turtle, flower and heart necklace pendants from shells has changed the thread he uses from white to black to show off the pendants more and sold almost double what we would usually expect to sell at a day at the craft market.

Djumanga, who carves large wooden statues from driftwood that appear in a few local hotel lobbies has started producing carvings in smaller sizes that tourists can pack in their suitcases. At the fair he made twice what he used to make at the beach.

In July, five more craft producers who attended the training will appear at the hotel craft market, and the General Manager has said she’d like to make it a weekly event for her European guests.

Follow up training, and technical design support for the craft producers is being planned for 2015.IMG_2660

Music, food and craft in Fethiye

kaya3Our Taste of Fethiye project brings hotels and producers together to ensure tourists can enjoy fresh local food while benefiting the region’s agricultural industry. In May the project saw its largest celebration to date, with the popular biannual craft fair turning into a music festival, bringing culture and gastronomy together.

“Taste of Fethiye craft fair has become one of the most looked for attractions in Kaya Village both by the locals and visitors,”

Says Semsi Topak, from our overseas team.

“We’ve cooperated with Fethiye Promotion and Introduction Foundation (FETAV) to organize the craft fair as an event that would be also a part of 8th Fethiye Festival. Musicians including Los Vegabundos, Scott Jeffers and Ahmet Erarslan cleared the rust in the audience’s ears.”

“This year Fethiye Mayor Behcet Saatci visited the craft fair with his deputy Mete Atay. They were very happy with the ongoing overall success of the Taste of Fethiye project and called for a meeting to talk about the future and sustainability of the project in more detail.”

His colleague Vicky Erdogan added:

“The weather was stunning, blue skies and warm but not too hot and the stallholders enjoyed the day and made good sales. We had the most stalls booked to date… 100 tables selling a range of handmade items from wood carvings, felt hats, jewelry, painted pebbles, ceramics to local food such as stuffed vine leaves and pastries.

Many stall holders asked ‘why can’t we do this every month?’.

Working in partnership with the Fethiye Festival was a good opportunity for the craft fair and I also believe added an extra dimension to the festival too… hopefully this partnership can continue each May.”

A pinch of Sal: a year of projects in Cape Verde

Volunteers Cape Verde

Volunteers in Cape Verde

Our three projects in Cape Verde – Better Beaches, Discover the Real Sal and Cape Verdean Craft – all launched in January 2014, with the aim of supporting the island of Sal to become a leader in sustainable tourism.

I visited Sal for the first time in May and was struck by its stark beauty and semi-lunar landscapes, and the carefree attitude of its residents. Life seems to dance around finding the perfect wave, followed by happy hour at a Santa Maria bar. Many visitors to Sal don’t have a chance to experience this side of Cape Verdean culture and I left hoping we might be able to change that.

Two particular achievements from 2014 really stand out for me. Firstly, creating the Travel Foundation’s first National Volunteering Programme, recruiting and training 12 volunteers who, from October to December, spent over 500 hours conducting surveys with residents and visitors and collecting data against Greener Beach criteria on eight beaches. The volunteers gained work experience, an insight into the tourism industry in Sal, and the chance to interact with people from different cultures.

Cape Verde craft training

Secondly, I’m particularly proud of the five day workshop we held with 15 craft producers and 11 vendors, covering topics such as costing and pricing, the green market and product design. Craft consultants Unearthed facilitated the training based on their decades of experience supporting producers in Africa, and I was lucky enough to be in Sal at the same time.

Handing out training certificates to the producers at the end of the week was a particularly emotional moment, and I know the training will have a real impact on how they make and sell products.

Now the pressure is on to keep up the momentum for 2015 and support the craft producers in product design and development, and help them get their wares into hotel shops.

 

– Isabel Kearney, Destinations Programme OfficerIsabel

Read more about our Cape Verde programme here >