Ethical hats in Zambian style for Finnish winter season

GLM Finland and GLM Zambia have started a new project pilot in Chibobo village in Central Zambia. The purpose of the project is to engage one of the farmer clubs, Chibobo Women, to crochet beanies and barets with Zambian patterns using Finnish wool. The hats will be sold in Finland and the label of the product will include a photo of its maker.

While GLM has a long history of working with Chibobo, this pilot project offers a completely new way of providing additional income to the community members. The product development has been carried out together with Chibobo Women, and it was decided that barets and basic beanies would be made. These hats were chosen, because in Finland the cold season is very long and people need to keep warm, and these hats with local Zambian patterns also look very unique. In addition to producing nice hats, GLM is providing additional work opportunities for the women – which is, after all, the most important thing.

Green Living Movement

Green Living Movement employing Chibobo women to make crocheted hats

Impacts of the Farmers’ Market project enhanced during the last project year

The three-year Farmers’ Market project that GLM has been implementing in Serenje district has reached its final year. The project has improved the marketing and negotiation skills of local farmers in GLM’s partner villages. Donkeys have also been purchased for the villages to help the farmers transport their produce to more profitable markets.

In 2013, the representatives of the local marketing committees made an educational visit to the annual Agricultural and Commercial Show organised in the capital Lusaka. The show is the most important annual event for the agricultural business in Zambia. A video documentary was filmed during the visit in order to document what the farmers have learned during the project. The video will be later shared with other non-governmental organisations and farmers in Zambia to spread the knowledge and experience gained during the project.

At the end of 2013, two project coordinators from GLM Finland visited Zambia to monitor the project’s successes and challenges. The marketing committees formed by local farmers in the partner villages seem to operate well and the committee members are motivated. The farmers have participated in various kinds of training hat has improved their marketing skills. They have learned, for example, about the importance of value addition to ensure that they get better price for their produce. The purchased donkeys are healthy and have adapted well to their new homes. The donkeys have also been used to transport goods, but so far only for short distances. The challenges that the farmers are still facing include insufficient bookkeeping skills as well as lack of mobile network which makes it difficult to contact GLM Zambia’s project coordinator and potential buyers.

During the last year of project implementation, GLM is organising training on bookkeeping for the marketing committees. The committees will also create new business plans for the future, and they are encouraged to diversify the ways the donkeys are used. An application was submitted for a two-year extension of the project in order to strengthen the already learned skills.