Uganda Crafts set up a craft shop in Kampala under the same name to sell products that the artisans made. Betty with her experience became the natural choice for general manager. It was run as a non profit for three years from Teachers House where UNICEF was located. The business flourished and grew with volunteers, UNICEF workers and tourists purchasing handicrafts. It was the first shop of its kind in the country and soon gained a strong reputation for quality and variety.
Uganda Crafts began to export in 1988. International organisations from Canada, Denmark and England began ordering and importing small quantities. In 1999 Ten Thousand Villages US, a prominent Fair Trade retailer began purchasing baskets which they have continued doing up until today. When exporting began, an increased emphasis was placed on buying high quality products from artisans but also in adopting fair trade principles for the business itself and for their protection.
The board of directors felt it was time to privatize in 2000. Central to their decision was the idea that they could use a business model to sustain and empower themselves as opposed to relying on dononations that had been subsidising their costs. Despite privitization Uganda Crafts 2000 Ltd still operates with the same outlook and mission as when it was an NGO supporting women, single mothers, widows and people with disabilities through income generation. From time to time donations and gifts are still received and these are used directly in income generation and training projects. Betty Kinene remained Managing Director.
By 2004 the export of crafts was the main source of income for the business and the retail side went into decline with only small numbers of customers purchasing from the shop at Teachers House. In 2005, 2006, and 2007 Uganda Crafts 2000 welcomed a number of volunteers from aboard that injected new life into the retail business sprucing up the shop display, shop branding, advertising and working on product design and marketing. They helped to remind Uganda Crafts 2000 that it is important to have a share in the local market sales in order to support the artisans especially when some work can not meet the export standards due to wrong colour or size.
|In 2007 Uganda Crafts 2000 became a member of the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT) which recognised Uganda Crafts 2000 as a Fair Trade Organization. The Fair Trade model merges the ethos that the business had when it was an NGO with the empowerment model of trade and business. The export orders have changed the demographics of the artisans that work for us substaintially over time. With increased foreign demand for baskets we employ more underprivileged women such as single mothers and those with minimal education than we do those with a physical disability. We are committed, however, to find new craft markets so as to continue to support other artisans and their crafts. We continue to grow, proud of our international business as we look forward to the future.
Our mission and goals are as follows:
- To create and sustain jobs, especially for the marginalised and disadvantaged, people with disabilities, widows, orphans, and people living with HIV.
- To improve the living standards of the artisans, who we work with, through Fair Trade craft production guided by Fair Trade principles.
- To mobilize rural and urban women into handicraft production groups according to the nature of their productivity.
- To train groups in the basics of handicrafts production and quality management.
To meet the needs and to fullfill the requests and orders of our individual and corporate customers.
- To improve the quality of Ugandan handicrafts by encouraging uniform standards, creativity and ingenuity in designs, colors, patterns and materials.
- To preserve traditional African cultures by marketing and promoting various handicrafts locally and internationally.
- To support environmental sustainability and increase the economic viability of village living by encouraging in-home production using local materials.
Uganda Crafts is located at DLCO-EA House, plot 32-36 Bombo Road, Kampala, Uganda, between Teacher’s House and Bible House. We are located in the basement shop on the west side of the building.
The DLCO-EA building is directly between Teacher’s House and Bible House on Bombo Road. From City Square, head towards Wandegeya and look for the Uganda Crafts sign at street level. If you reach City Oil, you’ve gone too far.
For a postal address please click on Contact US. Please note only packages traveling via a courier service should be addressed to our physical location.
7 DAYS A WEEK 365 days a year
Monday 9am – 6pm
Tuesday 9am – 6pm
Wednesday 9am – 6pm
Thursday 9am – 6pm
Friday 9am – 6pm
Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 10am – 4pm
During the low season the shop reserves the right to close at 2pm on weekends. Please ring us in advance if you wish to come afterhours on a weekday or after 2pm on a Sunday to ensure a staff member will be there.
Open: Public and religious Holidays: 9am – 3pm (Ring in advance to avoid disappointment).