Meet the makers


Name: Zivansh
Location: Zanzibar

Zivansh.  Avant Garde

Where Modernism meets Africanism. 

Zivansh is a holistic design firm, inspired by the shades of  blues of Zanzibar's oceans, the bright whites of stone town and  the cool turquoise of the sandy beaches.

Zivansh has melted the energy and excitement of African culture prints with the modern pulse of the world. Each item magically blends east and west- from bright kitenge prints to scents and spices and Tanzania's famous Kikapu wicker baskets - all with a modern twist.  Each time one enters the store, Zivansh's loyal customers find new prints and patterns on her handbags, shirts, homeware, water bottles, phone cases, to name a few.

The company's co-founders, an architect and a graphic designer, both with impressive natural talents, have come together to create this mystical design firm and for them, the sky is the limit.  Both gained their degrees and have worked abroad, but both born and brought up in Tanzania, they were eager to move home, and have been dedicated to working with local artisans for all their projects.   

With expertise in interior design, The Zivansh team has most recently commissioned for the interior decor for the  Aga Khan Hospitals Phase 2 building, which launched in March 2019. They have has also designed Cafe Turquoise in Stone Town and Bean There Cafe in Dar es salaam.  



Name: Neema Crafts
Location: Iringa

The Centre was founded in 2003 by the Diocese of Ruaha, to provide training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the Iringa region of Tanzania. It also aims to change negative attitudes towards people with disabilities in the local society. There’s a great stigma attached to having a disability in Tanzania, and the centre provides dignity and hope for many people who previously relied on street begging or were hidden away at home. The centre has eight craft workshop areas, a therapy unit for disabled children, an award winning cafe, a conference centre entirely staffed by deaf people and a welcoming guesthouse jointly run by the local Mother’s Union.

Name: WOW
Number of members:
Speciality; hand weaving

World of Weaving “WOW” is a social enterprise based in Tanzania. Our mission is to improve the economic, social and cultural well being of women weavers by giving them training in contemporary home textile designs and connecting their products to the global market place.


Name: Woman Craft
Number of members: 300 Women
Location: Ngara Kagera Region, Tanzania
Speciality; handmade basket weaving with grasses, banana stalk and kitenge

Women craft wants to increase economic opportunity in the post- con ict, tri-border area
of Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania by bringing rural women together, facilitating their growth and connecting their artistry to the global marketplace. Through WomenCraft, over 300 artisans advance themselves, raise stronger families, stimulate their communities and inspire the world around them.

WomenCraft supplies more than 30 retail outlets within East Africa with hand-crafted products and has successfully exported to the United States, UK, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, and Japan.

Name: Wasemao (“How the people are talking”)
Number of members: 11 Women
Location: Kiwengwa
Speciality; Honey

Wasemao was formed in 1998 as an income generating self-help group. Wasemao preserves the Kiwengwa forest, protects the environment and produces honey to sell to the local market and hotels in Ungaja. The honey is harvest twice a year from traditional hives, and four times a year from modern hives.Wasemao serves as a good example of small-scale entrepreneurship and environmental protection in Zanzibar. ACRA and Asilia have provided trainings on modern beekeeping, harvesting techniques and marketing, which have increased the production.

Name: Tusifemoyo ('Keep Going')
Number of members: 25 Women
Location: Nungwi
Speciality; Herbal Soap

Tusifemoyo was formed in 2001 as a self-help group. It serves as a good example of small-scale entrepreneurship in Zanzibar.
Tusifemoyo sells soap to shops and hotels in northern Unguja.
The soap is made by hand and all the ingredients are sourced locally. Income generated by the cooperative has supported the women to own a spice garden and a workshop. ACRA and Asilia have supported Tusifemoyo with technical and marketing training.

Name: Kuwa Uyaone  (“So that we can be seen”)
Number of members: 5 men
Location: Jambiani Village
Speciality; Handcarved wooden items

Hafidh was trained at school to be a carpenter; in 2007 he started his own carpentry workshop based in Jambiani Village. Currently, he has 5 carpenters working in his workshop. Kuwa Uyaone produces beautiful handcrafted furniture, salt and pepper sets, traditional Zanzibar chests, and traditional Zanzibar plaques.
ACRA and Asilia have supported Kuwa Uyaone with technical training.

Name: Malkia ('Queen')
Number of members: 10 Women
Location: Bwejuu Village
Speciality; Clothing, table wear & bags made from African & recycled fabrics

Malkia was founded in 2003 by Iben Djuraas. Malkia designs unique clothing by integrating Tanzanian lifestyle patterns and textiles with the European fit. The Malkia tailors are all women trained to meet the trends and quality of the western world. A Malkia item is cut by hand and uniquely designed. Each member is given a fair wage, health insurance, paid maternity leave and help to support their local school. ACRA and Asilia have supported Malkia with machinery grants and training.

Name: Siri Moyoni  (“Secret of your heart”)
Number of members: 20 Women
Location: Jambiani Village
Speciality; Ukili ( Palm leaf) home accessories )

Originally, the Siri Moyoni women’s group produced coconut jewelry, but it turned out to be too labor intensive for the older members. With the support from ACRA and Asilia, Siri Moyoni now produces woven Ukili; a fascinating handicraft that’s uniquely confined to the East Coast of Africa and goes back generations.
Ukindu (local palm leaf) is dried, dyed and plaited (or woven) to form strips (known as Ukili) in various colors and traditional patterns. Siri Moyoni produces a range of Ukili bags, purses and mats.

Name: Subira Ina Malipo ('passion has returned')
Number of members: 40 Women
Location: Nungwi Village
Speciality; Ukili ( Palm Leaf) bags, purses and mats)

Since childhood the women have learned how to plait Ukili. Four groups of women based in Nungwi village collect the palm leafs, dye them in various colors and traditionally weave them by hand. Subira Ina Malipo produces a range of Ukili bags, purses and mats.
ACRA and Asilia have supported the women with training in producing modern Ukili products accepted by the tourist market. The profits from sales help the women educate their children and support their family, with the result that they no longer depend heavily on fishing and farming.

Name: Sasik
Number of members: 12
Location: Stone Town
Speciality; Hand-applique home accessories

Sasik began in 1994, when Saada Adbulla Suleiman taught herself to do appliqué work and encouraged her friends and family to join her. A grant from the Tanzania Gatsby trust helped to set up the workshop where 12 women learned Saada’s technique and began creating the SASIK look. The name Sasik is an acronym for Saada Abdullah Suleiman Industry Karibuni (Karibuni is the fashionable greeting of welcome in Swahili). Sasik specializes in elaborate furnishing covers and wall hangings based on Arabic design.

Name:  Upendo Means Love
Number of members: 18 employed and 88 students
Location: Stone Town / Shangani
Specialities; Children Clothing made from African fabrics & Scandinavian designs                                                                                                      

Upendo was founded by  Dorothe Davidsen sent out from a Christian development organization called Danmission who are long time partners with the Luther Church in Tanzania. Dorothe and Arngeir (founder of Interfaith Centre), who worked to improve the connections between Christians and Muslims. They wanted to pursue the thing they have in common, helping youth to become independent by setting up a cooperation funded by the Danish Government. They started a sewing school in which the Muslim and Christian students study sewing for 1- 2 years, 4 hours a day, also they offer a 3 months course in embroidery. After 2 years they will know how to sew and do embroidery, and they will also have learned the basics of entrepreneurship and gained self-esteem. 

Upendo's goal is to empower woman who live in Zanzibar through sewing and life skills education, and to facilitate a meeting place between woman of different faiths, mainly Muslim and Christian. Through education of women of all ages Upendo hopes to be a place where women who live in Zanzibar gain more self reliance and hope for the future of themselves and their families.

In 2007 the children’s clothing store & workshop was opened in Stone Town, selling beautiful clothes with a mix of traditional fabrics and Scandinavian designs. All the income in the shop goes to support and develop the organization of Upendo further.  

Name: Dada & Moto (“Sister & Fire”)
Number of members: Over 100 men and woman
Location: Stone Town / Jozani Forest
Speciality; Ukili ( Palm leaf) items, handwoven scarfs, local delicacies, and herbal cosmetics

Moto was founded in 2003 by Antje Förstle, Khadija Fadhil Mohammed & Said Ali Nassor. Moto produces hand-made baskets & hand-woven items from 100% natural palm leaf and cotton. Solar cookers and energy saving stoves are used in the production process. Moto products are unique originals, crafted by skilled Zanzibari artisans. With your purchase you value an ancient Swahili tradition that was nearly lost, support Community Trade, and contribute to a sustainable local economy. Dada was founded in 2007 & sells locally produced delicacies and cosmetics.

Name: Dhow Furniture
Number of members: 25
Location: Stone Town
Speciality; Dhow wood ( from old fishing boats) recycled into furniture & home accessories

Dhow furniture was founded in 2009, when the Zanzibari hotel was being built and the two founding partners decided to create original fittings and furniture from the environment in which they found themselves. And so an experimental workshop was born, bringing together Tanzanian carpenters that started to work with reclaimed hard wood from the old dhows,  transforming it into tables, beds, doors, frames, sofas and even a complete dhow bar. The demand for these products was immediate, and after completion of the hotel, orders began coming in from other hotels and private homes.

Name: Twende na Wakati  (“Let’s go with the times”)
Number of members: 11
Location: Paj
Speciality; Ukili ( palm leaf) home accessories

This group is organized by Sainabu Hassan and exists since 2007. Working from their home, the artisans make baskets, bags, fruit covers, jewelry boxes out of palm leaves. At the moment they are only selling from one home in the village of Paje to tourists and local people. Most members of the group have side jobs because they can't make a full living of their production.

Name: Hatujali(“We don’t mind”)
Number of members: 6
Location: Paje
Specialities; Home made Jams & chutneys

The group started in september 2012. The members go to the local markets in town to buy the freshest fruits & vegetables to make great homemade products, like mixed fruit jam, tomato jam, lime chutney, mango pickles etc.  They want to go around with brochures to sell their products to the nearby hotels.

Name: Ujanja Sitaki (“We don't want to be cheated”)
Number of members: 40
Location: Paje
Speciality; Coconut rope mats

The group was founded in 2007 by government efforts. The process of making a math takes up to 7 months total. One doormat takes one week to produce and is done on a special framework sponsored by the government. The group consists of elderly woman from Paje village and they mainly sell to the local community.

Name: Seaweed Center                                                                                                                  
Number of members: 36                                                                                                                    
Location: Paje
Speciality; Cosmetics made from seaweed

The Seaweed Center opened in 2011.The Seaweed Center is a socially responsible business that provides dozens of female seaweed farmers in Paje, Zanzibar with opportunities to improve their personal standard of living and develop economic activities that benefit the entire community. The vast majority of women who are members of the Seaweed Center Society grew up within shouting distance of where they stand together today.
The Seaweed Center produces soaps, body-scrubs, moisturizing creams & body oils. It is led by local management, backed by Swedish and Danish business advisors.

Name: Martino Petro
Number of members; 1
Location; Bwejuu
Speciality; Accessories made from African fabrics & recycled materials

Martin was born on 9-9-1984 in Shinyanga province, Tanzania. He completed primary level in school. Due to financial problems he was not able to go to secondary school. In 2005 he decided to learn how to be a designer through a local tailor. He paid to study with the local tailor for 5 months and was taught how to make many different kinds of clothes. After this period he practiced mending clothes by himself as much as possible. Presently he knows how to design and make many different things, including laptop covers, caps, bags and much more.  Besides his work as a tailor, he also works as a night watchman for a steady income.  His dream is to be able to provide for his family by working as a full time designer. 

Name; Ushindi (" Overcome")
Number of members; 13
Location; Stone Town
Speciality; Fashion accessories made from African Fabrics

Ushindi is the Swahili word for OVERCOME- Their goal is to enable women of Zanzibar to overcome their challenging circumstances. Ushindi, founded in 2011, is a cooperative that teaches women to sew quality handmade products made from beautiful ' kitenge' fabrics. Currently their assortment consists of; bags, wallets, accessories, and assorted clothes. They continually develop and innovate their creative, high quality product range.

Name; Teresia
Number of members; 1
Location; Stone Town
Speciality; Jewelry made from 'trade beads'

Originating from Mainland Tanzania, Teresia came to Zanzibar looking for business opportunities in the growing tourism industry. She eventually found her niche designing jewelry using materials with a very special history specific to Zanzibar. Each year, during the rainy season, beautiful colored beads are washed up on the shores of Tumbatu Island to the north of Unguja. Collected by local women for sale. These beads, commonly  called " trade beads", were widely used form commerce by the Arabs during their four century reign over the islands. 
Trade beads come in a variety of different sizes from the years of saltwater erosion and appear to be made from an assortment of different materials including glass and stone. Teresia's beads are from the waters of Zanzibar and this offers the consumer something very special.

Name; Chako ("Yours")
Number of members: 8 women and 2 men
Location; Stone Town
Speciality; items made from handmade paper beads

CHAKO means yours in Swahili, no better word to describe the products the recycle workshop produces. The tourist industry creates a lot of opportunities for Zanzibar and its people. But at the same time it also creates waste. This waste is difficult to process on the island. Things like brochures, shampoo bottles or glass can easily given a new life. That is exactly what Chako is doing.
CHAKO works according the Tourist2Tourist aspect. Chako makes souvenirs for tourists, out of waste material that comes from the tourism industry on Zanzibar. This offers tourists a way to reduce their negative impact on the island with a positive approach; by buying original, innovative souvenirs for friends and family.

Name; Tanzania Masaai Women Art
Number of members: around 200 women
Location; Northern Tanzania
Speciality;  innovative jewelry combined with traditional Masaai beadwork techniques

Tanzania Maasai Women Art is a locally owned and managed organization that was born out of a development project initiated by the NGO Oikos in early 2006. Since 2008 Tanzania Maasai Women Art is a completely independent and self sustained not for profit company. A total of about 200 Maasai women are involved in Northern Tanzania; Narasuno cooperative and Enaboisho group.
An Italian jewellery designer, Francesca Torri Soldini, has been volunteering from the very beginning and works with students from all over the world at the IED ( European Design Institute) in Milan.
With the Maasai women they developed elegant and fashionable jewelry combining the traditional Maasai beadwork techniques and local materials. There designs are innovative and sophisticated suitable for an international market. Tanzania Maasai Women Art encourages women empower their life and improve their living condition through education and inherited skills.

Name; Africraft/ Made by Africraft
Number of members; around 120 artisans
Location; Whole of Tanzania
Speciality; A wide range of innovative products that are re-created and re-produced.

The purpose of founding AfriCraft was to provide to local craftsmen better chances to manufacture and market their products. In this view AfriCraft wants to support the domestic handicraft production, to contribute to the improvement of the quality of hand made products, to safeguard culture of the tribes in Tanzania by promoting their traditional works, to help financially craftsmen and artists in strengthening their skills and to offer materials and equipment to needy producers.

A major activity of AfriCraft is to introduce new product designs. They believe that innovation will create more work and generate more income for the producers and their families. It is the wish of AfriCraft to support the creation of a national designer centre for Tanzania.

AfriCraft is operating an own workshop and cooperates in addition also with many producer structures throughout the country. Totally they provide income to 120 artisans and their families.

A main concern of the organization is the protection of the environment. In this context the project ‘Crafts for environment’ has been started. Under the slogan ‘ re-create’ fantastic products are designed and re- produced: drinking glasses and tea lights from glass bottles, bags from waste paper, gift items from cans – just to list a few