local crafts

Crafts and arts in Zanzibar
Research (2009-2010 conducted by VSO and SNV) shows that Zanzibar has a variety of crafts, which could be sold very successfully, on the (tourist/local) market. Up to now, only a few of these products have been successfully introduced into the local (tourist) market. Although the ideas of the crafts people are viable, the outcome is often a product/craft of poor quality.

There is enormous potential for local crafts men and women in Tanzania, to make a sustainable income, if they could sell their locally produced arts. The crafts persons need specific skills, knowledge and finance to assist in the development of creating quality products.  

Why promote local handicrafts in Zanzibar (and Tanzania)?
1.Local craftsmen will be able to make an income and improve their standard of living (Zanzibar is visited yearly by thousands of tourists who spend a substantial amount on souvenirs);

2.The products produced on Zanzibar and Tanzania are often very beautiful, hand-made and therefore unique;

3.Tourists appreciate locally produced products (not only because of their beauty, also because they know that through their purchase they support these artisans and projects);

4.The rich Tanzanian culture is kept alive, by promoting and stimulating the production of arts and handicrafts;

5.The majority of the souvenirs shops import their goods from outside Zanzibar and Tanzania (Indonesia, India and Vietnam). One of the reasons for this is that it is hard to find quality products suitable for the Western tourist in Zanzibar.

It happens very often that once a quality product has been developed, the artisan can’t keep up with demand and therefore risks losing customers. The overall problem is that due to low educational achievement and the absence of (business) experience, organizational skills are not developed.

Zenji Zanzibar Foundation stimulates, promotes and helps local artisans by selling and marketing their products. At the same time it initiates exchange projects between artisans so they can learn from and motivate each other.