San in Nyae Nyae Conservancy increasing annual jewellery sales


Staff Reporter

Nyae Nyae Conservancy-What started out as a micro-project 30 years ago, has evolved into a viable way of generating income for the community at Nyae Nyae.

The truly artisanal craftmakers of the Nyae Nyae Conservancy produce traditional jewellery using ostrich eggshells. This jewelry is of such an exceptional quality that it is now being exported and sold in Europe.

In 2016 the predominantly female jewelry makers sold more pieces than ever before, generating vital cash for the community. The women making the jewelry and increasing their cash flow are now able to buy essential products and good that would otherwise be out of reach for them and their communities.

This proves that small-scale projects in communities can and do have a real impact and positively contribute to community life.

The craft project has been running for 30 years. The secret to its success is that it relies on traditional craft skills, while updating designs and adding a modern twist. These objects have been made in the same manner for generations and worn by the communities for centuries are now being embraced by Namibians from all walks of life as well as those from further afield.

With the full support and backing of NGOs, such as Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia (NNDFN) and the Omba Arts Trust, these craftspeople are able to go from strength to strength. The NGOs provide the vital link for the community to the buyers, regionally, nationally and especially internationally.

The craft community is hoping to increase sales further this year to achieve half a million dollars in sales in 2017. This will ensure the viability and longevity of the programme, as well as keep the craftermakers motivated to continue with their work.

“It isn’t only about generating cash, but spreading reputation and the beauty of their pieces further afield and creating new markets as more tourists come in contact with these unique ostrich shell pieces, [but is also] helping to empower communities to be able to take care of themselves and not depend on handouts,” said Lara Diez of the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia.


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