Weaving Kiondo baskets is a traditional Kenyan handicraft. The women who weave baskets for Mifuko work in the so-called self-help groups that come together to weave and provide social and financial support. The main livelihood for most of our basket weavers is farming, where they produce food for their own needs as well as for sale. Women weave the baskets the most during the dry seasons when there is more time to make handicrafts. Making baskets doesn't require any investments from them - skilled hands are enough and Mifuko takes care of materials and logistics.
Mifuko has expanded its operations to other countries as well. Products are made using local traditional weaving techniques, e.g. milulu grass baskets of the Iringa region of Tanzania and elephant grass baskets of the Bolgatonga region of Ghana.
Mifuko helps artisans invest in their workshops, find employment and develop their skills, and also facilitates the transfer of traditional craftsmanship to younger artisans. We have a very open communication with our artisans and we meet the self-help group leaders regularly. These meetings include planning methods for capacity building and business improvements, discussing craft and quality, health issues, sustainability and so forth.
We follow an inclusive business model that makes creating positive change in low-income communities a fundamental strategy for success. The starting point is establishing a fair payment in exchange for the products we get from artisans. We use Living Wage Ladder tool provided by the WFTO to help determine payments, but ultimately, the amount is agreed with the chairladies of the self-help groups.
All materials we use are locally-sourced from local producers where the origin of the material can be tracked. We use mainly sisal, palm tree leaves, jacaranda wood, and vegetable tanned leather in our collections. Take our ornaments for example; they are made out of fallen jacaranda tree branches so we never cut trees to make them.
We are especially proud of upcycling food-grade plastic in our Kiondo basket and bag collection. Using recycled plastic with sisal creates a durable, slightly water-resistant material and an interesting surface on the baskets.
We continuously look for new materials that create beautiful, long-lasting, high-quality products. Read more about the materials we use on our Materials-page.
Our aim is to become a place for consumers to find guaranteed fair trade products for their homes and themselves. We don't aim to become a mass producer and we don't believe in the fast phased seasonality and trends. Our products are designed to last for a long time, even tens of years. The products in the Kiondo, Iringa and Bolga collections are made using traditional weaving techniques, which makes the products very durable. We also test all the materials we use to make sure they meet our quality requirements. We work relentlessly with our artisans and partners to ensure everyone understands and agrees to our quality standards and ensure our products stay clean while in storage and during transportation.
Our products are suitable for many different uses both indoors and outdoors: the bag can act as a basket and the small handle basket as a bag, the basket can be used as a flower pot protection or storage basket, and all the bags and baskets with handles are good shopping bags. Only your imagination is the limit.
To fight climate change and to decrease the carbon footprint of shipping, Mifuko Trust, our non-profit charity organization, plants trees in Kenya with some of our donations. Our aim is to have zero emissions for our transportation within a few years by planting lots of trees in Kenya. And planting trees is only one activity we do with Mifuko Trust. You can support Mifuko Trust's work by buy ethical gifts or making donations.
To ensure a long life for your products, please read the product care instructions. We created a separate page for baskets, where you can find more information about how to store, shape, and clean our baskets.
Read more about our Fair Trade practices and Mifuko
In our blog, we tell you more about our work in Kenya, greetings from the artisans, and fair trade.
Learn more about the ten Fair Trade principles that each WFTO member organisation must follow.