Francis Ogonga and Mifuko have been working together since 2009. Gololi Crafts, a social enterprise founded in the same year, produces a variety of handicrafts from local eco-friendly materials, employing disadvantaged women and widows. The ceramic stars and candle holders in our collection are made by Gololi Crafts.
Gololi Crafts and Mifuko partnership offers work for disadvantaged women
Francis Ogonga and Mifuko have been working together since 2009. Gololi Crafts, a social enterprise founded in the same year, initially made jewelry, today it produces a variety of handicrafts from local eco-friendly materials, employing disadvantaged women and widows. The ceramic stars in our collection are made by Gololi Crafts, with new products being introduced in our autumn collection.
We wanted to share the experiences of Francis, the company's founder, who has been working with Mifuko for over a decade.
A smooth and reliable collaboration
Francis highly values the smooth and reliable cooperation with Mifuko. With every order confirmation, Mifuko places a 50% deposit via mobile payment, saving time and effort. “We can source materials, and we can also provide advance payments to artisans if needed to meet unexpected daily needs. An advance payment makes our work much easier and strengthens the commitment of the artisans,” says Francis.
Businesses sometimes need temporary financial support, but loans of this kind are not readily available in Kenya. In October, one of Gololi Crafts' most crucial electric kilns broke down. Mifuko loaned the workshop €800, which was repaid with products. For Francis, this was a very important deal as the workshop was able to continue and he said he is forever grateful.
Continuity engages the community and enables savings
Due to remote working required by the Covid-19 pandemic, Gololi Crafts moved its workshop from a slum in Nairobi to Kisumu, a move that allowed them to continue working in a less congested environment. Although some of the older employees working in Nairobi continue to work remotely, the relocation of the workshop enabled the most vulnerable to find employment, as there are many poor widows and orphans in rural villages. When the workshop opened in Kisumu, word spread quickly through the villages and many women came to ask for work. Since Mifuko's orders are reliable and continuous, Francis was able to hire five women immediately.
“Every day, the women arrive at work with a sparkle in their eyes. Receiving a monthly salary at the end of the month makes the women's eyes sparkle even more. It makes me very happy too," says Francis.
One of the artisans was able to buy a solar lamp with a radio attached, which she had been dreaming about for a long time. Now his children can do a few hours of homework after sunset, and the lamp is better for their health than its predecessor, a smouldering oil lamp. Plus, the family can keep up to date with local and national news.
Through the Mifuko partnership, the workers have the security of a regular monthly income and are also able to put money aside from time to time. They save in a common fund and lend money from it to other groups, increasing its capital with interest. In this way, women achieve financial independence. The additional income enables them to pay their children's school fees and rent. Some have even bought property with their savings.
Mifuko is delighted to have a long-term partnership with Francis, it has been very easy to work together as we share common values. Mifuko's founders and designers, Minna Impiö and Mari Martikainen, visited Francis' workshop in spring 2022. They were delighted with the developments that have taken place at Gololi Craft. A new ceramic candle holder design was born in the beautiful scenery of Lake Victoria, and will be part of Mifuko's autumn collection.