Hadithi Crafts is an umbrella organisation selling the crafts of 49 women’s groups (around 1400 women) from the Kasigau region of SE Kenya between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. .
The primary handcraft is hand woven sisal baskets – a tradition in Taita culture. Most groups meet every two weeks to weave baskets together, and continue weaving at home, or whilst doing other activities. .
They use natural dyes for dying sisal fibres which they then use for weaving baskets. The sources of their natural dyes include tree barks, which they boil in order to get the colour. “Our natural dyes come from tree barks, including the Mshiga tree, which gives a natural brown and the Mkungu tree gives a yellow. Soil gives a brown colour, charcoal a grey and clay a black.” . .
Hadithi continues the basket weaving culture in the region by training younger women. With the increasing interest to revive and retain traditional knowledges that are inherently sustainable, the report recommends certification, documentation and standardisation..
The full report, funded by British Counsel Kenya will be available soon