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Kenya: travel and (fair) trade

When you think of AFRICA, chances are images straight from Kenya are stored in your imagination. Kenya has the storybook landscapes and culture we associate with the African continent.

Kenya

When you think of AFRICA, chances are images straight from Kenya are stored in your imagination. Kenya has the storybook landscapes and culture we associate with the African continent.

THE GREAT WILDEBEBEST MIGRATION ACROSS THE ICONIC MAASAI MARA. THE LAYERS OF COLOURFUL BEADS PROUDLY ADORNING THE LONG NECKS OF MAASAI WOMEN. THE BIG FIVE GAME ANIMALS THAT CAN BE SEEN ON A SINGLE SAFARI IF YOU'RE LUCKY - THE LION, ELEPHANT, BUFFALO, LEOPARD AND RHINOCEROS. THE SILHOUETTE OF A SINGLE ACACIA TREE AGAINST THE BIGGEST, BRIGHTEST, ROUNDEST SETTING SUN IMAGINABLE. AND THEN THE CONTRAST OF THE INDIAN OCEANS PALM-FRINGED COAST.

Kenya truly is a country traveller's dreams are made of.

But the contrasts of Kenya are not limited to its landscapes. Social and economic inequalities abound. According to UNICEF, Kenya is one of the most unequal countries in the sub-region with 42 percent of its population of 44 million, living below the poverty line. This means for mean people, access to basic services like health care, education, clean water and sanitation, is simply out of reach.

Kenya has been described as "the cradle of humanity" but the ethnic diversity of this rich culture has also been the source of much conflict. Since independence from Britain in 1963, political unrest has not been uncommon with inter-ethnic clashes often breaking out. Kenya has also faced it's fair share of terrorism threats which has shaken it's reputation as a tourist destination. The Kenyan military entered Somalia in 2011 to fight the Islamist militant Al-Shabab movement. Since 2013 Al-Shabab has carried out multiple deadly reprisal attacks in Kenya.

AMID RAMPANT POVERTY AND NATIONAL INSTABILITY, FAIRTRADE PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN PROVIDING SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS FOR COMMUNITIES.

Kenya's craft traditions go back centuries with metalworking, basketware, beadwork and gourd utensils all proudly displayed in markets around the country as a nod to the strong cultural traditions this nation holds so closely.

Organisations like Bombolulu are using the metalworking traditions of Kenya's ancestors to create beautiful jewellery. Bombolulu not only provides sustainable incomes for over one hundred local artisans, but the organisation also provides social benefits to it's workers with access to a clinic, nursery school, social hall and preventative HIV programs.

So you can be proud to know your purchase is making a real difference in the lives of artisans in Kenya. Thank you!