At VAA, we work with numerous African producers who provide high-quality goods from a wide range of categories. To find out more about our producers and their stories select a category from the drop-down below:
A dynamic cooperative of about 40 women in Mariakani, Kenya, Shukrani Lifeworks produces high-quality handmade crafts for home and export. Their eclectic range of items includes table mats, handbags, jewellery, napkins and wine bags. Constructed with solid materials and meticulous care, Shukrani’s products are designed to highlight the strong Africa attitude in modern style.
By providing safe employment and a living wage, Lifeworks aims to give vulnerable women a route out of poverty and ensure a better future for them and their families. Shukrani, which means “to give thanks,” indicates the workers’ pride in preventing HIV through sustainable job creation. Supported by such organisations as General Motors East Africa and Unilever Kenya, Shukrani exemplifies the benefits that can accrue from corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Shukrani Lifeworks currently provide products for a number of hotels, corporate organisations, and fashion designers. With their modern industrial machinery and management team of sector experts, they can efficiently execute projects of diversity and scale.
Over the past decade, Lesotho has moved from being a marginal contributor to a globally-integrated leader in the garments and textiles industry. Employing more than 40,000 workers, the textile industry is the primary employer in Lesotho. The country’s footwear industry employs just over 2000 workers.
Moreover, there is a range of sector activities that feed into the industry such as the packaging industry, road freight transport, courier services, clearing & forwarding agents, security, etc.
Maseru-E is part of Lesotho’s cluster of garment factories. Located in a 1,500m² building in the town of Maseru, Maseru-E contributes significantly to the livelihoods of the 900 men & women it employs. The factory has preferable working conditions to factories in other parts of the world. For instance, the wages of a Maseru-E employee are twice that of a Bangladeshi textile worker and Maseru-E is compliant with labour organisation Better Work Lesotho.
Along with its factory employment in the town of Maseru, Maseru-E supports a local start-up company in the mountains of rural Lesotho, contributing to sustainable rural employment with skills transfer and capacity-building.
Moreover, Maseru-E is an experienced export, supplying primarily to the US and creating garments for such established labels as Wal-Mart, KMart, Fila and Kirkland.
Sandstorm Kenya’s luxury bags and accessories are each crafted carefully, individually and ethically from fine materials including hand-selected leather hides, 18oz all cotton canvas, and solid brass fittings. Sandstorm actively supports Kenya’s local communities and ecosystems. By contributing $1 of every bag sold worldwide to the organisation, Sandstorm sponsors the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Sunflag (Tanzania) Limited is a fully integrated textile and clothing company located in Arusha (Tanzania). Established in 1965 the company employs over 2700 people from all walks of life and has the rare distinction of being in operation since its commencement.
The foundations of the Sunflag Group were laid in the early 1930’s by Mr. Satya Dev Bhardwaj, when he set up the first knitting factory in Kenya. Over the past seven decades the group has never looked back. Today its operations span the globe with manufacturing facilities and offices in the United Kingdom, Tanzania, India, Thailand, Kenya, Nigeria, and USA. Sunflag has been the largest exporter of textiles and clothing from Tanzania for the past two decades; its core markets include the European Union, USA, South Africa, EAC and SADAC countries.
Sunflag is proud of its factory conditions, labour standards, and quality assurance procedures and holds the following certifications: The Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) Code certification; Oeko Tex Association 100-standard and Class 1 certifications; Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified by Control Union; and Bio Inspecta certification. The latter 2 certify Sunflag’s use of organic cotton throughout its value chain.
Sunflag’s welfare programs include housing, subsidized meals, transportation, insurance, medical care, education and health awareness. The company is proud to be a key member in the Roll Back Malaria Program in the African continent.
Mike Korchinsky founded Wildlife Works in 1997 with a simple but powerful idea: protecting endangered wildlife requires balancing the needs of the wildlife with the need for work in those rural towns. He established Rukinga Sanctuary on 80,000 acres of land in South East Kenya to prove that wildlife conservation can attract sustainable development opportunities to rural communities.
At the base of the sanctuary Mike built an eco-factory to produce casual apparel. Over the last decade, over 300 local jobs have been created from Wildlife’s conservation and fashion businesses, bringing countless families out of poverty and unemployment. As a result, the local wildlife has been flourishing; elephants, one of the many protected inhabitants of the sanctuary, have been coming back at a rate of 2-4% each year.
Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.
Wildlife Works garments are completely carbon-neutral through the use of credits created from protecting The Kasigau Corridor located in Southeast Kenya. Eco’s 66 full-time factory workers are paid according to the Government of Kenya’s fair wage guidelines for city-level skilled wages with full health care coverage for themselves and their families. Trained by Wildlife Works, many of the seamstresses have been with the company since the factory opened its doors in 2000.