La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE with its raison d'être (mission) "Arts & Crafts from Madagascar with respect for environment, people and tradition" celebrates 25 years. The Fair Trade organization was registered on October 25, 1995.
Respect for environment: Ecology is the foundation for global Sustainable Development - and thus also for Fair Trade, where "Respect for environment" is Fair Trade principle no. 10. Climate change is also a very important issue of justice: the poorest countries have contributed the least to the ongoing climate change - but are the ones worst affected. Madagascar belongs to the countries that are hit very hard by, for example, aggravated cyclones, floods, droughts. Madagascar also has a unique, extremely protected flora and fauna. Belongs to one of the world's biodiversity hotspots.
Respect for nature means that all products in La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE assortment are made from local, renewable natural materials or recycled waste. The natural materials consist mainly of palm leaves, grass, reeds, sisal. These materials are wild-growing without the use of pesticides or artificial irrigation. The material in the metal craft consists of cans for which recycling systems are lacking in Madagascar. The craft thus contributes to remedying a current increasing environmental problems. The production is a genuine, small-scale and environmentally friendly craft. The process from harvesting natural materials or collecting recycled materials to the finished product is highly manual. All goods are shipped by boat from Madagascar to Sweden. A minimum of packaging material is used. More about this can be read under menu heading; La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE Environmental care
Respect for people: Providing opportunities for the economically disadvantaged to improve their situation is Fair Trade principle number 1. "No Poverty" is also goal no. 1 of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which should be met by 2030. Goal no. 2 is "Zero Hunger”. Madagascar is currently the country in the world where extreme poverty accounts for the largest share of the population (77.4%). This according to the World Bank's report "Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020". Madagascar is one of the three countries in the world with the most alarming levels of hunger. This according to the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020.
Respect for people means for La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE that all artisans are given interest-free loans before they start the agreed delivery of goods. The artisans also receive support in the form of export administration, tax payments and space in warehouses. This has given genuine micro-producers in the informal sector the opportunity to be suppliers.
Gender equality: The world is not equal. Gender equality is a global justice problem. As a Fair Trade organization, La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE takes a clear stand to give more power and opportunities to women in word and deed: About 75% of the craftsmen who manufacture the products in La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE assortment are women. Those who are producer group managers; women or women together with men are responsible for receiving loans and delivering goods. Overall coordination is performed by women. The disbursement of loans provides concrete economic power and opportunities for women. At the same time a great responsibility. The women have proven to be very creditworthy; After more than twenty years of operation, La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE still has no credit losses from craftsmen who have not delivered. Given the prevailing conditions in Madagascar (lack of infrastructure, frequent cyclones), this is impressive. Another, greater reason for giving women the financial responsibility and authority is to invest in the future. Experience in La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE shows that the income from the craft often goes to the children's university education, improvement of the family's housing, etc. welfare. With their income, the female artisans provide social welfare to their relatives - something that the extremely poor, politically unstable country is often unable to provide. About 75% of the artisans who manufacture the goods in La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE assortment are women. Those who are responsible for producer group; responsible for receiving loans and deliver the goods, are women or woman together with a man. The only exception is a hat studio where all the four active are men. Disbursements of loans provide concrete economic power and opportunities for women. At the same time a great responsibility. The women have been found to be very creditworthy; La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE has, after more than twenty years of business, no losses from artisans who have received loans but not delivered. Considering the conditions that often prevail on Madagascar (infrastructure that is lacking, frequent cyclones) this is impressive. Another, more important reason to give financial responsibility and authority to women is that they invest in the future. Experience in La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE shows that the income from the craft often is used for the children's university education, improvement of family housing, etc welfare. With their earnings, the female artisans give social welfare to their family and community - something that is extremely poor, politically unstable country state often is unable to do.
That working conditions should be good, the price fair, relationship long-term and that children never participate are obvious for La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE.
For La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE, the 10 principles of Fair Trade, several of which address respect for people, are the starting point for daily activities as well as planning for the future. La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE also belongs to the pioneers of the Fair Trade movement who, through active membership of the World Fair Trade Organization, have had the opportunity to influence the formulation of these principles. La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE is, for example, one of the founders of the World Fair Trade Organization - Europe.
Counteracting colonial attitudes and structures: The colonial trade pattern was based on Africa being a supplier of raw materials. La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE does not trade in raw materials, instead chooses goods with high value added. The colonial pattern of trade still dominates trade between Africa and Europe to a very high degree. It harms economic and Sustainable Development in Africa - and it is a shame for Europe. La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE works for change.
Respect for tradition: On Madagascar, family traditions often are the foundation for the craft skills owned by the individual. La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE support that these skills with pride can be passed over to the next generation. The arts and craft items are bearers of culture. La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE promotion support that the items, in addition to be practical and aesthetical, also create understanding and respect for the craft producer’s culture internationally. Art, culture and heritage significance for society and potential to create sustainable economic growth in Africa: The African Union (AU) has announced the coming year 2021 “The African Union Year of the Arts, Culture And Heritage" in recognition of the importance of art, culture and heritage to promote AU's Agenda 2063 "The Africa We Want" goal of achieving sustainable economic growth and development in Africa and demonstrating the need to enhance the role that the creative economy can play in this endeavour . In its “Plan of Action on Cultural and Creative Industries in Africa” AU writes in the preamble that: “1. Africa is experiencing abject poverty, debilitating conflicts, increasing the burden of disease, and malnutrition as well as other challenges. This is paradoxical in that it is happening in a continent endowed with rich natural, cultural and human resources that could be tapped and used for a better, meaningful life. 2. Along with other resources, Africa could make the best out of its own home grown technologies and skills in the cultural sector. African cultural industries have the potential to boost socio-economic development and to provide employment opportunities for millions of men, women, the youth, children and the elderly. 3. The cultural sector uses local materials, skills, and technologies. This has a positive bearing on intersectoral growth since it provides market opportunities for a wide variety of goods and services available at the local level. 4. Cultural products are expressed not only in terms of material goods and services but also they embody values, sentiments, beliefs, world views and individual as well as collective memories. 5. It is therefore imperative that the African Cultural industries should be situated in the context of poverty reduction efforts, sustainable development initiatives and programmes.”
The importance of Fair Trade craftsmanship for a living and productive cultural heritage in Africa is also important from the aspect that the continent currently are considered to be deprived of more than 80% of its material cultural treasures. Artefacts that were mainly stolen by colonial powers and are still held in Western museums, galleries and private collections. Demands for return to its rightful owners have grown stronger since the publication of the Sarr-Savoy report “The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New Relational Ethics ”November 2018, which states, for example, that the Musée du quai Branly in Paris contains over 70,000 art treasures, mainly from Chad, Madagascar, Benin and Mali. The report recommends that French museums create thorough inventories that are shared with the relevant African countries, and from November 2022, France should return all identified works of art. The Sarr-Savoy report was commissioned by French President Macron. In 2020, New African has published a series of recommendable articles under the theme "Return of African Icons 2020".
Promote Fair Trade and create awareness about the cultural significance of arts and crafts is part of the principles of Fair Trade. During its twenty-five years of operation, La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE has participated in a large number of national and international events. The first major international event was "Images of Africa" in Copenhagen in 1996 - an event that for three weeks included high-quality music, dance, theatre, arts and crafts from many different African countries. The first major national event was a Women Can trade fair in Karlskrona in 1996. La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE has in the following years participated in a large number of international trade fairs, mainly for arts, crafts, design and fashion: FORMEX at the Stockholm Fair (a total of 25 fairs during the years 2006-2018), Formland at Herning Messecenter in Denmark (2010, 2011, 2014), Gift & Interior at the Oslo Fair (2005, 2006), Copenhagen International Fashion Fair, CIFF at Bella Center (2012, 2013). In addition, La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE has been an exhibitor at the BIOFACH World Fair for Organic products in Nuremberg in 2007 and 2008. La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE has also participated as an exhibitor (and partly engaged in the launch and arrangement of) the Fair Trade forums which were held yearly in various locations in Sweden, starting in 2004. Participation as an exhibitor at trade fairs has been complemented by lecturing on themes such as "Madagascar - nature and culture to preserve", "Fair Trade crafts for Sustainable Development". Lectures have included slide shows and demonstrations of handicrafts. The lectures have usually been given on order from educational associations in southern Sweden, study associations or associations within Fair Trade or the environmental movement.
Photos at the top: SifakaMadagascar is one of the worlds “Biodiversity hotspots”. One of the most notable features is the extremely high floral and faunal endemism not only at species level, but also at higher taxonomic levels. It is a biodiversity hotspot with high global importance for mammals, plants and reptiles. Almost a third (31%) of all lemur species in Madagascar are now Critically Endangered – just one step away from extinction – with 98% of them threatened, according to IUCN press release 9 July 2020. Among those newly listed as Critically Endangered are Verreaux’s Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) Artisan Madame Augustine plaiting hats using sun-dried raffia palm leaves. One of two daughters, who both go to primary school, is standing beside her. Ms. Augustine also has a son who studies mathematics and computer technology at the University of Tamatave. The photo was taken in her garden where she also grows vegetables. The house they live in is made of plaited bamboo, the roof is made of straw. One of many fine examples of women with high crafting skills, ambitions for future generations and whose minimal ecological footprint provides space for continued life on the planet.
La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE can look back on 25 years.
Considering the state of the world, the raison d'être (mission) "Arts & Crafts from Madagascar with respect for environment, people and tradition" appears to be of high current importance - but what future opportunities are there for its activity?
Arts & Crafts from Madagascar with respect for environment, people and traditions. facebook Fair Trade hats, bags, gifts and interior. Genuine crafts with focus on ecology. Wholesale
La Maison Afrique FAIR TRADE
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