Grouped in a cooperative “Craft Adventure Village Cooperative (CAVICO)”, the group of different Crafts producers and artisans in Kigali City started joint operations in September, 2020 amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The cooperative which currently has 36 members produces and sells craft, artisanal products and clothes that are themed around the Rwandan culture.
Artisanal products are those produced by artisans, either completely by hand, or with the help of hand tools or even mechanical means, as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product.
The group aims to empower smallholder youth and women with talents in crafts production as well as those who want to acquire the skills for income generation.
The Vice President of the co-operative, John Mugisha, said that there is a plan to expand the production of locally made craft and artisanal products despite some challenges derailing their efforts.
“In line with the government’s Made in Rwanda strategy and job creation, members have a target to expand the production of locally made artisanal products and promote them at international level,” he said.
However, they are appealing for support for acquisition of modern machines.
“We want to tap into the international market but we are still limited by challenges such as lack of upgraded machines to improve the products, adding that the small workplace is also still a challenge,” he said.
With the support, he noted, the artisans could satisfy the market demand considering that raw materials are also locally sourced.
“We have skilled labour but the main challenge is lack of modern machines that can help to improve the products” Mugisha said.
One and artisans, Christine Muhoza said: “We source our raw materials locally. We produce necklaces, we make such products from Kitenge fabric. We have a team of tailors. We are also producing interior decoration artifacts but we need support to produce more.” she said.
Jean Pierre Habyarimana, another artisan in drawing said that his products aim at promoting Rwandan culture.
Parfaite Umutesi who markets and sells artisanal products from the cooperative added: “We have artisans who can make products that our clients order for but they still need more support to produce more and better products.”
Jean Ntabareshya, another artisanal products retailer said that support is needed to improve products in line with modern market demand for both local and foreign clients.