Ngamiland Weavers Trust: – Empowering Communities Through Basket Weaving

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Ngamiland Weavers Trust, a beacon of empowerment that bridges cultural heritage for economic opportunities, has unveiled positive advancements in bridging the skills gap and finding markets for basket weavers who are residents of Etsha and surrounding villages.

This is according Botshelo Sesinyi, who has revealed that the trust was recently revitalised with financial assistance from the Conservation Fund by the government of Botswana. Since its revival, the trust has established a more stable and organised committee, expanded its membership, and introduced innovations such as a dedicated website and social media platforms.

Furthermore, Sesinyi highlighted recent workshops aimed at imparting basket weaving skills, as well as financial and marketing knowledge. He commended members for their promising work showcased at a recent presentation in Nokaneng.

“We are proud to say that we have around 50 members who have been trained and are now actively participating in producing baskets and other.”

Sesinyi emphasised the trust’s multifaceted plans including providing a market for members and residents within the communities surrounding the villages of Etsha and skill development amongst a few. He also highlighted the importance of creating a platform for cultural exchange and preserving as well as documenting culture through artistic expression.

“This trust is primarily constituted by elderly women, some of whom cannot read or write. Basket weaving serves as an artistic medium for these women to share their experiences,” explained Sesinyi. “Each basket tells a story woven within its patterns, a cultural practice that must be conserved as a cornerstone of Botswana.”

Sesinyi shared that exciting collaborations have been underway, with the Trust currently having a year partnership which Exombakhian Family to share skills and knowledge in marketing and financial education. Sesinyi emphasised the active engagement with stakeholders and the tourism sector to create a market for basket weaving products.

The market for Botswana’s woven products has also expanded beyond local communities, attracting interest both domestically and internationally. Tourists visiting Botswana often seek out handmade crafts, including intricately woven baskets, as souvenirs of their experience. Additionally, there is growing appreciation for the authenticity and craftsmanship of traditional African artistry in global markets, leading to increased demand for Botswana’s woven products.

Through the revival of traditional practices, members of the Ngamiland Weavers Trust are not only preserving their identity but also creating sustainable livelihoods. With each intricately woven basket, they weave a brighter future for themselves and their communities, embodying the spirit of resilience and entrepreneurship.

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