Kipepeo Cards – No longer trading.
Kipepeo cards are made by a project in Nairobi, where the women are paid for each piece they make. This enables the card makers to earn well above the minimum wage as defined by the Fair Trade Association.
Kipepeo is a micro-finance project based in Kibera, Nairobi, which gives women from disadvantaged backgrounds a regular income, skills and opportunities to plan for the future.
The women are very enthusiastic about what a difference this has made. They talk about being able to send their children to school, paying rent, feeding their families and even being part of savings groups.
Revenue from the cards includes enough to pay the rent on a premises close to Kibera that provides a secure working environment. Following an armed raid last year at the previous premises it is important to ensure that the women feel safe. Patricia is Kipepeo’s cook and she provides a healthy lunch for all the workers as well as chai and snacks throughout the day.
The project is built on the principle of ‘trade, not aid’. Kipepeo’s aim is not to give money to people living in extreme poverty, but to give them means to rise above it.
Kipepeo Designs works on a not-for-profit basis.
Any surplus that is made in the UK is transferred to the charity account and is used to fund training for the women. Last year this included micro-finance training over a number of weeks and a ‘day away’ outside Nairobi, where the women were able to relax and enjoy being together. The UK team has also funded an industrial-size mixer, so that paper can be pulped with a lot less human effort.
At present Kipepeo Designs is run entirely by volunteers in the UK, although there are plans to create one salaried position to ensure sustainability for the future.