Zambia is a vibrant flourishing nation in Southern Africa, which has seen recent economic growth, though this has mostly been concentrated in urban centres. Employment opportunities are gravely need in rural areas, and are perhaps even more imperative for communities which border national parks that hold the country’s precious wildlife. Tribal Textiles, located just outside of South Luangwa National Park, is one of the largest employers in the village of Mfuwe, and because employees and artisans are able to gain income from these opportunities, they are less likely to engage in poaching of resources from the tourist-frequented park.
Planeterra has worked with Tribal Textiles to connect the social enterprise with a larger customer market, which will benefit the workshop’s employees as well as the many conservation and community initiatives that they support in the surrounding areas. Some of the proceeds from textiles and other products are allocated towards local efforts such as the protection of African wild dogs, or the local Malimba primary school. Tribal Textiles is also home to the Mango Tree Artisan Market, which showcases the artwork of 15 local artists, and gives them the ability to sell their own locally-made handicrafts on-site.
“South Luangwa is really benefitting from tourism a lot. The higher the number of tourists that we are receiving, the more poverty is decreasing because people have jobs and they are able to take children to school, be able to afford a basic meal every day. Tribal Textiles is one of the higher employers in the area. All the shop girls are all women. Tribal management has lots of women.” – Nsabila Njobvu, Retail Manager at Tribal Textiles