Mobile Technology changing lives for women in Zambia

We did it! I marvel at the possibilities that mobile phones and the Internet technology can provide for small producers in Africa. Outside of Monze- a remote area in Zambia, Malambo  Center , a women’s cooperative operate. Here embroidered, painted and stitched handcrafts are lovingly created. Once a month, a few woman take the long bus journey into the big city of Lusaka to sell their products to tourists and city dwellers at a monthly craft market. The crafts sold provide an additional income for the women who also survive by tilling the land.

egg warmers

embroidered giraffe egg warmers


Handcrafted Easter decoration

Handcrafted Easter decoration

I found the group via Facebook, came in contact with via e-mail, sent ideas on how I would like to change certain design. Via WhatsApp, I received pictures of the new design. I asked a friend to pick up my delivery when the women came to Lusaka and now these lovely egg warmers have arrived just in time in time for Easter. A long journey, but we did it.
Thank you internet, Facebook, Whatsapp, Celtel and MTN for making business with Africa a reality and helping people improve their everyday lives.

Malambo Center

Easter decorations from Malambo Cooperative  can  be found here:


Craft as a tool to lift women out of poverty

women crocheting bags in Zambia

women crocheting bags in Zambia

In Zambia 80% of the labour force work in the informal sector earning less than USD 2 per day. These are traders, crafters, rural enterprises, home businesses and are predominantly women. People living in rural peripherals especially women shoulder the burden of world poverty. 60% of the world’s poor are women and girls.

The aspen institute states that craft industry is the second largest employer in the developing world after agriculture. This sector specifically in Zambia has an undeveloped and inconsistent local market. The craft industry further accounts for more than 60% of creative goods exports. Hundreds of thousands of people in the developing world, largely women, participate in the artisan sector. For many, their livelihood depends on income earned from their artisan activities.

African small-scale artisans have limited access to western markets because producers lack information on export markets, know how, trends, sourcing and marketing channels.  Production often takes place in remote areas with poor communications and small production volumes result in higher production costs and difficulties to compete with cheap mass-produced goods. Producers are often limited with no access to finances.

At Yawama of Sweden we believe that supporting and working with individual craftsmen, NGOs and small businesses through a long-term commitment is an effective and sustainable way of changing people’s lives. We aim at supporting our producers by

  • Merging Scandinavian design into product design and development
  • Training and information on regulations and standards for EU markets
  • Sourcing and supply of eco-friendly material
  • Start up finances
  • Access to direct markets excluding middle men from the value chain
  • Using internet and mobile technology to connect suppliers to producers and producers to markets

By investing in artisans Yawama of Sweden are reinvesting into family futures. Women working with Yawama of Sweden are able to see their income increased by a factor of 4. Women have been able to reinvest their income into nutrition and education. An investment in one woman is a future investment for a family of 6 people.

the making of a soft toy

Women knitting soft toys in Zambia


Spider arbetar med händerna

The making of bottle top baskes


Basket Love

I have always loved baskets. A passion that has been passed on from my mother and most certainly passed on from generations far back. My baskets in my home make nifty storage solutions in my home, while my grandmother and my great-grandmother would have used them for fishing, harvesting maize from the fields and storage of food untill next years harvest.

Elle Decoration South Africa article , “The art of weaving” brings life to basketmaking, almost like a song. I can almost feel the tropical winds blowing and hear that gentle rustle of the elephant grass that I am so familiar with.

In tune with the cycle of agriculture, basketmaking follows a seasonal rhythm. There is a time for gathering grass or rushes and a time for weaving them into baskets, sieves and granaries used for harvesting.

Grasses and reads used for basketmaking ( source Elle decoration South Africa)

basket weaving techniques

First row left – right: Combination of random and coil weave, twist weave, beginning of random weave. Second row left – right: Loop stitch woven into a Dilly bag, loop stitch woven, random weave. ( source Elle decoration)

Photographs above Niel Vosloo – Production Laureen Rossouw and Hendrik Coetzee

African baskets

African baskets from Yawama of Sweden


My favourite pastel trends for kids

Pastels for children’s rooms is here to stay. Combing a clean streamlined Scandinavian look with pastels is both calming and inviting. The diy option creating something new with your flea market finds is the creative option to create this fresh look, be it an old shelf, some colourful textiles or some old toys.

Some DIY inspiration from Underbaraclaras World where soft pastel shades of  pink, blue and green are painted onto storage boxes. Colourful, playful and useful.

Pastel storage and shelving for kids

Pastel storage and shelving for kids from Underbaraclara

Yawama of Sweden cow and lion cushion cover for kids in pastel pink and more daring orange combination.

Knitted cow in pastel pink and pastel pink cushion

Knitted cow in pastel pink and pastel pink cushion

A kids Room in Malmö where pastels and orange make a vibrant and eye-catching combo.


Pastels and a dash of orange form mama.nu

Pastel greens, blues and purples,

Pastels from Therese Winberg

Pastels from Therese Winberg


Improved trade within Africa

This week we finally received som fabric that was ordered from South Africa and delivered to the Chikumbuso Womens Group in Ngombe Lusaka who are to work on new cushion designs for Yawama of Sweden. The payment was made for the material in October 2014. An application was then made for SADC certification which would allow the material to be imported into Zambia duty-free. A period of close to 5 months where money has been tied into stock and planned production deadlines moved forward. Similar hurdles have been met when importing yarn into Zambia from Kenya where duties have suddenly been slapped onto goods from Kenya, even though both Kenya and Zambia are part of the free trade COMESA region.

African trade has to be made simpler, more cost-effective and efficient for continued economic growth and to be competitive for world export markets as summed up in this world bank documentary.


Mums’ sun-dried tomato marinade

Sun Dried tomato Pickle

Sun-dried tomato marinade from Chankwakwa

Mums’ Chankwakwa sun-dried tomato marinade is  a great weekend recipe that will add some zing to your week-end cooking.  Chankwakwa Sun-dried tomato and mango can be purchased in Sweden in the tropical food section of Yawama of Sweden.

Place 1 Pkt Chankwakwa sun-dried tomato in saucepan and cover with water, add 5 tbsp white wine vinegar and heat for 10 min. Drain tomatoes and place in jar. Cover with olive oil, 4 gloves of roughly chopped garlic, a handful of chopped parsley, or fresh basil or herbs of your choice. Add a dash of fresh chilli if you like for an extra tang. Your tomatoes are ready to throw into a green salad, are great as pizza topping or added to a hot stew.

My mum Dorothy has always been a lover of good food, a visionary leader and an entrepreneur. In the 70s she opened a restaurant serving traditional Zambian dishes. In the 90s she opened a bakery offering fresh-baked bread – a luxury at the time. Her most recent venture is a drying plant for both fruit and vegetable. Here both her and my dad, work with numerous small-scale farmers who provide fresh sun ripened produce, that is processed through their plant. Fair trade and ecological practices are at the heart of their production.

This is an old picture from the early days, when Chankwakwa first started training small-scale farmers on tomato growing techniques.

Farmer training

Farmers being trained on tomato growing with treadle pump irrigation systems

Read more about the work that Chankwakwa is doing with small farmers and their exciting product range which includes jams, sauces and soya flour here


A pink children’s room

Sugar and Spice and all things nice.

This beautiful bedroom has been styled and photographed by renowned DIY expert Wimke Tolmsa in the Netherlands. Yawama eco-friendly knitted cow adds a touch of  subtle pink to the pastel pink and purple accents that compliment this white children’s room. Do your kids love princess themes, fairy tales and enjoys tea parties then here you are to find some great inspiration for little details that would add some pink flavour to your children’s bedroom.

Pink details and hand-knitted cow in Girls bedroom

Pink details and hand-knitted cow in Girls bedroom

Take note of the pink wax plastic table-cloth to avoid nasty stains, pink tiaras, the lace curtains, shades of pastel paper lampshades, tea party cups and plates with and a tiny pink birdcage.


Yawama eco friendly knitted toy



Pink and purple details in a children’s room



Toy tea party for children