Fair Trade Crafts


Fair Trade Crafts Lovingly Handmade by Uganda Women

Paper beads from Uganda,. An important fair trade craft.

Beautiful paper beads from our Jinja beaders in Uganda. Ajuleta shows her 5-strand necklace.

Our women’s beader groups receive better than fair trade prices for the beautiful artisan craft products they produce as a cottage industry either at their individual homes or working together at their group meeting place. When Outreach Uganda markets the products at full retail price, on average 70% of the price is returned to a combination of the beader who made the product and to our programs which benefit beaders’ groups and their communities.

Besides marketing their fair trade crafts extensively within the U.S., Outreach Uganda also encourages the group to develop new products including additional paper beaded jewelry and craft products, and also new lines of products such as the batik sling bags and 100% silk tie-dyed scarves. Shop now for your fair trade crafts and jewelry and help a woman and her family overcome poverty! Use your purchasing power to make a difference. All profits go to our beaders and their group/community for specific programming items. Almost all of our U.S. labor is volunteer.

What Do the Ugandan Women Buy With their Fair Trade Crafts Earnings? 

Our Ugandan women beaders use their individual bead monies for buying food and needed medicines, for paying school fees for their children, for saving (10% is the goal), and for starting new businesses and income-generation projects which will help sustain their families year round with no dependence either on Outreach Uganda or others.

Uganda woman, Rupina, displays paper beaded necklace.

Rupina proudly displays her bright neon colored paper bead necklaces.

Each beader group helps identify which programming needs the craft earnings should help support. In past years, earnings have been used for things such as:

  • starting and increasing internal revolving loan funds so the group can make micro-loans to their own members
  • agricultural projects to grow cash crops
  • providing English and literacy classes
  • computer training
  • tailoring training program
  • beginning a home ownership program
  • assistance to the community’s parent supported primary school
  • assistance to the community’s local health clinic

 What is Fair Trade and Why are Fair Trade Crafts Important?

Fair trade assures more than just fair wages, it addresses:

  1. Fair wages – this mean not paying too low of wages or price just because the seller may be very desperate to sell his/her product and is located in a very poor country; stable business partnerships
  2. Protection of children’s rights – no forced labor of children; promotes children’s education
  3. Women’s rights – prevents sexual harassment, promotes equal pay
  4. Environmental stewardship – safe use and handling of materials, responsible energy use and waste management
  5. Empowerment – focus on training and capacity building, transparency

Outreach Uganda is committed to these principles and pays its beaders what we consider to be a better than fair trade price. Our price to individual beaders is higher than most prices that we are aware that other suppliers are paying for similar products.  We believe that morally, this is the right thing to do. It keeps the most money possible (from the product’s eventual sale in the western world) in the developing country and in the hands of the person directly associated with creating the product or the beader’s group or community.

Outreach Uganda also remains committed to providing significant and relevant training opportunities for our beaders.  Since our inception, this has included business training; English, literacy and numeracy training; leadership training; and additional trainings in craft skills.

Uganda paper bead jewelry

Christine displaying her artisan handcrafted paper bead jewelry.

Want to find out more about our women beaders?  Read more of the Uganda women’s stories.