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Agnes's Story

Weaving high quality raffia products provides Agnes with a reliable source of income Weaving high quality raffia products provides Agnes with a reliable source of income

56-year-old Agnes Sanka has been involved with Farm Africa for four years – and the transformation she has seen in that time is incredible.

Finding a sustainable source of income

Living on the edge of Tanzania’s Nou Forest, Agnes's family once relied on a small area of land cleared of trees to grow maize, coffee, beans, pigeon peas, and vegetables to feed themselves and sell at market. It was difficult to grow enough to give the family three meals a day and to still have a surplus to sell, and they struggled to make ends meet.

The forest has a rich supply of raffia which has been used by generations of women like Agnes to make the baskets and mats that traditionally adorn their homes. But until Farm Africa started working with them, the women had never really seen the potential of their weaving skills to provide a steady source of income.

Taking the products to market

Farm Africa carried out some research and found that there would be demand for high-quality woven products at markets in nearby towns and further afield in Tanzania.

Agnes and the other weavers attended training sessions where they learned which products were in demand and could be sold for a good price. Agnes started dedicating more and more time to weaving and now produces a steady stream of high-quality baskets, bags, mats, and other goods to sell.

“There is a good market where I have managed to sell a lot of raffia products. With the extra money I can contribute to my children’s school costs, buying food and clothes for my family and helping the community become better.”

A gift of $49 could help provide another woman like Agnes with the training they need to set up their own raffia selling business.