We believe in empowering our local community.
We strive for transparency and sustainability.
We create handmade products in Zambia, for you and your home.
Empowering With Employment and Education
Fair Employment, Medical & Social Responsibility
We provide employment contracts for all our employees and they receive a fair monthly wage, annual leave pay, sick pay, funeral pay, housing allowance, travel allowance and end of contract benefits. We do our best to educate our staff with knowledge and skills they can apply inside and outside the work space through a series of informative peer-led workshops on topics including the environment, health related issues, family planning and budgeting.
Some of our employees cycle up to 20 km to and from work each day. When they arrive, we provide them with a nutritious breakfast and later on during the day a traditional lunch is served.
We provide free HIV testing for every member of staff. Those that are tested positive receive monthly funded health check-ups.
We also provide every woman we employ with a packet of reusable sanitary pads made from bamboo and absorbent fabric. They enable the ladies to continue to work at times they would otherwise have had to stay at home. With 5 pads per pack the ladies are also able to gift some to other female relatives and their daughters, allowing them to attend school full time throughout the year – a priceless present.
A Learning Work Environment
Most of our employees have been with Tribal Textiles for more than a decade learning new skills and benefiting from training and internal promotion. Moses has been with Gillie since the very beginning in 1991. After years of overlooking production as Workshop Manager, he is now our Operations Manager.
Our new Workshop Manager Treaser started as a sewer at Tribal 17 years ago! Nathan, our Head of Accounting used to be a starcher. Kizylous, our Export Assistant, was dispatch and quality control assistant. And our newly appointed Head of Starching Priscilla joined us 20 years ago and was then washing the fabrics. We also encourage external promotion.
In January 2019, after 20 years with the company, we said goodbye to our beloved Head of Starching Tizaonana, who was heading back to university to fulfill his dream: becoming an art teacher
We believe in transparency and gender equality and over one third of our employees are women, which is unusual culturally in this area as traditionally women stay at home and men are the ‘providers’. Research shows that women are more likely to invest their earnings in food, their house, their children and education so we have made it our mission to employ as many women as possible, on merit.
Supporting Crafts & Entrepreneurship
A Centre of Craft Excellence and Education
Through our Artisan Project, we have become the Luangwa’s primary handicraft destination and one of Zambia’s Centres of Craft Excellence and Innovation. We are excited to uncover the wealth of skills that we know currently lie dormant in the Mfuwe population.
We are encouraging artisans to present their work in schools to inspire and educate the next generation and are running training sessions for young people in local crafts so that it becomes a genuine career option for them.
At Tribal Textiles, we are committed to reducing our footprint on the local environment and the world as a whole
In Our Raw Materials
All our raw materials are sourced locally: our cotton is grown free of GMO and spun and weaved in Zimbabwe. As much as we would love to work with organic cotton, we haven’t managed so far to source high quality organic cotton within Southern Africa in big enough quantities. And we prefer to buy GMO free cotton from our neighbouring country rather than purchasing organic cotton coming from a distant part of the world, which wouldn’t make sense in terms of environmental sustainability. We hope you understand and agree with our choice.
All our paints come from South Africa. They are water-based, non-hazardous and non-toxic: they are safe for the people and for environment.
Sustainable usage of trees: whenever needed, we only use wood from trees naturally-fallen or licensed by the Community Resources Board and avoid use of hardwoods wherever possible.
In Our Waste Management
Waste management in our production process is fully optimized and we have a zero-waste policy wherever possible. The paints used for colors are mixed by hand for each order and whatever is remaining is mixed together again to produce black paint.
We use all fabrics offcuts to produce small accessories, buntings or embellish beautiful cards handmade by our lovely shop ladies. Even the starch we use in our process – made of flour and water - is not wasted when scrapped off the fabric during washing.
If it’s not eaten by the numerous monkeys populating our garden then we dry it in the sun and give it to another brilliant local initiative: One Planet Cafe Ltd who are WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization) verified and produce paper from Zambian organic bananas grown here in South Luangwa, right next door to Tribal Textiles. One Planet Cafe incorporate starch scraped off our fabrics to add color to their paper. Then we in turn use that paper to produce our lovely cards.
Supporting Wildlife Conservation
We operate on the doorstep of one of the most amazing National Parks in the world, also one of the last great strongholds in Africa for lions, leopards, wild dogs and elephants.
Providing employment and a source of income to people in a wildlife area where jobs are scarce decreases the risk of local poaching and deforestation. People living off the land will use any resources it has, whereas those taking home earnings are less likely to lay snares or cut down trees as they are able to pay for access to utilities like electricity and food for their families.
We want to play our part in conservation of wildlife and environment and are donating the proceeds of several ranges to local conservation programmes. 25% of the proceeds of our “Carnivores” range goes to the Zambian Carnivore Program - to support their amazing work researching and protecting carnivores in Zambia - while Birdwatch Zambia is benefiting from our “Birds” range, which celebrates some of the most beautiful birds in South Luangwa National Park.
A donation from sales of our “Animal Block” kids’ range, as well as 10% of profits from our new glass recycling programme, go to Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust to support their Conservation Education programs with local schools.
We also raise funds for Conservation South Luangwa through sales of their ‘elephant friendly’ chilli, lemongrass tea and turmeric grown by local farmers as part of their Human Wildlife Conflict Management Programme. A new collaboration has seen us produce dog collars using Zambian leather and colourful Tribal fabrics with proceeds going to CSL’s K9 Working Dogs for Conservation Programme which aims to cut down the problem of wildlife trafficking.
Last year more than $10,000 was raised and donated to the schools, sports clubs and conservation organisations that we support – this year we hope to do even better!