We started in 2010 in a small workplace in the boutique of Zenji Hotel where local woman created products from recycled waste. As it grew, the need arose for a bigger place to accommodate more products, giving birth to CHAKO!
Our mission is to increase economic opportunity in the island Zanzibar by enabling artisan craft producers in Zanzibar to expand their product ranges, establish networks and connect with broader markets.
We initial worked according the “Tourist2Tourist” concept, meaning we make souvenirs for tourists from the waste that tourists directly produce. This offers tourists a way to reduce their negative impact on the island with a positive approach; by buying original, innovative souvenirs for friends and family.
Nowadays, our products do not only reach tourists, but also other people around the globe.
CHAKO encourages learning by doing and encourages local artisan craft producers, mostly women, to be creative and artistic without any limitations.
CHAKO is Upcycled & Uplifted!
Zanzibar is the overall name of the group of islands in the Indian Ocean, just before the coast of Tanzania. Unguja (also called ‘Zanzibar island’) is the most popular one. Over 200,000 people visit Zanzibar every year.
The historical past of Zanzibar is still alive in the architecture and traditions of many local Swahili whose life has remained the same for centuries.
With our unusual blend of culture along with white sandy beaches, swaying coconut trees and crystal azure waters – it is no wonder we receive so many visitors each year.
While we appreciate our guests and the support they bring through tourism, it does bring more waste to our tiny island. That is why recycling is so important to us.
Each CHAKO product is made of recycled materials. Not only does this create something beautiful out of waste, it shows our local community to learn to recycle themselves.
CHAKO invites craft workers to the workshop where they become familiar with the meaning of upcycling, learn about target groups and the various products existing in the marketplace.
Through co-creative design thinking workshops, artisan craft workers in Zanzibar are stimulated and encouraged to independently create up-cycled, hip products. This stimulates social and economic empowerment whilst promoting sustainability.
By collaborating with different partners on the island, a bigger platform is created for artisan craft producers in Zanzibar using waste material. Through awareness campaigns, local Zanzibari are encouraged to create up-cycled products as well.
CHAKO collects empty bottles at hotels and resorts and introduces the concept of recycling in the day-to-day life for local Zanzibari.
In 2015 CHAKO was selected for the 3 years programme Fair Trade Finest, which is a joint initiative of CBI (Centre for the promotion of imports from developing countries) and Dutch Association of Wereldwinkels, in cooperation with World Fair Trade Organization.
The programme links us to (new Fair Trade) buyers, to increase our export. A personal coach guides us to improve our quality and design.
We hope other companies will be inspired by our example and will be encouraged to become a member of World Fair Trade Organisation as well.
Our Beach-Bags are made out of old rice bags and dhow sails. A dhow is the tradition sailing vessel used by the fisherman in Zanzibar to catch fish day-in and day-out. Today, the dhow is also used to take tourists on Indian Ocean excursions. Old rice bags often end up in the landscape or in the oceans. Here, they not only pollute the land and our oceans, they are also an deadly source for fish and turtles that get caught in them.We have addressed this problem by reusing the old rice bags in our beach bags. The bags can be worn inside out due to the individual design of the rice bag and the dhow sail. By creating beautiful bags we are able to breathe new life into what otherwise will remain as waste.
Working on vitality and be independent from the electrical power grid in Zanzibar.
The Human powered Shredder is used for shredding Plastic into small pieces to produce upcycled products out of Zanzibar’s plastic waste. Keeping Zanzibar clean and supporting the wellbeing of the female Artisans with daily exercises.
Members of our staff create one of a kind glass beads, adding different colours and creating various shapes so that no two beads are the same! By using old glass bottles and old window glass, a beautiful bead is produced!
We create different kinds of paper bead curtains. The beads are made out of old magazines.
View our unique bottle lamps and jars, made from recycled wine and/or spirit bottles. We also create drinking glasses in different sizes.