CHAKO Zanzibar | Uplifted | Upcycled | Our Team
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Who We Are

CHAKO is a social enterprise operating from Mdo, 15 km from StoneTown, Zanzibar.

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 tourist markets.

We work according the “Tourist2Tourist” concept, meaning we make souvenirs for tourists from the waste that tourists directly produce. This offers tourists a unique way to reduce their negative impact on the island.

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. The souvenirs are made primarily from tourist waste but we also integrate other material to make the design more beautiful.

CHAKO products are 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 encourages learning by teaching and guiding local artisan craft producers, mostly women, to be creative and artistic without any limitations.

CHAKO increases economic opportunity by enabling local artisan craft producers to expand their product ranges, establish networks and connect with you.

How We Work

CHAKO creates awareness about the waste problem on the island among tourists.

Through co-creative design thinking workshops, female 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 invites these 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.

We place emphasis on original design. The focus on marketing and sales is not only intended to generate more income but also to increase demand. While artisan craft producers are given the opportunity to fulfil orders and create new products, they are at the same time improving of the level of their artistic skills.

CHAKO collects specific waste at hotels and resorts will introduce the concept of recycling in day-to-day life for both tourists and local Zanzibari. This coupled with the products where the waste material is plain to see, shows an alternative way to treat litter and the environment. This approach will ensure an increase in awareness amongst tourists, while also introducing the idea of recycling tot the local population of Zanzibar.

Who We Benefit

Gender inequality in Zanzibar is an obstacle to socio-economic development.

Causes of gender inequality can be found in culture, socialisation, tradition, economic inequality and imbalance in power.

CHAKO focuses on making gender inequality less significant by providing Zanzibari women a chance to become more aware of their strengths and power. Through education, training and exposure, they become more self-aware and independent. By providing a reliable monthly income, a more stable situation is created for their families and themselves.

CHAKO’s team is comprised of local craft workers (80% female and 20% male), local and international staff members, volunteers interns and consultants.

This benefits families, suppliers and neighbours of craftspeople, waste pickers, inhabitants of Zanzibar, tourists as well as suppliers of materials.

UPCYCLED – UPLIFTED in Zanzibar

Zanzibar is an island of intrigue known for its rich cultural history of sul-tans, harems and spice trade.

Today, the historical past 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, sway-ing 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 tour-ism, 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 encourages learning by teaching and guiding local artisan craft pro-ducers, mostly women, to be creative and artistic without any limitations.

CHAKO is Upcycled & Uplifted!

Uplifted 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. The triangular dhow sails are made of cotton. After intensive usage these sails need to be replaced.

We are able to breath new life into old dhow sails, creating beautiful bags, pillow covers and laptop bags. The fishermen also benefit as they receive a fair price for their old dhow sails!

Uplifted Glass

Glass bead making is among the oldest human arts, dating back over 3000 years ago. Our Nigerian glass furnace is built by hand and is the only one in Zanzibar. This type of glass furnace allows us to come up with unique and beautiful glass beads and jewellery.

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!

Uplifted Print Material

Take a look at our wide range of beads made from Magazines turned in beautiful jewellery and interior designs.

Or our unique bottle lamps, made from recycled wine and/or spirit bottles, to create a cosy environment in your kitchen or room. We also create homemade drinking glasses and wine glasses made from recycled bottles.

Our Team

Chako-14

I am one of the three employees who worked at CHAKO since the first day. I like the idea that CHAKO cleans the environment and in the end of the day, we gain something from it!

Bettina | Worked at CHAKO since June 2010

Jewelry Designer, Teaching Others
CHAKO-lamps2

At CHAKO I become more creative, which will help me later in my life. I get the opportunity to improve myself. Besides my experiences at CHAKO I also learn English now.

Ali | Worked at CHAKO since June 2012

Glass Artisan, Teaching others
Chako-17

At CHAKO I realized that you can make beautiful products out of waste. Nowadays I got a new function which let me do my favorite thing: sewing!

Mwanaharusi | Worked at CHAKO since April 2014

Rolling beads, Seamstress
Chako-16

This is the first job I got in my life. It’s nice that I can work and meanwhile talk with my colleagues at CHAKO. It is always very cosy!

Madina | Worked at CHAKO since February 2014

Jewelry Designer, Rolling beads, Teach others
Chako-4

I am one of the three employees who worked at CHAKO since the first day. I like the idea that CHAKO cleans the environment and in the end of the day, we gain something from it!

Bettina | Worked at CHAKO since June 2010

Jewelry Designer, Teaching Others
Chako-3

At CHAKO I become more creative, which will help me later in my life. I get the opportunity to improve myself. Besides my experiences at CHAKO I also learn English now.

Ali | Worked at CHAKO since June 2012

Glass Artisan, Teaching others
Chako-17

At CHAKO I realized that you can make beautiful products out of waste. Nowadays I got a new function which let me do my favorite thing: sewing!

Mwanaharusi | Worked at CHAKO since April 2014

Rolling beads, Seamstress
Chako-16

This is the first job I got in my life. It’s nice that I can work and meanwhile talk with my colleagues at CHAKO. It is always very cosy!

Madina | Worked at CHAKO since February 2014

Jewelry Designer, Rolling beads, Teach others
Chako-14

I am one of the three employees who worked at CHAKO since the first day. I like the idea that CHAKO cleans the environment and in the end of the day, we gain something from it!

Bettina | Worked at CHAKO since June 2010

Jewelry Designer, Teaching Others
Chako-18

At CHAKO I become more creative, which will help me later in my life. I get the opportunity to improve myself. Besides my experiences at CHAKO I also learn English now.

Ali | Worked at CHAKO since June 2012

Glass Artisan, Teaching others
Chako-17

At CHAKO I realized that you can make beautiful products out of waste. Nowadays I got a new function which let me do my favorite thing: sewing!

Mwanaharusi | Worked at CHAKO since April 2014

Rolling beads, Seamstress
Chako-16

This is the first job I got in my life. It’s nice that I can work and meanwhile talk with my colleagues at CHAKO. It is always very cosy!

Madina | Worked at CHAKO since February 2014

Jewelry Designer, Rolling beads, Teach others