Kea and the Itireleng members showing their wares in front of their work space
Great Plains has a strong relationship with two communities which border our reserves in Botswana. This relationship includes the employment of community members in our lodges and encouraging craft development in these areas.
Over the past year we have been developing craft skills within Gudigwa village located on the north-western boundary of the Selinda Reserve. Our project co-ordinator Kea Supang has been working with 25 women and a few men from the area producing various crafts. They have named the group 'Itireleng” meaning “make for your self”. The first skill shared and used was making handmade paper using recycled paper and elephant dung. This is a transportable skill that does not need much material and which the members of Itireleng could make at home as well as at the work space and shelter built for the group. Ladies in the group were also taught the art of beading and started creating beaded jug nets and have since expanded the skill to produce table-sized food nets. Other products produced make use of traditional skills and use natural materials to make table mats and wall decorations. All these products are available for sale in the lodge curio shops.
Kea has now moved to Seronga village north of Duba Plains where she has started forming another group. The group is slowly growing and have already started sewing net bags for use in the lodge laundries as well as making handmade paper and handmade cards using recycled paper and elephant dung.
We look forward to continued growth in both groups and continued skill development to increase the number of products produced by these groups. Potential projects in the area include developing hospitality focused skills in the communities through workshops as well as environmental education through involvement in local school's wildlife clubs.