Swahili believes in the potential for a sustainable network of trade between Africa and the world. Since every transaction that occurs with Swahili influences how African producers perceive American business, company operations center on responsible practices that promote growth and cultural affinity.
We believe that hardworking African artisans, producers and export agents hold the key to their own personal success, and that the path to success requires a steady, committed pace. Swahili extends each artisan's channel of trade from local markets to the global marketplace, all the while providing artisans with options to work from the comfort of their own homes and communities. Secure in the knowledge that the fair payment they receive will not be reduced by traveling expenses, childcare costs and haggled prices, most artisans in the Swahili network promote their family's future by using earnings to put food on the table and pay educational expenses for their children.
Swahili is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, a group of like-minded companies and organizations that adhere to:
- providing fair payment to workers in developing nations
- educating artisans and workers to increase their potential for advancement
- ensuring the rights of children
- developing products and processes that protect and conserve the natural environment
- promoting fair trade as the standard in commercial exchanges
Swahili is also a Shared Interest fair trade loan facility holder. As the world’s only 100% fair trade lender, the Shared Interest cooperative lent over 68 million pounds in 2019 to producers in 55 developing nations around the world. Shared Interest funds are invested completely by members with UK bank accounts.
Swahili is a small company whose orders provide many African artisans with income. Even with a small staff, Swahili maintains accountability with artisans by visiting groups in person at least once yearly. These important face-to-face sessions allow us to:
- confirm that payments are being received and properly allocated to individual artisans
- discuss problems, implementation of new designs and strategies for future development
- conduct training sessions with export agents, team leaders and artisans to further streamline operations, increase production capacity and reduce errors
- emphasize Swahili's ongoing commitment to each artisan's or group's success
Swahili supplements yearly visits in a variety of ways.
- Cooperative arrangements with in-country development organizations and NGOs allow us to check in with working artisans year-round.
- Digital communication allows us to communicate important information in a timely fashion. Email, What'sApp and Skype bring us closer together at all times.
- Cooperative online ordering systems viewed and edited by U.S. staff and African producers significantly reduce errors, and keep producers educated about the status of payments and shipment deadlines.
- Reporting successes, design ideas and upcoming visits by email and text maintains a positive atmosphere that welcomes producer involvement.