Great Plains Conservation and its Foundation are committed to ensuring local communities benefit from conservation tourism. In Botswana, one of the many ways it does this is through organizing local entrepreneurial craft groups for women. By providing mentorship and an immediate marketplace for the products created, Great Plains Conservation and its Foundation have created a venue that honours traditional craft-making, reinforces social bonds, and provides an income for women in the communities surrounding the Great Plains camps.
Named the Tipatizane Craft Group, the members create the beautiful beaded wine, jug, and food nets that are used in all the Botswana camps along with other hand-made crafts designed with the guests in mind such as finger-puppets, paper bead necklaces, and traditional grass baskets. All of the items are available for sale in the camp boutiques, providing an immediate and accessible marketplace that generates income for the craft group members.
The members of the Tipatizane are adaptable to trends from the guests, changing their offerings based upon what is most popular among the guests. Recently they expanded into knitting joining the Great Plains Foundation school programs teaching the students how to knit hats and scarves (which proved very popular!).
Programs such as the Tipatizane Craft Group are made possible because of the dedication of Great Plains staff; in particular Keagakwa “Mother Kea” Supang. It is individuals like Mother-Kea whose contribution to the community is felt far beyond the boundaries of the Okavango Delta. Thank you Mother-Kea for helping create the beautiful crafts and the enduring bonds between the members of Tipatizane, Great Plains, and the world.