Prosperity Blog

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12/1/2009 :: Moving on up: One Former Apprentice's Success through Global Mamas

By Alice Grau

Moving on up: One Former Apprentice's Success through Global Mamas

Since its inception, Global Mamas has created over 250 new jobs in Ghana by helping women-owned businesses expand their operations. One of the most exciting aspects of this growth is seeing individuals develop with the organization. At the Cape Coast location we have seen more than 45 batik and sewing apprentices' transition to paid positions and three women who started out as apprentices now have their own businesses within the Global Mamas network.


Louisa Esi Dadzie is one of those women. Louisa went to school at the Girls Vocational Institute and studied batiking in the classroom for 3 years. While still in school she was taken on attachment as a junior at Eli-Emma Batik workshop. Louisa proved to be an asset to the shop and thereafter was given more responsibility such as opening the workshop in the morning and access to the workshop to do her own work without charge. She took her job and benefits seriously and worked hard to save up enough money to open her own shop. That dream came true in July of 2007.


Since opening her shop, Louisa, now 26 years of age, has worked to gain a client basis. She currently does batik work for one school as well as many individual clients. You can find her skills represented among the Global Mamas products in this years Stickman and Aztec prints.


The skills that she has learned have provided her a good life and she recognizes that she can share that with others, so Louisa has taken her very first apprentice. Her shop has also provided enough income for her to purchase a cellular telephone, help take care of her mothers needs as well as start her education again at Cape Coast Polytechnic. Louisa Dreams of being a fashion designer.


Louisa says she is proud to be a member of Global Mamas and she wants the customers to know that she loves them and is grateful for their purchases.




9/1/2009 :: First Anniversary of Accra Store

By Maki Kawamoto

Maki Kawamoto (JICA Volunteer) with Fafali Tamakloe (Sales Representative) in the colorful Global Mamas store located behind Koala in Osu, Accra, Ghana.

On August 1, 2008 Global Mamas launched a new store in the touristic Osu area of Accra. One year later we are very excited to share our great success with you.


From the very beginning, when the volunteers Matthew Sturm and Megan Collins spent over 12 hours a day designing and setting up the store, it has been meticulously developed. Maki Kawamoto, our JICA volunteer who currently manages it, has streamlined the ordering and inventory processes and is continuously analyzing sales and rearranging products and racks as well as ensuring that the store is supplied with a wide variety of products to meet all tastes.


Store customers range from tourists walking in the area, who, after passing by the store get captivated by the huge variety of our colorful products, to expatriate mothers running into each other at the store before attending their kids' friend's birthday parties. Volunteers from international organizations also stop by the store to buy presents for their relatives. "Our customers love the unique designs and bright colors of our products" says Rosemary, who was recently promoted to Store Manager; "many tell us they are able to point out a Global Mamas print when they see it out on the street."


The store has also become our 'fashion laboratory', where we are able to test and perfect new samples through our customers' feedback, analyze the potential of new styles through sales, and then launch a new product line containing only the best sellers. Something as simple as a comment from a customer can improve the lives of many women in the program.


We are also very pleased by the amazing welcome our slightly rejected products (those that did not meet standards for export) have received among our store customers. According to one of our customers "the quality of Global Mamas products is so high that in most cases the difference is not noticeable." Since all proceeds go directly to the women who produce the products as well as the non-profit programs that assist the women with business development, it has been wonderful to have the opportunity to sell these products locally and at least earn back the investment made to produce the flawed products.


The steady growth of the store sales in this past year has translated in the creation of jobs and increased the income and standard of living for many women and their families in Africa; to all of you, THANK YOU!




9/1/2009 :: Global Mamas Launches a Pet Line!

By Global Mamas

Your dog can support fair trade too!

2010 is around the corner and Global Mamas has exciting news to share. Global Mamas is expanding its line of products to include our four legged friends! Global Mamas will be launching a wonderful fair trade line of pet products in 2010. These playful products will include bright batik dog backpacks and dog bandanas, all-natural Sudsy Mutt Shea Butter Shampoo Bar and recycled water-sachet-lined feeding mats. We are actively seeking new retail partners who will be a good fit for these products and hoping to showcase this product expansion in pet-friendly media. The focus is to expand Global Mamas and create more job opportunities for existing and future Global Mamas. These efforts will also allow Global Mamas to reach an entirely new customer base and include our four-legged friends in the fight to end poverty.




6/1/2009 :: Launch of Trade for Change

By Alice Grau

The colorful home page of Trade for Change, now the most comprehensive online retailer of Global Mamas products

In an effort to better serve its growing number of retail partners, the Global Mamas shopping site was converted to a wholesale site in 2009. As a result, Trade for Change was launched to continue the online retail sales of Global Mamas products to consumers, and generate more orders and additional income for the Global Mamas network of fair trade producers in Ghana. Trade for Change is owned and operated by Global Mamas and all proceeds go directly to the women who produce the products as well as the non-profit programs that assist the women with business development. Trade for Change is now the most comprehensive online retailer of Global Mamas products. Sharing the Global Mamas mission, Trade for Change works to increase the sales of Global Mamas fair trade products which in turn creates jobs and increases the income and standard of living for women and their families in Africa.


Global Mamas would like to thank Eliana Berlfein for the creation of the Trade for Change design and David Hollis for the all technical aspects in developing and launching the website. We hope you visit the new site at and spread the word about this new site.




6/1/2009 :: New Cultural Workshops

By Alice Grau

Global Mamas has launched two cultural workshops in Accra for tourists

For several years Global Mamas has been offering a handful of half-day cultural workshops in Cape Coast for around US$15.00: Batiking, Drumming/Dancing, Fishing Village Excursion, Ghanaian Cuisine, and Traditional Head Wrapping & Beauty. Our recent addition is a 3-hour workshop in Odumase-Krobo for Bead Making. Since Global Mamas opened a retail store in Accra in August of 2008, we have had many requests from customers about offering cultural workshops in Accra. With the help of dedicated volunteers, Global Mamas recently launched two new cultural workshops in Accra.


Bethany Shackelford (Bellingham, Washington USA) worked with tour guide Gifty Boateng Owusu to develop and launch the Accra Market & Spice Tour. The tour is a close-up view of Ghana’s vibrant markets. Tourists walk the many passageways of Makola Market in the heart of Accra and hear folktales and legends of Ghana’s rich culture. Participants learn about peppe, funeral cloth, and everything in between.


Global Mamas has also been fortunate to receive a JICA volunteer, Maki Kawamoto (Hiroshima, Japan), for two years to help manage the Global Mamas store in Accra. In addition to streamlining the ordering and inventory processes in the store, Maki has taken it upon herself to launch the Accra Drumming & Dancing Workshop. Through her own passion for music and dancing, she identified two of Ghana’s esteemed female dancers and male master drummer and developed a half-day workshop for tourists. Participants learn the history of drumming and dancing as a significant part of Ghana’s culture and get a chance to participate. The Drumming & Dancing Workshop is offered at the Du Bois center in Accra. A stroll through the museum is a great way to wrap up the day.


Both new workshops were recently tested on a large scale with 33 students from Semester at Sea. The group docked in Tema Harbour and spent their first day in Accra learning about Global Mamas’ non-profit initiatives and participating in the workshop. For more information about the workshops, visit




4/1/2009 :: 2008 Global Mamas of the Year Awards

By Emily Henke and Alice Grau

Lizzy Kumah at her bead stand in Odumase-Krobo

On May 22, 2009 Global Mamas kicked off the 2008 awards season at Odumase-Krobo to recognize outstanding members of the Global Mamas network. The O-K Annual Meeting took place at 1 pm at the Madizu Fair Trade Company. The meeting was well attended by bead makers, bead assemblers, and Global Mama volunteers and friends. Thomas Amuzu, MFTC manager, gave a brief recap of the last year and discussed topics concerning bead dyes and quality. The Odumase-Krobo Global Mama of the Year Award went to Lizzy Kumah for her outstanding quality, dependability, and dedication to the betterment of the project. This year we also decided to present an "Above and Beyond" award to Juliana Matey for her amazing work on educating other beading villages on the eco-friendly use of dyes, especially the brown and black dyes. Juliana has willingly taken her job a step further and demonstrates to others the importance of seeing the entire picture. The festivities were continued with light refreshments and a showcase of the groups’ musical talent.


The following Friday, the 29th of May at 9 am the Global Mama of the Year Ceremony took place in the Cape Coast office. With many new volunteers present to bring up the energy, we were in for an exciting day. The meeting was opened by Patience Essibu, the locations Capacity Building Manager and then some highlights from the year were covered by Wisdom Tamakloe, the Production Manager and Alice Grau the General Manager. While some tasty European chocolates and Fan Ice treats circled the room, Patience presented the awards. For 2008, three individual were acknowledged for adding value to the group in special ways. Kate "Aba" Tay (Seamstress) was recognized for her "Top Quality", Georgina Afenyo (Batiker) for going "Above and Beyond" and Molly Djan (Seamstress) for being the "Most Reliable". Each of these women was given a certificate signed by the Executive Director and General Manager as well as a lovely necklace and brooch. After a beautiful solo from one of the quality control staff members, Patience presented the Cape Coast Global Mama of the Year Award was presented to Esther Gyepi-Garbrah (Seamstress). Esther was recognized for her dedication to the organization, her beautiful quality, her commitment to sharing her success with other women and always seeking ways to grow as a business woman; notably her recent start-up of an NGO in Elmina, Ghana. Esther was awarded with a signed certificate as well as materials to support the beginning of her NGO.


Overall it was a successful year for all of the Global Mamas sites throughout Ghana. After seeing women from all areas of the network step up in their various roles we are looking forward to the exciting prospects of 2009. Here’s to another great year!




4/1/2009 :: Second Saturday Warehouse Sale: A Growing Success

By Alexandra Harris

A customer shops at the Global Mamas’ Second Saturday sale in Minneapolis, MN.

About one year ago, the Global Mamas wholesale distributor in Minneapolis, MN thought of a creative way to invite the local community into the Global Mamas experience: The Second Saturday Sale. This clearance sale provides an opportunity for the distributor to free up storage space by selling excess stock. On these days the front half of the warehouse is opened up to the public and items that are discontinued or are otherwise in excess are sold at greatly discounted prices. The event has gained popularity among the Minneapolis community and has been such a success that several artists who have studios in the building have started opening up their space to the public for Second Saturdays as well!


The success of these events has afforded for the Global Mamas warehouse to purchase nicer retail presentation tools such as waterfall racks so that the space can be more presentable for Second Saturdays and other such events. This can only be to the greater benefit of the organization as word spreads about this exciting opportunity. Recently an advertisement for this event was placed in a local paper that targets a younger crowd that has interest in art, music and fashion. This will hopefully attract the patronage of a new customer base that will not only benefit Global Mamas but also the artists of the Minneapolis community.




12/1/2008 :: Helping Hand from Customers

By Gayle Pescud and Alice Grau

Helping Hand from Customers

In early 2008 Sandra Crismon from Just Creations, a US customer, joined Global Mamas in Ghana to volunteer and assist in developing new bead products. Gayle Pescud interviewed Sandra via email.


Just Creations has always enjoyed the Global Mamas product and Sandra Crismon, has seen a fair share of the product during her time working with the organization. When Sandra discovered that Global Mamas was going to be launching a new line of recycled glass beads she became interested in volunteering to help with the upstart location in Krobo-Odumase. As a designer of glass bead products herself, she was excited for the opportunity not only to share her skills with GM, but also to learn about the recycled glass bead making traditions of Ghana.


As Education Coordinator at Just Creations, Sandra also notes that "part of my job is to go out and talk to the public in different forums about fair trade. Having gone to Ghana and met artisans working for Global Mamas has given me first-hand experience I can draw on in talking to the public about fair trade".


During her time as a volunteer, Sandra says she was given the freedom to create without constraints. She was happy to be part of one of the fundamental advantages for fair trade artisans, that is, design assistance being provided when needed. "I believe in that process and was glad to be a part of it.


One of the new products that Sandra helped create was the Spirit of Africa Jewelry set. She bought a bag charm that was introduced with the original line of GM jewelry because she loved the colors so much and turned them into a bracelet and earrings. She sent the photos to GM which inspired the creation of a complete set of jewelry in 2 color schemes. Sandra says that she is "always very proud when we sell one of the Spirit of Africa pieces".


Witnessing the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in product development has given Sandra a greater appreciation of what goes into getting fair trade products to the US market. It has also encouraged Sandra in her work to educate the public about the challenges of getting fair trade products made. Sandra muses, "To us, boxes just appear with all these fantastic things that we sell! I now know how much incredibly hard work goes into getting products designed, getting all the materials for those products, and getting those products made and shipped to customers like us."


This was not Sandra's first visit to a developing country so she was prepared for some of the challenges of spending time in a developing country. For instance, the sanitation and living conditions are something she embraces as part of "our experience of the world, because you get a taste of how most of the world lives." She also says that an experience that takes you outside of developed countries can teach you how much one can take for granted. Also, the health precautions such as being careful about the water you drink and the way you prepare your food as well as getting shots and taking anti-malarial medication can be some of the more difficult parts of an experience volunteering for Global Mamas.


Overall, Sandra was very inspired by learning how Global Mamas was founded and how the founders have stayed true to their ideals. Sandra says, "Renae and Kristin are a testament to what dedicated individuals can do if they put their minds to it. I often emphasize this when I am talking to younger people who feel overwhelmed by the problems of the world and feel like they can't possibly make a difference."




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