In 2010, Shared Interest Foundation was awarded a 3.5 year grant from Comic Relief to work with socially minded handcraft producers in Swaziland, to support them to grow into sustainable businesses that could employ more people in their communities and introduce them to the full benefits of fair trade. The need for the project was clear with 69% of Swaziland's one million people living below the poverty line.

Swaziland Craft Development Project 

Over the last three years we have worked in partnership with SWIFT (Swaziland Fair Trade) to support a total of 146 businesses. The project worked on a three tier approach and supported businesses at different stages of development from small enterprises (street sellers) to established businesses who were already exporting.

The project was a huge success and created a total of 267 new jobs, raised the incomes of 5328 individual producers by over 40% and had 22 new businesses registered, transforming informal street selling artisans into fully operational businesses. Significantly the majority of the producers are women (94%) in a country where women are legally considered minors and are economically under-represented. It also successfully implemented an HIV in the workplace policy in 17 of the 20 more developed businesses in the programme, a significant step in a country where 39% of the population are living with HIV-AIDS, the highest adult prevalence rate in the world.

One of the biggest achievements of the project has been the successful creation of a fair trade support network in Swaziland, through SWIFT, who have developed into an effective, reputable business support organisation selling a quality training programme.

"What SWIFT has done to us money cannot buy. SWIFT has broken barriers, barriers between whites and blacks, barriers between millionaires and the poor, barriers to markets for entrepreneurs".

                                                            Raymond Mhishi - Artisan

Read about the impact of the project on Baobab Batik here.


                                 Comic Relief       SWIFT Logo 2