Over a coffee a month ago in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, our executive director, Ange, met with Susan, the director of the Paper Bag Royals company, a paper bag making company that has been in business since 2008. Whilst discussing business, Susan admitted that she had always wanted to visit Burundi, but had never had the chance to do so. Seeing an opportunity to be hospitable, but also
to share knowledge, Ange invited Susan to Bujumbura, requesting that Susan come and train the artisans of Kaz’O’zah Art in making paper bags. Susan happily accepted!
Paper bag making is big business in Uganda. In 2008, the Ugandan government banned the use of polythene or plastic bags in the country. Since then, paper bag making businesses have sprouted. Plastic bags are to be phased out and replaced with the more environmentally friendly paper versions. Susan saw the business opportunity in 2008 when she started Paper Bag Royals, and she now has 8 full time employees and 3 part time workers.
Kaz’O’zah Art is always looking to create products made from sustainable materials, and the opportunity to have the artisans learn how to make paper bags would not only provide them with a new set of skills, but would allow Kaz’O’zah Art to create sustainable packaging for its products, and for its customers.
Susan arrived in Bujumbura in mid-January, and immediately got to work training 3 artisans – Nicson, Violette and Venuste. The three would themselves become trainers, training other Kaz’O’zah Art artisans. Susan admitted she was impressed with the three, as they picked up the skills very quickly and were soon making paper bags on their own. However, as the artisans discovered, the art of paper bag making requires patience and focus – forgetting one step in the process meant the bag would not work and would have to be started again.
When Nicscon, Venuste and Violette completed their training they received a certificate from Kaz'O'zah Keza, our not for profit arm, and the Paper Bag Royals Company, to recognise their success at gaining new skills.
Whilst the 3 were training, the rest of the artisans were busy making 300 semi-leather and Kitenge tote bags for Econet Wireless. Representatives from the company spotted the paper bag training, stopping to watch the process. The artisans used their new skills and made up some Econet branded bags.
Now our artisans have the skills, why not get your brand noticed with personalised, eco friendly paper bags, like these ones for Econet? We can make large or small bags, in any quantity, ready for your name or logo. Give us a call to find out more!