Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chaka MarketBridge



Jacobo is one of 4,000 potters in the small Nicarguan town of San Juan de Oriente, population 5,600. Beginning at the age of eight, he was taught to be an artisan by his mother as she was taught by her's. Jose recently remodeled his house from the proceeds of his pottery and Pedro, who has been a potter since the age of 12, wants to buy a lot to build a home for his family. The pots these artists make are some of the most beautiful earthenware pots I’ve seen yet suffer in comparison to the actual pot in one’s hand.



One big problem for any artist in Nicaragua is how to escape the local market dependent on tourism and plug in to the global marketplace. Enter Chaka MarketBridge.

Chaka MarketBridge’s goal is to be that global marketplace. “To be the bridge that allows the world to discover these amazing artisans, helping them sell their beautiful art and gain a fair income …And to bring to life their hope for a better future.”



Chaka MarketBridge purchases pots from the artisans at their asking price. Many times, artisans actually offer their products too low. If so, Chaka tells them they will pay them more. Many times the artisan really doesn’t know the real value of his or her products.



The important point to note is that Chaka pays their artisans fair wages in accordance with the fair trade federation. This is an organization that is sort of a consumer stamp of approval indicating that Chaka pays fair prices to their artisans. According to the fair wage calculator by World of Good Chaka even pays 300% over fair trade prices. This calculation is based on cost of living, price of materials, etc.

The goal of Chaka MarketBridge is to lift developing communities through the local market; it is not to replace that local market. The aim is to grow each artisan’s annual income by 25%, per year.



That’s enough to allow them to live significantly better, to send their children to school, to eat more meals at home. But, it is not enough to to be wholly dependent on Chaka.
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