THE TRIBAL WAY
Tribal Textiles works to create sustainable impact in South Luangwa, Zambia through creativity and craftsmanship by going beyond fair wages, reinvesting in community strengthening initiatives, and supporting local wildlife conservation.
Each of our products is made by hand with respect for the environment and people.
From design to production, we minimize our environmental impact by sourcing locally, using sustainable materials, and repurposing waste.
We go beyond fair wages, providing artisans with the support and resources they need to thrive.
Rooted In Community
Community is at the core of everything we do. Located in a remote region of Zambia, we believe in creating a sustainable impact through grassroots development.
We strive to strengthen our small, rural community by providing artisans with opportunities, creatively supporting conservation, and investing in local initiatives.
Inspired By Africa
Our hand painted textiles blend traditional Batik techniques with contemporary composition and bold colors.
From the animals that roam the land we live in to the iconic motifs of Africa’s vibrant heritage, our textiles draw inspiration from the culture and wildlife that surround us.
How We Operate
We are on a mission to design a community in which the wildlife and people of Zambia thrive and live in prosperous harmony. Providing employment and a source of income to people in a region where wildlife roams the land and jobs are scarce decreases the risk of poaching and deforestation. People living off the land are more likely to lay snares or cut down trees than those with a steady stream of income who are able to pay for basic necessities and put food on the table for their families.
Fair Employment & Medical Care
Each of our employees receive a fair monthly wage, annual paid leave, sick pay, bereavement pay, housing allowance, travel allowance, and benefits that extend beyond their contract. Building on a culture of health and wellness, our employees receive a nutritious breakfast and fresh lunch prepared daily just for them.
We believe in the importance of access to healthcare. We provide our employees with free HIV screening. If an employee tests positive for HIV, we fund their regular follow-up visits. This allows all employees the ability to care for their health and continue working when they otherwise would not be able to.
Research shows that women are more likely to invest their earrings in education and household needs. So, we have made it our mission to employ more women. By challenging gender norms in an area where women typically stay at home, over one third of our employees are female.
Building on our commitment to lessening the gender gap, we provide every woman we employ with a packet of sanitary pads made from bamboo and absorbent fabric that can be reused. This sustainable option reduces the need to buy expensive, single use pads. These products enable women, including their daughters to work or go to school full time throughout the year.
An Educational Work Environment
Most of our employees have been with Tribal Textiles for more than a decade. We believe in the importance of providing employees with opportunities for career development through skills training, promotions, and leadership opportunities.
This commitment is best seen by example. In 2019, Tizaonana, our beloved former Head of Starching, left the company after 20 years to go back to school to pursue his dream of becoming an art teacher. We hope to see more of our employees seek out their dreams.
THE TRIBAL team
2023 Gender Equality
As of 2023 we have 61 active staff members.
62% men and 38% women.
We are continually reviewing our workplace dynamics, and today we celebrate having 38% female employees, which is quite an achievement in a traditional patriarchal society.
To put this into perspective: female employment in Zambia was reported at just 4.4 % in 2020, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators.
purchases that reinvest back
Social & Environmental Impact
Over the years, we have made a conscious effort to give back to the community we live in and protect the wildlife that surrounds us.
GIVING BACK TO WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Zambian Carnivore Programme
We created a Carnivore textile collection that donated back to Zambian Carnivore Project in 2017. In 2023 we will be launching brand new limited edition collection, make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter for the launch announcement!
The Zambian Carnivore Programme carries out vital research into some of Africa’s most endangered species. ZCP also works to protect carnivores in Zambian national parks.
giving back to wildlife conservation
Conservation South Luangwa
We live in a fantastic natural environment and want to preserve it. Conservation South Luangwa is a team of highly-trained wildlife conservationists.
Together with the Zambian National Parks department, CSL does vital work in combating illegal poaching, wildlife trafficking, and human/wildlife conflict.
CSL’s commitment to protecting the thriving wildlife of South Luangwa, makes the national park one of Africa’s most fantastic safari regions.
REINVESTING IN OUR WILDLIFE
Bird Watch Zambia
2022 saw one of our most popular limited edition launches, our Papiko bird range! Giving back to Bird Watch Zambia. Make sure you are subscribed to the newsletter for our next limited edition bird range.
Zambia has 42 internationally recognized Important Bird Areas that Birdwatch Zambia safeguards by working with local schools and communities.
Dedicated to protecting and studying Zambia’s incredible birdlife, the society is run by volunteers who record vital information on bird distributions.
INVESTING TIME FOR OUR COMMUNITY
Have you spotted our adorable tea towels with drawings adorned by children at Malimba school?
We believe that education is crucial in a rural community like ours. Malimba Basic School is our local primary school and the school that most of our staff’s children attend.
Malimba is partly funded by the government with the rest of its funding coming from a number of organizations, including VSIP, Make Me Smile and Tribal Textiles. Our contributions range from supplementing teacher’s pay to providing classroom materials to funding participation in local sports and arts festivals. We also help with building projects to improve the school’s facilities.
Zambia has a high HIV rate. When parents pass away from complications of HIV/AIDS, family members usually take care of the children left behind, but sometimes there is no family. With little support, a local community member started Hanada to provide these children with shelter.
We send Hanada Orphanage a weekly delivery of eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables. We also send a sack of maize each month, ensuring that the children have a healthy and balanced diet.
Every purchase that you make via the Tribal Textiles online website donates directly back to Hanada Orphanage.