OYETU, “It is Ours” in Oshiwambo, is an outreach skills training program serving disadvantaged people and rural crafters throughout Namibia. The aim is to increase their income-earning potential through hands-on skills training and mentoring in product development, marketing and labelling & packaging of their products. Crafters are taught vocational and business skills, including costing & pricing and bookkeeping, to enable them to start small businesses. OYETU is sponsored by the German organisation Bread for the World, and COSDEF, the Namibia Community Skills Development Foundation. OYETU will ultimately train one group per Region throughout Namibia. All trainings are sponsored and OYETU provides all training materials. OYETU’s goal is for the participants to establish small businesses using the skills they have learned and to create innovative, new product designs. To date OYETU has successfully trained groups in seven Namibian Regions and is currently engaged in identifying groups in the other seven Regions to be trained within the next 5 years if the funding is approved.
The Topnaars are a small community located on the very edge of the Namib Desert and the banks of the Kuiseb River, where the leafless, thorny !Nara melon grows wild. The Topnaars gather and use the !Nara plant as a nutritious food source as well as using it to make many healthful products such as soaps, creams and lotions. They have been taught skills in leather craft and woodcarving jewellery, all made from objects found in their surroundings. Using the technical and business skills taught to them by the COSDEF OYETU Outreach Project, the group members are now able to make and sell products to provide a much needed source of income for them and the local villages.
Scattered in small, remote villages around the vast desert area beneath the Brandberg Mountain, is a group of dedicated crafters who make a variety of arts and crafts to generate income to support their families. With the help of the COSDEF OYETU Outreach Project, they have learned business skills, developed new products, and improved their technical skills. They sell their paper-mache figurines, beadwork, mobiles, embroidery and other creative products at their craft shop near the Sorris-Sorris Conservancy and in gift shops around the region.
The Khorixas fashion design group is truly an inspiring group of ladies who have gone from unemployed to a group of skilled and successful young women, in the short space of 2 years!
After sewing and business training by the OYETU Outreach Project they have learned to create cute, original and highly sellable textile crafts. A novelty item was developed based on the wild life in this area; stuffed animal toys, targeting the tourism market in the Kunene region. They have now formed a business and are selling their unique, locally-made products to tourists by marketing them to craft and gift shops throughout Namibia.
The Orara Project is a small but industrious group of Herero ladies from Omungambu, who have joined together to form a successful craft business, making and selling a variety of beautiful textile products. They sell their colorful bags, pillows, potholders, and other items, at a craft market by the side of the road near the Augab River. Their beautiful Herero dolls, in their traditional dresses and trademark “horned” head wraps, and with perfect, tiny, fingered hands, are a big favourite with tourists.
The Oshana Region is home to a talented group of ladies who, with the help of the COSDEF OYETU Outreach Project’s fashion design experts and business trainers, have turned their ordinary sewing skills to the wonderful world of fashion design. The ladies have learned to go beyond the “meme dress” to make imaginative, unique designs for all occasions for both men and women. They are now embarking on fascinating careers in businesses, catering to the fashionable ladies and gents of the
The Onankali Mahangu Paper-Making Project is a longstanding cooperative located in northern Namibia, which has been making paper from the stalks of the mahangu plant. With the help of the OYETU Project’s visual arts experts and business trainers, the cooperative has added new dimensions to its business by improving its management operations and creating amazing new designs, motifs and products reflecting Namibian identity, to help give the business a new life through innovation! The group is further also being trained in the use of existing, unutilized, donated equipment.
The Opuwo Hona-Hona Leather Crafters is located in the heart of the Himba cattle country, the perfect location for this up-and-coming group of young, ambitious leather workers. Building on centuries of traditional leatherwork experience within the local communities, the OYETU Project has trained these young people in the fine art of leather working, as well as in business skills. They are now producing handsome leather products, such as purses, bags and sandals, and have formed a group to turn their skills into an income generating business to benefit their families and communities.