Friday, January 30, 2015

The Crafting of a Craft Fair

We are coming to the end of our second week in the office here in Bolgatanga – and it’s already going quickly! Over the past fortnight we have been travelling around the town to visit the various crafts groups that TradeAID works with to introduce ourselves as the new cohort. A key activity within TradeAID’s INCOME Project is running training sessions with the groups for business skills such as bookkeeping, and so our visits were partially to establish who is still interested in receiving these sessions, which turned out to be all of them. Our second aim was to get feedback from the crafts people who took part in BICAF.

BICAF stands for Bolgatanga International Crafts and Arts Fair, and was held for the first time in December 2014 by the previous cohort. The fair is held to meet one of the criteria for Bolga to become a Fair Trade Town, and if this is achieved, Bolga would be only the second Fair Trade Town in the whole of Africa. The event was hosted in conjunction with the Rural Enterprise Programme (REP) Annual Client and Trade Show, and aims to stand as a platform for promoting fair trade in the town. From the feedback we received from the crafts groups it was clear to see that after only one event, it was considered a great success.

The local artisans who had stalls at the event explained that their sales had greatly increased over the four-day fair compared to their day-to-day trade. They also told us that they managed to make links with traders from other regions of Ghana, helping to expand their markets and promote Bolga’s diverse craft sector elsewhere. However, one of the main points the artisans made was that they needed much more notice in advance of the event to prepare their products in bulk, especially to make the most out of the Christmas period.

Therefore we are already making plans and preparations for the next BICAF at the end of the year to ensure that it will be bigger and better than ever for the crafts groups of Bolgatanga. Here’s a video of the event last December to give a taste of what will be in store for next time! In the meantime, if you’re interested in buying any of the wonderful products in support of the Bolga crafts artisans then head to our Etsy page at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TradeAID?page=1.

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