In Malawi, as across much of Africa and Asia, wood carvings are two-a-penny and when we first met Bangwe Club founders Roderick and Dave they were struggling to make ends meet.
People of the Sun encouraged the men to join forces and helped them develop new products, like the sleeping animal pots and animal magnets, to stand out from the crowd. The Bangwe Club now employs six carvers and has moved from Roderick’s house to a new workshop.
Wood is one of Malawi’s most readily-available natural resources but deforestation blights much of the country as trees are cut down for export, construction and firewood. So although wood-carving is often cited as a cause of deforestation, the reality is that craft only accounts for a tiny percentage of all wood uses and wood carving can improve sustainability if practised correctly. Proper dialogue and partnership between carvers and the forestry departments is key to PS processes.