Johanna Rohde came to us a few months ago to design a logo for a business that’s inspirational to all of us. Operating at the intersection of female empowerment, art, and environment, Chibote Women contributes to bettering the world in more ways than one. We asked her a few questions before the business was active online, but since then, the business has grown to include both a website and a Facebook page. We knew Johanna’s answers to our questions would inspire our readers, so we had to feature them in a company spotlight.
What inspired you to start a business?
Chibote Women is a small business of 16 craftswomen in rural Zambia, weaving beautiful baskets out of local grasses and recycled plastic bags. It was a happy meeting of the minds when I was volunteering with the Peace Corps and I started working with Chibote Women’s club. The women knew that they wanted to start a business but weren’t sure what to do or how to get it up and running. Working together, the Chibote Women and I identified their skill in basket weaving and found a local market for the products…and the rest is history in the making! This business is an incredible combination of artistic creativity, environmental resource management and clean-up, and women’s empowerment.
What have been your biggest challenges?
One of the biggest challenges that we are facing now is how to make an online presence for the business. Lack of general literacy and access to electricity/internet certainly require creative maneuvering, not to mention that none of us have a background in branding, so we feel completely out of our element. Logojoy was SUCH a help because it was accessible, easy to use and made designing a logo fun! We have a long way to go to get our business online, but it’s nice to have jumped our first hurdle.
What are your goals?
We are working to provide a liveable wage for each woman in the group. We want to increase the standard of living at the house hold level; ensuring that each child goes to school, each family has a balanced and sufficient diet, and individual financial goals of each family are attainable.
We want our impact to be positive, both in the community and to the local environment. As such, we are championing women to start businesses, knowing that these women will have the financial resources and decision making power in the household to invest back into their families and communities; pushing education, hard work, persistence in the face of hardship and sound money management.
We are actively cleaning up the litter in our community, using plastic waste to create beautiful crafts. We are educating the community on the detrimental effects of bush burning. Knowing that our business, and therefore the livelihoods of the community families, depend on the growth of the local grasses encourages the community to be good stewards of their environmental resources.