Trustee Spotlight: KICK Trading - Recyclemania

Kisumu Innovation Center Kenya (KICK) Trading’s mission is to revive community livelihood by connecting the Kenyan artisans to markets all over the world.
We had the pleasure of visiting KICK a few weeks ago and getting a glimpse into this innovative organization using recycled materials around Lake Victoria to change the lives of local artisans.
KICK-star team who showed us around

KICK Trading serves as an umbrella organization to local artisans, helping them find markets within and outside Kenya.  All products are made from recycled waste materials including:
  • Papyrus and water hyacinth and other lake weeds
  • Wires from old fridge compressors, air conditioners, car alternators
  • Copper wire
  • Food tin cans

Street boys normally collect the materials and sell it to KICK Trading.   Once the waste arrives it goes through a process to be cleaned and then artisans select what can actually be used.  We watched one of our borrowers sort through the soda tin covers, discarding those that were too damaged to use and ultimately selecting the pieces best suited for earrings.
Borrower selecting soda tin covers

One of my favorite things about KICK Trading is how you don’t need to be an artisan to join.  Everyone is free to join, even if you have no prior skills.   Most people find out about KICK Trading through word of mouth.  Once they join, KICK Trading provides a comprehensive training and mentorship program to help develop artisans.  They also have regular training sessions on entrepreneurship, product development, and designing.
As one of our borrowers said: “We are products of KICK!”

All of this support also comes with room for creativity and innovation.  Each artisan plays his part working independently to find new markets.  Additionally, each artisan is given an opportunity to introduce new products to the market. 
If the product is adopted by KICK Trading, the artisan who designed the product receives a higher cut of the profits from the sale of the new item.  That individual is also given the opportunity to train the other artisans in building the product.

Today KICK Trading has about 40 artisans.  They have been a Trustee with Kiva Zip since January 2013.  KICK Trading decided to become a Trustee with Kiva Zip in order to enable artisans to have improved access to trade opportunities by improving their businesses both in quantity and quality. 
They have endorsed 15 loans and have a 100% repayment rate!
Michael (Kiva Zip Borrower) with some of the products he has developed

About the author

Duda Cardoso