Here at Boco Baby, we spend our days dreaming about all the beautiful babes who are being lovingly awaited, happily welcomed, or joyfully celebrated with each sweet item we ship.
We smile at the carefully chosen names transposed next to colorful designs - flowers, ladybugs, anchors, giraffes, elephants….
Which is why the message we want to share today is so important. What if the sweet babe who today sports his new elephant outfit lives to see a time when there are no elephants? Will another baby cherish her minky blanket not only because it’s a beloved childhood keepsake, but also because it helps her remember the days when there were elephants roaming this planet?
And not just elephants — lions, zebras, leopards… so many of Africa’s wild animals are in danger.
But we can help!
Another Colorado small business, founded and run by a close childhood friend, Marissa Saints, is working to help put a stop to poaching in Africa. And it doesn’t end there. She does this while also supporting women, many of them mothers and widows, working in Zambia. I sat down with her this weekend to learn more, because we want to help spread the word about this amazing company, doing amazing work, through both fair trade and anti-poaching efforts. Pledges start at just $10, and depending on the pledged amount you may get some of the first and unique snare wire jewelry yourself!
Marissa, why did you start Dsenyo?
I was inspired to start Dsenyo after living in Malawi, Africa. I was both inspired by the strength of the women I met and frustrated by how few jobs and economic opportunities there were for them. The women we work with are often widows because of the AIDS epidemic and care for many children including their own, plus other dependents.
Dsenyo (dee-SEN-yo) celebrates beauty and empowerment. Our line of fair trade goods includes jewelry, handbags, ethical fashion, baby/toddler apparel and gifts. Each fair trade product is handcrafted by women and artisans in Africa and Brazil working to build a better life and inspire social change in their communities.
Since helping women work their way out of poverty was your focus, how did you get into championing wildlife conservation and anti-poaching?
Last year (2014) Dsenyo started a partnership with a jewelry artisan group in Zambia, Africa. Through working with this group, I became aware of the gravity of the poaching crisis. The artisans live in a village at the entrance to South Luangwa National Park which is a refuge for iconic African species like elephants, lions, hippos, giraffe and more. Problem is, the park is also targeted by poachers and it’s getting worse.In this small area of Zambia alone, every single year 8,000 animals are lost to poaching. In Africa as a whole, an elephant is killed by poachers every 15 minutes which means that over the past 3 years we have lost 100,000 elephants. I never thought a majestic animal like elephants would go extinct. However, they are severely threatened since more elephants are being killed each year than are being born. They won’t be able to survive if this crisis continues. That’s true for lions as well which are already extinct in seven African countries.
I’m a mom and want my kids to grow up in a world where these animals not only exist but thrive. With this knowledge of the poaching crisis, I feel a responsibility to respond, and Dsenyo is in a position to do so!
How did the Kickstarter campaign come together?
Dsenyo is running a Kickstarter campaign right now to help us crowdfund the launch of a new line of snare wire jewelry. We are really excited about the snare wire jewelry because it brings together several issues and gives people a chance to be part of a solution. Not only does this jewelry create jobs and empower women, it also helps fund effective anti-poaching work in Zambia. Dsenyo donates $5 from the sale of each piece of jewelry back to partner anti-poaching non-profits who are on the front lines fighting the poaching crisis. These donations really add up quickly and it’s a lasting solution. By contributing to the campaign we are not just making a one-time donation to anti-poaching but launching a line of jewelry that will be sold for years to come, guaranteeing on-going funding for these efforts. That’s exciting!
What is snare wire and how is it transformed into jewelry?
Snare wire trapping is the most common form of poaching in this part of Zambia. It’s cheap and easy for the poachers who steal the wire from various sources and hide their traps in the long grasses of the savannahs. Snare wire trapping is also one of the most deadly and indiscriminate forms of poaching. The traps catch anything and everything that step into them (baby elephant, zebra, leopard, etc) and have devastating effects on the wildlife causing slow painful deaths.
Dsenyo partners with anti-poaching teams that patrol the area looking to arrest poachers, rehabilitate injured animals caught in snares and locate snare wire traps BEFORE animals are caught in them. The snares that are found and disassembled before animals are trapped are then transformed into beautiful jewelry by Dsenyo’s partner artisan group. It’s a beautiful partnership and benefits both people and animals.
The designs will be made with actual confiscated snare wire collected by anti-poaching patrols. The jewelry is meticulously, hand-crafted by the women and artisans at Mulberry Mongoose, Dsenyo's partner artisan group in Zambia, Africa.
With each piece of jewelry sold FIVE dollars is generated for two partner conservation groups in Zambia leading the fight against poaching! The TWIST in the design represents uniting people all over the world to strengthen each other in the fight against poaching.
How can I (someone half a world away) help?
• Please watch the video (2 min):
• Consider supporting our Kickstarter campaign. There are awesome rewards you get to choose from when you pledge including beautiful jewelry for a beautiful cause AND an amazing safari package.
• Get the word out by sharing the campaign on your social media pages (FB, Twitter, Instagram). Here’s the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dsenyo/snare-wire-jewelry-conserving-african-wildlife-dse
• Help us go viral. Share this Buzzfeed post: http://www.buzzfeed.com/dsenyo/lions-and-elephants-and-hippos-oh-my-1feqe