Bringing IP and Branding to Basket Weaving in Kenya

March 17, 2016

A training workshop for a branding project took place on February 17 and 18, 2016 in Voi (Kenya), bringing together 30 female basket weavers from surrounding small villages. The objective was to learn the importance of the trademark system, standards and quality control for branding products.

In February, Voi (Kenya) hosted a workshop of basket weavers, representing their respective basket-weaving groups, in Taita Taveta County.

A family art

A “Taita Basket” is the collective name of the sisal baskets made by women in Taita Taveta County. The baskets are laboriously crafted according to the traditional art from hand-twisted thin sisal fibers dyed with natural plants. They are remarkably soft, thanks to the tightly woven fine mesh and they boast resistance to color fading. The knowledge of basket making has been passed down from mothers to daughters from generation to generation.

Basket weaving in a local village (Photo: WIPO)

Unlocking the power of IP

The workshop was the first step in a multi-step intellectual property-related branding project focusing on Taita Baskets. The all-female participants welcomed the idea of having a collective mark to protect and promote their baskets as a brand. They also learned the importance of standards and quality control through lectures and exercises provided by experts.

During subsequent on-site training sessions in two villages, the trainees shared with other group members what they had learned and discussed in the workshop: IP knowledge, standards, quality control and how to form an association, etc.

A trainee shares her knowledge with other basket weavers in her village (Photo: WIPO)
Lecture on quality improvement by basket making experts (Photo: WIPO)
Mr. Toshiyuki Machida giving opening remarks (Photo: WIPO)
I hope this project will become a successful example of how to enhance the brand value of African products by leveraging IP”  Opening remarks, Mr. Toshiyuki Machida, Third Secretary, Embassy of Japan in Kenya.

The workshop was organized by WIPO, in cooperation with the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), the One Village One Product Program (OVOP) Kenya, and the Taita Taveta County Government.

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