To empower rural women through regenerative fashion (soil to soil products) and capacity building programs. Through nature based solutions we contribute to regenerative community development, gender equality, and environmental regeneration.
To empower rural communities to be more resilient and self-reliant, healthy and equitable by providing them with the necessary skills, resources and facilitation.
Seeds & Stories is guided by the permaculture ethics Care of the Earth, Care of People and Future Care. Everything we do is underpinned by our core values of equity, active participation, transparency, diversity, and compassion.
In 2018, Margarida Vasconcelos visited the town of Bigodi, Uganda as a community-based tourist and was introduced to traditional basket weaving by women artisans. During this time she learned about the economic, social, and environmental issues that women in Bigodi were facing. In 2020, many of these issues, such as poverty, food insecurity, and a lack of sufficient economic opportunities were worsened due to the pandemic and a complete halt to ecotourism in the area.
At this time, Margarida approached John Tinka, the founder of The Kibale Association For Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) and Betty Tinka, the chairwomen of Bigodi Women's Group, to come up with an alternative form of employment for women in the town that had traditionally sold souvenirs. In October 2020 they conducted, on behalf of Seeds & Stories, a survey of local women regarding their interests, challenges and aspirations. The survey demonstrated that they have identified a lack of sustainable income as their biggest challenge and clearly demonstrated a strong interest by local women to be involved in a new income generating project.
Margarida travelled again to Bigodi in the summer of 2021 and after having initial meetings with community leaders, she met with a group of local women who confirmed the urgency to develop income generating alternatives outside of mainstream tourism. Through additional stakeholder interviews with local development and conservation experts, Margarida learned that there was also a strong need to revive traditional farming methods and introduce alternative sources of livelihood that could work in harmony with nature.
Margarida thoroughly explained the project, its aims, values and activities to the group of women who welcomed and showed their willingness to be a part of Seeds and Stories. In fact, they didn't waste time in setting up an executive committee and electing their chairperson, Stella Mbabazi. Seeds and Stories was then officially launched in September 2021, when our constitution was unanimously approved and we registered as a community-based organisation.
Moving forward, Seeds and Stories is currently focused on developing quality hand-made products that support the livelihoods of women artisans in Bigodi, as well as new training programs that provide skills and environmental knowledge to the broader community. We have been busy implementing a circular business model and regenerative approach, which allows us to provide more socio-economic opportunities and diversified sources of income to our artisan partners.
Our long term objectives are to provide sustainable livelihoods for local women, create greater food security, advance gender equality, and promote environmental regeneration. Our hope is that our organisation's work in Bigodi can serve as a pilot project, which can be adapted to other rural communities in Eastern Africa. We invite our readers to follow Seeds and Stories’ journey as we progress towards these goals.
We are incredibly honoured to have been awarded the 2021 Regenerative Travel Impact Award in the Community category.
The Regenerative Travel Impact Awards celebrate people and projects that embody the spirit of regeneration—improving people’s lives, our communities, and the world around us.Learn more
We are honoured to be part of Good Market. Good Market is a curated platform for people creating a better world.Learn more
Seeds & Stories is a proud member of the Nest Artisan Guild, a global community of more than 400 artisan businesses practicing diverse craftsmanship across over 50 nations. In partnership with Nest, a non-profit 501(c)3, we are working towards a more inclusive global economy that brings increased opportunity to our artisans, their families, and our communities. To learn more, please visit www.buildanest.orgLearn more
The Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network is a United Nations (UN) hosted online platform for industry stakeholders, media, Governments, and UN system entities. The network showcases and enables collaborations that accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Seeds & Stories is proud to be part of the UN Partnership for SDGs online platform. To learn more, please visit https://sdgs.un.org/partnerships/seeds-and-storiesLearn more