Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Awava Last Minute Holiday Sale @ The Bourgeois Pig-Lawrence, KS

If you find yourself searching for that perfect, one of a kind, socially conscious holiday gift at the last minute, join us at The Pig!

Come peruse Awava's latest goodies, welcome Kate von Achen back from Uganda (sorry, again for a limited time) and enjoy some delicious coffee, cocktails and hors d'ouvres!

See you at The Pig!

Where: 6 E. 9th St. - Lawrence, Kansas
When: December 23rd
Time: 5pm until 8pm

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Awava plus 24 other fabulous vendors will be present at this expanded LOLA event! The "Adornment" show, by Van Go's JAMS youth artists, will be available for sale along with a HUGE selection of handmade holiday products at LOLA's biggest show EVER!

Click here for a complete list of vendors!

For a preview of some of our fantastical Awava products, please visit the new Awava website

New Awava Products Arriving Oh So Very Soon!

Our Olunaku purse is a beautifully tailored bag perfect for any occasion. It is a medium-sized purse which can be worn over the shoulder or across the chest. Olunaku is padded throughout with contrasting liner and two inner pockets, this purse makes organization easy! Crafted by Lucy in Gulu, Uganda.

13” tall x 14” wide x 4.5” deep; 20” straps

Our Essuubi purse is an intricately crafted bag with unlimited uses! Essuubi is padded throughout with multiple inner and outer pockets making organization key. The two outer pockets fit a 16oz. water bottle perfectly, and the inner pockets can fit phones, external hard drives, diapers, you name it! The padding and pockets make Essuubi perfect to use as a diaper bag, laptop bag or for everyday use! Crafted by TEXDA in Kampala, Uganda.

11.5” long x 13” wide x 4.5” deep; 36” strap

With four card holders, three bill-sized pockets and one zippered coin pocket, the Mukimpe wallet is a playful and stylish way to keep your cash, cards and coins organized.

7.5" long, 4" tall; inner zip pocket: 6.5" x 3.25";
inner open pockets (3): 6.5" x 3.25"; 4 credit card holders

The Owino tote is compact when zipped and easy to carry with you wherever you go. Available in a variety of prints, it makes a fashionable and conscientious accessory for any shopping excursion.

Purse strap: 27.5”; 10.5" wide, 13" tall, 6" deep with an 11.5" hanging strap

Awava @ LOLA Holiday Sale!

It's time for the LOLA Holiday Sale and Awava will be participating again alongside Lawrence's most talented female artists and artisans!

Please join us at Greenroom Salon at 924 1/2 Massachusetts Street Saturday 13 December from 1-7pm to pick up your one-of-a-kind holiday gifts for those you love!

For a list of vendors please visit

Awava Holiday Sale - Kampala!

By popular demand, Awava will be hosting our 2nd annual holiday sale in Kampala giving you the opportunity to give holiday gifts that give back!

Please join us at from 4 until 7pm at Restaurant La Fontaine (opposite Kisementi-next to Iguana)on Saturday 5 December 2009 for hors d'oeuvres, music and shopping!

Awava @ University of Kansas Holiday Sale!

Awava will be one of the many amazing vendors at this year's socially conscious holiday sale at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries building on KU's beautiful campus!

The holiday sale begins Friday, November 27 and ends Thursday December 3!

Come join us and pick some truly unique holiday gifts from our wide array of new and familiar products!

My First Voyage to Acholiland

by Hanna Schwing

In October, I finally made my first trip to Gulu. On Thursday, I went to the bustling Owino market in Kampala, and through talking to a few people in the market and pointing at a piece of paper and a paper bead necklace, tracked down a handful of women selling the types of paper that our artisans in Gulu use to make paper beads. The papers are mainly copies of various booklets, pamphlets, and labels that were misprinted at one of the printing shops that line Nasser Road in Kampala. I dug through a wall of rejected paper goods and eventually chose 12 kilograms of paper.

Friday morning, Kate and I loaded her Toyota Corsa with the 12 kilos of paper and set off for Gulu. Between pedestrians, cyclists, potholes, motorcycle taxis, buses, and a seemingly endless sea of speed bumps, the road from Kampala to Gulu is difficult to navigate. Driving in the equatorial sun for five hours and depending on open windows for cool air does not help the situation. Seeing adorable baboons and monkies running across the road near a wilderness preserve helped lighten our moods, which were soured by what will henceforth be known as The Incident of Loud Shouting and Cursing and Life Flashing Before Our Eyes. The Incident brought the Awava Uganda team mere inches away from being completely obliterated by a passing bus and/or killing two tired cyclists. Fortunately, Kate's eyes-squeezed-shut-in-fear driving technique delivered us safely in Gulu.

Arriving in Gulu was a relief. While Kampala is a bustling and difficult to navigate city, Gulu is a small and calm town. Kate and I breathed our first calm breaths after the drive at the Hotel Kakanyero's Ostrich Room. The room is designated by its painting of an ostrich graffitied to wear a monocle and a top hat--brilliant! Lucy, the main tailor with whom Awava works, warmly greeted us with a brief chat and a ginger beer. After dinner, Kate and I promptly passed out from exhaustion and awoke the next morning refreshed and ready to work.

Following a complimentary breakfast of cold Spanish omelets, and after watching a throng of pedestrians participate in Gulu Walk, Kate and I walked to Lucy's stall in the main Gulu market. Having traversed the crowded paths of Owino market in Kampala, I found the Gulu market absolutely spacious. You may have to jump over a few open streams draining from a hair salon, but no one gives you a concussion and pushes you into the drain when they walk by carrying a 20 kilo sack of grain on their head. We quickly arrived at Lucy's stall, which has a new sign designating it as Mama Lucy's Friendship Store. The stall is quite small and somehow fits a mind-boggling amount of fabric, foam, finished tailored products and four foot treadle sewing machines. Kate and I met the three new tailors that were working at Lucy's stall, counted the products ready from our last order, and purchased fabric to place a new order.

Over lunch, Kate and I assigned fabrics to products and wrote out our order. We then met with Lanyero Florence and Oneka Richard. Florence is the unofficial leader of Konye Keni, a group of women who make paper bead necklaces to supplement their income. Her brother, Richard, helped organize Konye Keni and introduced Awava to the group. We purchased some of the colorful necklaces Florence brought with her, gave her the 12 kilos of paper I had bought on Thursday, and discussed our next order.

At the end of the day, we made another short trip to Lucy's stall to place our order and purchase the beautiful new Awava products Lucy and her tailors had made. Kate and I agreed to soon send liner fabric and foam from Kampala to Gulu via a postal bus and said our goodbyes to Lucy. We finished off our time in Gulu with a barbecue at an extravagant USAID house. The goal was to relax and do a little schmoozing for Awava before the ride to Kampala. However, my clumsiness is truly epic, and it sought to embarrass me yet again. In case you were not aware, holding a plastic cup of wine with your teeth then tilting your head back to put up your hair is a very, very bad idea. And for some reason, being covered in wine is not so conducive to schmoozing. Surprising, isn't it?

The next morning, we attempted our return to Kampala. We were delayed for half an hour, as two cars had managed to block Kate's car in the compound at our hotel, and their drivers had utterly vanished. When we finally were back on the road, the drive to Kampala was significantly calmer than the drive to Gulu--until we were overtaken by torrential El NiƱo style rain that forced us to stop on the side of the road for twenty minutes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Awava @ Kansas State University Fair Trade Marketplace

Get some early holiday shopping out of the way by joining Awava at the Kansas State University Fair Trade Marketplace!

This event is Wednesday-18 November 2009 from 9am until 7pm and Thursday-19 November from 9am until 7pm in the University Student Union Courtyard.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday to Awava!

Celebrate Awava's 1st birthday by taking 50% off your ENTIRE order at!

Sale lasts until Monday-November 9, 2009. Simply enter coupon code: happybirthday when checking out! Thank you and enjoy!

Check out our NEW SITE!

For the last year, Awava has been working tirelessly to improve the livelihoods of women in Uganda through value addition to their existing skills as well as creating market linkages within the United States and Uganda.

While our first year has seen challenges, the support we have received and rewards every single person on the Awava Team have realized have been beyond belief. We have developed amazing relationships as well as incredible products, laughed and learned and are incredibly excited for the growth that is happening as we start our second year of life!

For our first birthday, the Awava Team has decided to award itself (and its customers) with a new and improved web site! Please visit our site and see the fantastic changes we've made to make your socially conscious shopping experience better than ever!

We would also like to thank Joi at Atomicheart Industries ( for her beautiful hard work. There were so many great concepts the most difficult part for us was choosing which one!

November Awava Events

The holiday season is approaching and Awava is celebrating BIG!

In the month of November our Kansas customers will have the chance to buy in person!

November 18 & 19 Awava will be one of the fantastic vendors at the Kansas State University Fair Trade Marketplace!
Sarah Clark, Awava's representative for this sale, will be available to tell you about the products and the women who make them, as well as her experiences here in Uganda earlier this year!

November 27 - 30, Awava products will be available at the University of Kansas in Lawrence during their annual Fair Trade Holiday Sale at the ECM on campus!

Stay tuned for more December sale dates in: Lawrence, Kansas; Denton, Texas; Houston, Texas as well as Austin, TX!

New Product Coming Soon: Owino Market Bag!

Designed by Anne Britt Torkildsby in partnership with Chrisams Designs, this tote is compact when zipped and easy to carry with you wherever you go. Available in a variety of prints, it makes a fashionable and conscientious accessory for any shopping excursion.

Anne Brit was inspired to design the collapsible tote while working for Design Without Borders. Chrisams Designs, a women's group founded in Uganda in 1987, and registered with the National Association of Women Organisations (NAWOU), expressed interest in creating a bag. Around the same time, several large cities around the world began to ban plastic bags. Thus, Anne Brit designed a tote bag as an environmentally sound alternative to plastic bags.

Other products designed by Anne Britt while she worked with Design Without Borders will soon be available through NAWOU.

The Owino Bag will be available on the Awava site in mid-November!

Artisan Feature: Okoed Vanessa

Okeod Vanessa was born in Soroti and moved to Kamyana in 2006 to study Development Economics at Makerere University on a government scholarship. She completed her coursework in 2009 and is awaiting her exam results.

Vanessa grows her own vegetables, crochets, and enjoys looking after her friend's cat when she is out of town.
Vanessa makes paper bead jewelry to supplement her income in partnership with Uganda Craft.