Non Kene

What We Do

Project “Non Kene” (Shipibo for 'Our Designs') responds to requests from Indigenous Shipibo women and youth for assistance in their artisanal enterprises, and their desire to take action in ensuring the vitality of their cultural practices and their rights as traditional knowledge holders and Indigenous women. The project offers a holistic program of cultural regeneration, leadership and creative industries development within the context of a rights based approach to development and women’s empowerment. It will support these Indigenous women as designers and artists in their own right through the establishment of a collective design brand, and more broadly provide training and mentoring to develop capabilities and gain confidence to participate more fully in society as leaders, entrepreneurs and role models in their communities.

The goal is cultivate the right to self determination, providing culturally appropriate livelihoods for Shipibos that place control of culture in the hands of Shipibos, reaffirming pride in Indigenous identity and supporting the continuation of eroded cultural practices while increasing income among artisans and youth of the Shipibo tribe. 

Why supporting Shipibo artisans is important?

The Shipibo Peoples of the Amazon suffer some of the most extreme poverty in Latin America and their lifestyles and cultures are exploited not only by extractive industries, but middle men and vendors of indigenous artisanal products and art.

After agriculture, artisan activity is the second largest employer in the developing world (The Aspen Institute, n.d.) and has a significant role in creating culturally appropriate livelihoods. 80% of Shipibo women gain some income from selling artisanal products, mostly by sitting on the side of the road selling to tourists in contexts in which they are vulnerable to both economic, sexual and other forms of exploitation. 

Selling artisanal products is the way the majority of Shipibo women meet their families basic needs. However, artisans often receive a reduced price for their products due to exploitative practices of middle men and vendors in Peru, and barriers to direct access of international markets. Online sales of Shipibo artisanal products by foreigners have increased, as has the appropriation of their designs in mass manufacturing without permission.

Our project does not only present an alternative to existing models of fair trade, it provides a solution that elevates the female artisan out of the role of solely being the producer of their traditional designs and art, while others receive the majority of profits, value, and control over operations and creative decisions. We intend to create a reference point for what really is fair and show that indigenous communities can be at the center of managing and controlling the use of their culture in a modern context for the future. 

We are excited to share that Non Kene is collaborating with the mothers of the artisan cooperative Maroti Xobo to put on the first 'Shipibo Natural Dyes Course' from July 30th to August 3rd 2018. For more information, click here.