Labelled with Love

I may well be the only person who ‘gets’ the referral to the old Squeeze hit song ‘Labelled with Love’, but it seems an apt way to spread the news that the labels we and Luca Borghesio (the Italian researcher who we’re most closely working with) designed to attach to the woollen products made by the Njabini Wool-spinning Workshop in Kinangop have arrived!

Hang on…Woolshop? Kinangop? As not everyone in the world reads this blog (I don’t understand why, but it appears to be true) maybe a quick ‘fyi’ might be useful…

Talking Naturally is a partner of an excellent community conservation initiative in Kenya, based in an area near Nairobi called Kinangop. I’m working with the Friends of Kinangop Plateau, a local NGO, to support efforts to protect the highly-threatened Kinangop Grasslands, home to the endemic and Endangered Sharpe’s Longclaw. Part of the strategy is to help promote eco-tourism to the area, and another is to support and advise the potentially very important Njabini Wool-spinning Workshop.

The aim of the Workshop is to help halt the conversion of the grasslands. Huge areas of native tussock grasslands are being converted to agriculture, which drives out the Sharpe’s Longclaw which use the tussocks for nesting: if local farmers can be given a market for wool products then they can be encouraged to rear sheep which are far less damaging to the local environment. Started by volunteers just a few years ago the rugs and bags being produced by the workshop are improving in quality rapidly, and they are now close to the stage where an overseas market could open up…


njabini woolshop

When I visited the wool-spinning workshop earlier in the year, though, I noticed that there was virtually no way of identifying the source of the wool products – something that was clearly necessary once the product was away from the shop (either taken home by a purchaser or on sale in another retail outlet). What was needed was a simple label to attach to the rugs etc…

‘Simple’ is not always applicable to projects involving a range of NGOs and interested parties (as the jargon might put it), but we managed to get a design accepted within a few weeks, everyone involved agreed the wording we’d use, the funds to pay for production were raised (special thanks are due here to David Fox who has become a major part of our project and has already donated over 1000GBP to the work we’re doing). I searched the internet to find a good, high-quality manufacturer here in the UK who could produce a label that would enhance the products made at Njabini, and they produced a sample for me to check. I okayed the samples and two weeks later the finished labels are here…and I think they look pretty darn good…


njabini woolshop kinangop
Label front and rear

njabini woolshop kinangop
Labelled with Love: I’m not sure I’ve got the scale right, and obviously the labelled side of the rug would probably face the wall, but you get the general idea…

 

Now I just have to get them out to Kenya…

 

Those of you who have been following this story might also remember that we have been designing a leaflet to hand out at the woolshop and with the rugs…Well, at the moment a final draft that Luca and I worked on is with Nature Kenya (the BirdLife International partner in Kenya) who may (or may not) alter a few bits and bobs before going ahead and publishing. As soon as I get a copy of the finished leaflet I’ll upload a .pdf copy for anyone interested to have a look.

 


 

For much more information about Sharpe’s Longclaw, the Friends of Kinangop Plateau, and the Njabini Woolshop please see our ‘gateway page’ at FOKP.

 

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About the author

Passionate about animal welfare and conservation, veggie and dairy-free, I live in the Wiltshire (UK) countryside. I birded the world for twenty years before quitting my airline job and am now freelance. I co-founded Birders Against Wildlife Crime and Birds Korea. Trustee of the League against Cruel Sports On Twitter @charliemoores

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