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Apwoyo Matek (It means: "Thankyou very much")

About

Apwoyo Matek ("Thankyou very much" in Acholi) is the name of a programme organised by a women's group called Pi Kwo Tek, based in the Bardege Division of the town of Gulu, Northern Uganda. The group support themselves by producing the beautiful jewellery that you can see on this page. Building on existing collaboration between this community and members of SEED,  in 2019 they invited us to join their project by bringing jewellery to the UK to sell on their behalf. Members of SEED, including our students, volunteer to sell the jewellery (or simply buy some themselves!) and every penny of the proceeds go directly back to the group.

Members of the Pi Kwo Tek group

This project is so special because it was developed by the women themselves. They have been making and selling the jewellery in Uganda for many years prior to inviting SEED to become involved. The jewellery is beautiful, we had been bringing it back as gifts for families and friends ourselves for several years before we started bringing it back to sell! The group contacted us through Agness Akello, who is the local health volunteer and one of the main organisers of the group - Agness has worked closely with SEED researchers for many years, including on related Social Responsibility projects such as Community Mapping Uganda.

The jewellery is handmade using traditional techniques

The group was originally primarily intended to support child-mothers, though now includes many members who are vulnerable in other ways too, including widows, orphans and victims of gender-based violence. Few have a regular income or a formal education. The group pool their savings to ensure that no-one goes without and that their money is secure, and as well as building craft skills for members, they share important knowledge on topics such as gender-based violence, HIV, finance and parenting. They even offer micro-loans to members, to help them to develop potential income streams and sharing the interest amongst the group.

Members of SEED visited the group to discuss the project in December 2019

Teaching each other to make jewellery and other craft items (such as mats and bags) allows the group to provide an income for themselves, allowing them to continue to support their members. By selling the jewellery, our volunteers allow the group to increase their income, and therefore improve the quality of life for the members and their children.

Here are some examples of the group's jewellery that we have brought back to the UK:

Examples of the Apwoyo Matek jewellery collection

The long-term goal of the group is to make enough money to allow the group to open a market stall in Gulu to grow their business. They want to be able to pay for the education of their members and their children, many of whom have not had the opportunity to attend school. The Apwoyo Matek project has also been able to recruit sponsors in order to fund places at good quality boarding schools for orphaned children in the care of the group. This provides them with a safe place to live and a good-quality education, which has the potential to make a significant difference to their futures.

If you would like more information, to volunteer to help sell the jewellery, or to buy some directly, then please contact Jonny Huck, Director of Social Responsibility, SEED.

Created By
Jonny Huck
Appreciate

Credits:

Rebecca Huck, Timna Denwood, and Jonny Huck