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Recycled Flip Flop Dog Sculpture from Kenya

  • Fair Trade Recycled Flip Flop Dog Sculpture from Kenya

Product Description

Recycled flip flop dog sculpture from Kenya. Large measuring approximately 12-1/4" long x 2" wide x 5-1/2" tall. Small measuring 9-1/2" long x 1-1/4" wide x 3-1/4" tall. This fun sculpture came about as an extension to a successful social and environmental initiative known as The FlipFlop Project. The seeds of The FlipFlop Project were planted in 1997 when woman and young people on the islands of the Lamu Archipelago off the northeast coast of Kenya began collecting the flip flops washing up onto Lamu's beaches and turning them into toys, buoys and cushion stuffing. The Lamu Archipelago includes four beautiful islands lying at the confluence of two major ocean currents. The northernmost island of Kiwayu is part of the 250 square kilometer Kiunga Marine National Reserve, where protected mangrove stands, seagrass beds and coral reefs support a variety of marine wildlife, including three species of sea turtle that nest on Kiwayu's beaches. This confluence of ocean currents at the tip of the Lamu Archipelago drags thousands of flip flops washed away from beaches around the world onto the sea turtle nesting grounds. With driftwood and flip flops littering the beaches, female sea turtles struggle to reach nesting sites and hatchlings, already threatened by a variety of predators that lie between the nest site and the water's edge, often fail to reach the safety of the ocean when faced with piles of debris. Just as marine wildlife struggle with the encroachment of human waste, local residents of Lamu face problems of their own. With 95% of the population dependent on the proceeds of tourism, local income dwindles as unsightly beaches and political unrest in East Africa drive away tourists. The FlipFlop Project and UniquEco present a sustainable solution to all three problems. Through the venue of recycled flip flop crafts, the project creates fair trade jobs for locals while facilitating the clean-up of the beaches vital to sea turtle breeding and local tourism. As the commercial arm of the project, UniquEco's mission is, "to work with craftsmen and women from disadvantaged areas to produce and market products made from recycled rubbers, plastics and metals thus improving their well-being, while ensuring that the biological, social and cultural richness of the local people and environment is maintained or bettered”. UniquEco pays Lamu women and teenagers a fair living wage to collect flip flops from the beach. The flip flops are then delivered to Nairobi, where UniquEco's 20 full time employees convert the flip flops into sculptures, jewelry, key rings and other small gifts to sell in local tourist markets and to export around the world. In 2008, UniquEco recycled over 30,000 flip flops and brought a much-needed income to more than 100 women in the Lamu area. The company has used its growth to extend projects into Kibera, a Nairobi slum, and into the Samburu populations of northern Kenya. Since the artisans are using a resource of thousands of flip flops, every sculpture will be in assorted colors, making it a unique piece of art.



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