Improved Traditional Bead Production and Marketing in West Africa

  • Project budget:
    • US$ 245,341
  • Source:
    • Italy Funds-in-Trust
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 01/02/2002 - 01/01/2005

Benefitting country(ies): Ghana, Mali


Beads are widely used in West African cultures; major passages of life, for instance, are marked by the wearing of appropriate beads. In addition to their function in social and cultural expressions, the continuation of beads production is important for economic empowerment and sustainable development.

With a view to strengthening traditional beads production, the project included a survey on the production of traditional beads in Ghana and Mali and on their marketing. The resulting report led to a monograph entitled “Practical improved bead production manual”, which was distributed to stakeholders in these two countries. In addition, seven bead producers from Ghana and Mali attended a high-level workshop (Murano, Italy) in order to improve their bead production technology and marketing strategies.

This workshop provided the experts with the opportunity to establish an international network and to exchange knowledge. Furthermore, this domain of traditional craftsmanship and know-how, which has been transmitted orally for centuries, is now documented through a manual on bead making techniques. It is expected that this document will be used for vocational education, that it will help bead makers to improve their income, and that it will eventually support them to further develop and transmit their knowledge and skills to future generations.

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