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  Issue no. 8 | December 2020  
  Skilled Crafts Newsletter  
Skilled Crafts and Trades Network 4 Africa
  Current project developments and topics about skilled crafts in development cooperation
A newsletter by the Skilled Crafts and Trades Network 4 Africa
  Dear reader,

Skillend Crafts and Trades Network 4 Afrika
Welcome to the last issue of the 2020 Newsletter for the Skilled Crafts Project.

Thanks to your help and your extraordinary commitment a lot has happened and been implemented in the Skilled Crafts Project this year! And, this is despite the adverse circumstances we all find ourselves in, in which it is not possible to carry out in-person assignments. We had to find new ways to bring together German craftspeople with our partners in sub-Sahara Africa. Our assignments had to be adapted to a COVID-19 friendly form, and so, assignments such as trainings and coachings moved online. We found online 1:1 coaching measures to be particularly successful, as this kind of exchange allows craftspeople to work with flexible time frames while focusing on the specific needs of the partners. For example, one online coaching assignment we had was focused on optimising management and production processes, while another was tailored to diversify a company’s product range and services. Some skilled craftspeople have also gone above and beyond by developing and successfully implementing elaborate virtual training courses, such as for electricians and carpenters. The success of our online training assignments have shown us that online cooperation is here to stay! In the future we aim to incorporate and include many more online trainings in our work.

‘There were many aha-effects of what can be achieved in such a short time’.
Dirk Abel, master electrician.

Additionally, we would like to use this (Christmas) newsletter for a brief outlook for 2021. As some of you already know, the Skilled Crafts Project will merge with four other GIZ projects at the beginning of 2021 to become the ‘Business Scouts for Development’. We will continue to develop new opportunities for our craftspeople to work in development cooperation. You will continue to find the latest news about the merger and our activities on our website and in our crafts forum. Thank you very much for your great support, your many ideas, and, last but not least, your heart and soul for the Skilled Crafts Project. We look forward to a new year and this new venture together with you!

The Skilled Crafts Project team wishes you happy holidays and a good start into 2021.
Your Skilled Crafts Team
» Skilled Crafts website
» Crafts forum

Please contact us with any questions and feedback you may have about the project:
From the network
» From 2021, the Skilled Crafts programme will become part of the ‘Business Scouts for Development’
» We mourn the loss of Brigitte Schlichting
» Showcase of joint cooperation within the Skilled Crafts Network
» Have you already seen our video of the creation of the ‘House of Africa’?
From the Craft Practice
» Fundi Women certification ceremony
» Timber drying in Rwanda
Currently on the go
» Online support assignment to six female owned jewellery micro-enterprises in South Africa
» Online trainings for occupational health and safety in Sub-Sahara Africa
Dates and Events
We would like to introduce ...
» Japhet Dufitumukiza, Master Electrician
  From the network  
From 2021, the Skilled Crafts programme will become a part of the ‘Business Scouts for Development’
As we already alerted to in our April 2020 Newsletter, in 2021 we will merge with four other successful GIZ projects on behalf of the BMZ: ‘ExperTS’, ‘EZ Scouts’, ‘Global Business Network’, and ‘Creating Perspectives’. The work that the five projects have been doing in the past years will form the basis for the future orientation of the ‘Business Scouts for Development’. We will bundle our expertise and experience of working together with the private sector, while creating greater efficiency in the provision of our services. Using the expertise of the skilled crafts and trades sector for development cooperation will play a central role in this new project. Specifically, technical and vocational skills training will be central to our work. A special crafts cluster has already been created for this purpose within the ‘Business Scouts for Development’. Simultaneously, the ‘Business Scouts for Development’ will also work with new thematic priorities, giving us new and exciting opportunities to leverage skilled crafts and trades for further sustainable development.

In order to cooperate successfully with the private sector for sustainable development, we must be able to react appropriately to specific needs. For this reason, the ‘Business Scouts for Development’ includes the top-level sectoral associations for the private sector in Germany (including the DIHK, BDI, ZDH and BGA). Given that trusting relationships to these cooperation partners have been established in the five predecessor projects, we hope to benefit, continue, and deepen our existing cooperation in the new project ‘Business Scouts for Development’. For the skilled crafts cluster, this means continuing to directly involve the ZDH at the operational level of our work. This includes working together on best practices, whether that be the further development of qualification options for skilled craftspeople in Germany or new offers for skilled craftspeople to become active in development cooperation.

As mentioned above, our focus on technical and vocational skills training will be maintained in the ‘Business Scouts for Development’. Simultaneously, greater attention will also be paid to cross-cutting issues. This could be topics such as occupational health and safety, the environment, and gender. Furthermore, we have worked intensively on the digitalisation of our cooperation formats since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will continue to accompany us in the new project, and we will continue to use and develop digital and hybrid cooperation formats.

In the ‘Business Scouts for Development’, the skilled crafts cluster will also have much closer ties to industry. As we know, for industry to be successful, there is a need for cooperation with skilled crafts expertise. Hence, we will analyse how we can cooperate more closely with industrial enterprises for the purpose of sustainable economic development. For example, we see potential in using the expertise of skilled craftspeople as service providers for industry, whether that be in maintenance and repair of machines, or in workshop organisation.

In essence, the new ‘Business Scouts for Development’ will continue the best of our work form the past three years, while also providing new and exciting opportunities for us to develop new ideas for how we can use skilled crafts and trades expertise for sustainable development. So, your expertise will be needed more than ever. There is still much to do, let's get started!

» April 2020 Newsletter
» DIHK website
» BDI website
» ZDH website
» BGA website
We mourn the loss of Brigitte Schlichting
Brigitte Schlichting. Photo: © GIZ
Brigitte Schlichting. Photo: © GIZ
On Monday November 2nd, we received the sad news that Brigitte Schlichting passed away.

Brigitte had been involved in various development cooperation projects throughout the years, especially in Jordan and South Africa. As a master craftswoman, she was committed to the advancement of women within skilled crafts and trades, and was an impressive role model for all those involved in the projects she was part of. We remember her as a very competent and experienced expert in her trade, as well as a kind and humorous person. She was deeply committed to sustainable development, and an unbelievably authentic communicator of knowledge. She succeeded in inspiring the countless young people that she met and taught, even in a foreign language, and always with much heart and soul.

We will miss Brigitte deeply.

» Brigitte Schlichting

Showcase of joint cooperation within the Skilled Crafts network
In many ways, the skilled crafts and trades sector is the ideal environment through which to foster sustainable economic growth. While it is true that skilled crafts and trades’ processes are often labor-intensive, products are also high in demand on local and global markets. Moreover, product quantity is scalable. The quality of products can also be ensured with adequate training and education of the skilled craftspeople producing the products in question. With the expansion of industry parks in sub-Sahara Africa, there is also the option for skilled crafts and trades’ to venture into cooperation with industry, which can further contribute to local economic growth. In short, there are many opportunities for skilled crafts and trades’ to play an important and decisive role in the private sector and in sustainable economic development!

Nevertheless, what many skilled crafts and trades companies’ lack is the knowledge of entrepreneurial processes. Others lack the professional experience to master the first difficult years after founding. For these companies, economic success will remain a dream, rather than a reality. This is where the Skilled Crafts Project can help! By initiating and supporting partnerships between German and African skilled craftspeople, the Skilled Crafts Project aims to give African entrepreneurs access to the practical experience of German craftspeople who have overcome economic and business challenges in their own companies, while remaining attuned to specific local contexts.

One such partnership, which was initiated by the Skilled Crafts Project, is the partnership between two joineries: Mayondo Woodworks in Uganda and Kramhöller Möbelbau in Germany. What emerged out of a matching trip quickly became a close partnership, leading to the first joint product development in 2019: a wooden chair that is designed in Germany and produced in Uganda. This year, the partnership has continued, and Mansuli and Josef are currently producing another joint product.

But, before we reveal the product, let us take a look at the process behind its development. Intensive discussions were held between Josef, Mansuli, and the Skilled Crafts Project as to what kind of product should be developed. It was determined that the product should be symbolic for the international development cooperation partnership happening in skilled crafts and trades sectors. The product should:
have a definable quality in terms of execution,
have a functionality that requires this quality,
use components from different trades and companies,
use conventional and digital production methods,
ideally be manufactured in different countries,
can be used as give-away and invite to ‘play’
All in all no easy task! Yet, Josef and Mansuli were up to the task. And, what is the product?

A mechanical calendar that displays months, days and weekdays. Designed in Germany, produced in Uganda and Namibia. The functionality of the calendar is achieved by milled wooden gears. The gears are produced to the desired quality on the CNC machine that Mansuli has at Mayondo Woodworks. The support structure of the calendar is made of brushed stainless-steel sheet metal bending parts. These are cut by laser on a machine from Metallum Fabrication in Namibia, and then bent according to a specific drawing.
  The model Skilled Crafts calendar. Photo: © Josef Kramhöller
The model Skilled Crafts calendar. Photo: © Josef Kramhöller
Employees of Mayondo Woodworks Ltd., Uganda producing the parts for the calendar. Photo: © Mansuli Mayondo
Employees of Mayondo Woodworks Ltd., Uganda producing the parts for the calendar. Photo: © Mansuli Mayondo
Parts needed for the Skilled Crafts calendar in Uganda. Photo: © Mansuli Mayondo
Parts needed for the Skilled Crafts calendar in Uganda. Photo: © Mansuli Mayondo
The stainless-steel axles for the moving parts are also manufactured there on conventional lathes. The assembly and finishing of the calendars is done by hand in Uganda as part of the ‘Fundi Women’ initiative, a training programme for women interested in the carpentry trade. Each calendar is, thus, also given a personal touch! Each calendar is distributed with a booklet with the background of each person involved in the development and production of the calendar.

While we have yet to see the final product from the serial production, we can already share some experiences of the creation and production of the calendar. Contrary to our first assumptions, the production has not been cheaper than a production in Germany. Yet, as this could also be due to the high-priced processing machines and a stronger focus on conventional production techniques, a (relatively) higher price is understandable. To our surprise, delivery times have been significantly shorter than forecast, and the digital formats used to communicate the design have not required any further explanation. In essence, the production process itself has been extremely unproblematic!

In any case, we are looking forward to further joint-product projects of this kind in the future. In fact, the first drafts and ideas for more new products have already been shared with the Skilled Crafts Project.

» Metallum Fabrication website, Namibia
» Josef Kramhöller, workshop for furniture construction
» Mayondo Engineering Works website, Kampala
Have you already seen our video of the creation of the ‘House of Africa’?
House of Africa in Hoima, Uganda. Photo: © GIZ
House of Africa in Hoima, Uganda. Photo: © GIZ
In the course of short-term assignments, new ideas often emerge as to how craftspeople from different crafts and trades can combine their strengths and implement joint projects. The Skilled Crafts Project can support such projects, as was the case with the model house ‘House of Africa’. Here, a team of German craftspeople from diverse trades planned and constructed the model house together with students from the vocational training school St Simon Peter’s in Uganda. Over the course of the project, a video was created, which we would like to share with you.

» Click here for the video: House Of Africa, Hoima Uganda (YouTube)
  From the craft practice  
Fundi women certification ceremony
Working in the Fundi Women workshop. Photo: © GIZ
Working in the Fundi Women workshop. Photo: © GIZ
The Skilled Crafts Project helps facilitate an international network of Ugandan and German craftspeople in the wood sector. Through this network, an initiative called ‘Fundi Women’ (‘Fundi’ is a Swahili word that means technician) was initiated by Evelyn Zalwango, the CEO of the carpentry company V Interiors Ltd. The ‘Fundi Women’ initiative has recently finished a 2-month training programme for 20 women interested in carpentry.

For this initiative, Eve partnered with the CEO of Mayondo Engineer Works ‘U’ Ltd, Mansuli Senyondo, as well as Orsine Mieleand, owner of Abitare Tischlerei GmbH Berlin, to create a training team. Orsine provided mentorship, advice, and oversight of the trainings. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Orsine couldn’t travel to Uganda. Instead, she used digital formats to communicate with Eve, Mansuli, and the students.

The training of the 20 women occured throughout September and October 2020, equipping the participants with skills in carpentry/joinery, upholstery, entrepreneurship and product costing. The training was concluded at the end of October with no dropouts. Cornelia Zupp, the Technical Advisor of Handwerkskammer Köln, officiated the certification ceremony in Kampala, Uganda. She testified that it was the first time she witnessed 20 women participating successfully in a carpentry course. Going forward, the participants requested for further skilling and industrial placement.

» Evelyn Zalwango on LinkedIn
» Mansuli Senyondo on LinkedIn
Fundi Women Certification Ceremony, October 2020. Photo: © GIZ
Fundi Women Certification Ceremony, October 2020. Photo: © GIZ
Timber Drying in Rwanda
SEAL site manager Mr Laurent Habyarimana and his technical assistant Mr Peter Kanyamugenge. Photo: © GIZ
SEAL site manager Mr Laurent Habyarimana and his technical assistant Mr Peter Kanyamugenge. Photo: © GIZ
Timber drying is a difficult business in Rwanda. There are hardly any drying plants in the country. Most of the companies dry their wood in the air, however this method is far from able to produce the quantities needed for wood production, such as for furniture. The only company with a larger drying plant in Rwanda is the company SEAL. But, in 2020 SEAL had difficulties with the use of the plant because of personnel changes.

SEAL is a partner organisation of the GIZ project Eco-Emploi, which asked the Skilled Crafts Project to support SEAL and organise an expert for short term assignment. For Skilled Crafts, wood drying is a new topic, which has been identified in many previous assignments as a challenge on-site in furniture production, but has not been directly addressed so far. Through our pool of skilled craftspeople we found the carpenter and wood technician Rainer Kemner, who has been dealing with the topic professionally for quite some time and was interested in cooperating with SEAL.

After a longer exploratory phase and discussions with the owner of the company, Rainer Kemner started to train the two technical employees who are responsible for the drying plant in Rwamagana. To do this he first had to find out about technical details of the plant from the Lithuanian manufacturer. Then, a lot of creativity and flexibility were required to work with the two technicians to slowly improve the results of the timber drying process. This is because drying timber takes time. The online cooperation proved to be an advantage in this regard, as different wood drying settings could be tested over a longer period of time. It was also possible to readjust the settings of the machine again and again, which would not have been possible on-site in a fortnight. Nevertheless, the virtual training was still a great challenge: the internet connection did not always work, laptops were not available, sometimes the documents did not arrive... But Rainer was not discouraged! Always looking for new ways to reach the two Rwandan employees and to closely accompany their work on-site, he adapted the content of his training. He created new short teaching units and delivered his training over the phone via WhatsApp. And, the effort is worth it: a trusting working relationship has been established and the first positive results have been realised.

So, what happens next? In the upcoming year, the online consultation will be continued. An on-site assignment is also planned once international travel is possible. In order to spread the knowledge and skills in timber drying further, Rainer is also planning various adapted training modules for managers, technicians, and owners of smaller drying plants, which may be offered next year in a hybrid format that combines face-to-face and online teaching.

» Sawmill East Africa Limited (SEAL)
  Currently on the go  
Online support assignment to six female owned jewellery micro-enterprises in South Africa
Kyle Cut Media, Photo: © Unsplash
Kyle Cut Media, Photo: © Unsplash
International master craftswoman Martina Dempf recently undertook two online assignments for six women-owned jewellery micro-enterprises from South Africa. The Skilled Crafts Project sourced the micro-enterprises from the GIZ Centre for Cooperation with the Private Sector, Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) and the Craft + Design Institute.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, contact was made with the micro-enterprises using MS Teams, WhatsApp and Skype. The first assignment consisted of individual online interviews with each of the micro-enterprises, so that Martina could get to know each of the women and undertake a needs analysis.

For the micro-enterprises the jewellery products include all kinds of material and techniques, including silver, semi-precious stones, up-cycling products like aluminium in combination with textile, leather, beads, polymer clay, and many more. The creativity and high motivation of each owner to improve their product quality, expand their business, and to employ more workers really stood out.

According to Martina’s first research, the technical equipment of the workshops could be improved. There is a need for concrete advice on how to re-organise workshops and stock, to control costs and production time, as well as to create and improve business websites for the presentation and selling of products.

The Skilled Crafts Project is now planning on providing further support to the micro-enterprises in 2021, with the support of Martina. This may be in-person, online, or in a hybrid format, depending on the further progression of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, a business association or TVET College is currently being identified in order to act as a multiplier for further training.

» Website Martina Dempf
Online trainings for occupational health and safety in
sub-Sahara Africa
Participants of the training. Photo: © Tanja Neumann
Participants of the training. Photo: © Tanja Neumann
On behalf of the Skilled Crafts programme, Tanja Neumann, occupational health and safety specialist and master glazier at Heideglas Uelzen, was commissioned to work with managers and employees from manufacturing and craft businesses in Rwanda and Uganda on the issue of occupational safety and health protection. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic the original plan to hold face-to-face trainings had to be quickly adapted into online trainings. A total of five companies took advantage of the offer, including two textile companies, a paper manufacturer, and a furniture manufacturer from Rwanda, and a plastics producer from Uganda. As a first step, the participating companies each put together an occupational safety team, whose members came from different areas of their companies.
  Participant of the training. Photo: © Frank Muguleni
Participant of the training. Photo: © Frank Muguleni
All participants was first taught the theoretical principles of occupational safety and health protection. This included safety signs, personal protective equipment, and the safe use of electrical hand tools. Tanja used PowerPoint presentations and instructional videos in her online training to help convey her expertise. However, the participants also took action themselves by taking stock of safety signs in their company and, if necessary, expanding their existing collections. In addition, they prepared instructions for the correct use, storage, and care of various components of the occupational safety equipment, such as safety helmets, ear plugs, safety glasses, safety gloves and shoes, before using these instructions to educate their own workforces. The video-documented instructions were also discussed together in a following training with Tanja. In addition, a written record of all electrical hand tools available in each company was made. Operating instructions were created for selected tools, which were subsequently translated into the native language where necessary, to ensure 100% comprehensibility for all. Once more, the participants of the online training used these instructions to educate their own workforces.

After the theoretical contents were taught, individual risk assessments were prepared. For this, the companies were first structured according to their fields of activity and individual work steps. Subsequently, possible hazards were identified and assessed for each activity and appropriate countermeasures were derived, which were then implemented in the respective companies. In this way, the online meetings made it possible to provide highly individualized support for each company whilst ensuring the correct implementation of occupational health and safety measures. Despite being conducted online, there was intensive individual contact, and the training can be classed as a real success! One company could even benefit from a joint meeting and knowledge exchange with a German company from the same industry.

» Website of Heideglas Uelzen
  Dates and Events  
At present, no in-person events are planned due to the current situation. Please visit our events page on We post upcoming events there regularly.
If you have suggestions on how to strengthen the skilled crafts and trades in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic, please let us know, we welcome every suggestion.
  We would like to introduce ...  
Japhet Dufitumukiza, Master Electrician
My name is Japhet Dufitumukiza, I was born in Rwanda and live with my wife and two children near Mainz. I am a master electrician by profession and have been working with the Skilled Crafts programme since 2018. I always had the hope to be able to use the knowledge I gained in Germany in Africa.
Integrates Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC) in Kigali, Photo: © Japhet Dufitumukiza
Integrates Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC) in Kigali, Photo: © Japhet Dufitumukiza
Why did you want to engage with the GIZ ‘Skilled Crafts and Trades Network 4 Africa’ project?
In Africa, many professions are not offered as apprenticeships, but are learned through ‘learning by doing’. Thus, the basics are missing and usually the profession is practiced without knowing the context. Since I had the opportunity to acquire a broad knowledge through the qualified training and master school in Germany, I took the chance to train electricians in this project in Rwanda.

How have you benefitted from the cooperation?
Being familiar with the culture and speaking the mother tongue, I was able to successfully pass on knowledge and there was no language barrier. My expectations have been met and I am satisfied with the result.

What has surprised you most since the beginning of this cooperation?
Many companies are ‘loners’ and do not work together. Everyone tries to make ends meet with their business. If a company receives an order, day laborers are hired and then dismissed when the job is finished. As a result, the level of expertise is correspondingly low. The companies cannot afford fixed contracts. Day laborers have neither protective clothing (PPE) nor knowledge about occupational safety.

How should the partnership continue?
I am enthusiastic about this project. I especially enjoy the moments when the participants have a sense of achievement and/or understand connections. If there is a possibility to offer further assignments on-site and digitally, I would participate immediately.

Who would you recommend such a partnership to?
Every skilled craftsperson who is willing to engage with other cultures and to impart their knowledge under challenging circumstances can get involved. Of course, it will never be like in Germany. One must consider that before.

Is there anything else you would like to say, that people reading the newsletter should know?
Before you start preparing, you should determine the level of knowledge of the participants to avoid disappointments on site.

Which topics are important and really needed?
This is the question under which every assignment should take place so that it leads to success for both sides. Challenges like accommodation, food, weather, material is not yet on-site, punctuality etc. will always be there. Such situations should not stop you from making the best out of the situation.
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