Raising donations and selling jewellery in support of the Tuareg people of Timbuktu.
A charitable fair trade initiative in partnership with the Tuareg artisans of Timbuktu

Timbuktu fair trade jewellery

When you purchase an item of fair trade jewellery from Jump4Timbuktu, you are directly supporting the Tuareg artisans of Timbuktu to trade their way out of poverty and this is how it works.

From the fair trade price that you pay, a large proportion is paid directly to the artisans who made it at an agreed and fair wholesale price. This enables them to maintain and feed their families and to have something in reserve to meet new orders.

Initially working with five Timbuktu Jewellery Associations, we have discussed and agreed a Fair Trade Agreement covering everything from fair trade wholesale pricing to delivery and payment. Enshrined in this agreement are fair trade values and an understanding that Jump4Timbuktu directors receive no salary. All jewellery sales profit is invested in sustainable development projects in Timbuktu.

We, the directors, see this as fundamental to ensuring customers have confidence that each and every purchase impacts directly and positively on the Tuareg artisans' livelihoods and their capacity to trade.

. Details on these projects are available here.

Read below for more...

Situation on the ground

The Tuareg artisans of Timbuktu number some 10,000 people, a quarter of the total population. Recently driven from their nomadic desert lifestyle by droughts and the effects of climate change, they strive to make a living through trading in goods such as cotton, leather and jewellery. Their challenge is that traditional trading routes have declined; Timbuktu no longer sits at the cross roads of trade between Europe and Africa and is now isolated on the edge of the Sahara, a long way from contemporary markets.

Whilst the Timbuktu artisans are highly skilled and produce fair trade jewellery products, they are disadvantaged by their geographic isolation and inadequate infrastructure and commercial services. For eight months of the year temperatures are regularly over 40° C and in these months there are few tourists in Timbuktu.

Fantastic potential

Jump4Timbuktu is the fair trade arm of the charity Tuareg Relief. Click here for more on Tuareg Relief. In February 2008 we visited Timbuktu and met artisans selling beautiful and extremely well crafted silver and stone jewellery.

We saw the potential for wealth creation based on their heritage of knowledge and skills and agreed to work in a fair trade partnership with the artisans in Timbuktu to introduce and sell their unique jewellery in western markets.

Tuareg artisan making tuareg jewellery (click to enlarge)

Typical jewellery workshop environment for Tuareg jewellers in Timbuktu.

British Association for Fair Trade Shops

Jump4Timbuktu is recognised as a retailer and importer by The British Association of Fair Trade Shops

Fair trade negotiations (click to enlarge)

Presidents of the five jewellery associations in fair trade discussions with the Jump4-Timbuktu team in February 2008.

Close up of Tuareg jewellery being made (click to enlarge)

Fair trade silver bracelet, oxidised by fire, at early stage of forging - no two pieces are the same.

Tuareg jewellery workshop (click to enlarge)

Timbuktu is 6 hours drive across the desert from the nearest tarmac highway. Camels and donkeys continue as essential transport between Timbuktu and remote villages.