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Dsenyo Blog

  • Jewelry: Impacting Artisans & Wildlife NGOs
  • artisan partnersConservationfair tradesnare wire jewelrysustainabilitywildlifezambia

Jewelry: Impacting Artisans & Wildlife NGOs

We carry a unique line of jewelry by Mulberry Mongoose. It's so unique and powerful that we went on to create a collaborative extension of the line through our Design for Change competition, and today we offer both the Zimba and the Snare Wire Twist collections

So, what makes the snare wire jewelry so unique?

In a rural area of Zambia, there exists a community of people that strike me as very kind and warm.  Within this community of people jobs can be scarce. Next to this community is an expansive community of wildlife - elephants, lions, wild dogs, zebras, puku, etc; an eco-system of the African bush.  

During a recent visit to Zambia we were reminded through stories how these two beautiful communities can sometimes come into conflict with one another - not necessarily out of spite but out of necessity.  Here's a story:

A family is dependent on their small vegetable garden outside of their home.  When a visitor, such as a baboon or an elephant, come into their garden and disrupt it, the family will respond.  Sometimes this means chopping off the baboons arm or shooting at the elephant.  It's a grim story but when you imagine how this incident impacts your basic needs the story becomes complicated.  

Through clever thinking and determination to involve community, the South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) has been working with these families on a brilliant initiative.  Rather than shoot at the elephants, SLCS has educated people on the use of chili powder (or chili bullets).  Elephants evidently HATE chili peppers, so a little blast of chili powder will both deter the approaching elephant and keep it away - they're smart animals that learn quickly!  

So, how does this tie in with the snare wire jewelry again?

Mirriam making a collection of Snare Wire Twist Bracelets

Our jewelry collections (like all items in our collection) provide sustainable jobs for artisans in communities where jobs are scarce or nonexistent.  It would be too bold to say that we are moving mountains with our artisan partnerships, but there is an impact nonetheless.  After speaking with each individual artisan in Zambia, we are reminded that these jobs are impacting many people - especially family members.  

While the snare wire jewelry provides jobs for artisans, it also provides support for two NGOs: the South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) and the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP).  For each piece of snare wire jewelry sold, $5 is donated to these NGOs.  Both of these organizations focus on wildlife conservation and anti-poaching efforts.  

Clockwise from top left: Johnathan using device to locate lion; Lion in bush; Wild Dog (aka Painted Dog); Hayley (center), Johnathan and I in ZCP vehicle

The Zambian Carnivore Programme focuses on wildlife conservation, which includes research focused on carnivores and looking for signs of poaching.  To get a glimpse of their work, Hayley (our Design for Competition winner) and I went out with Johnathan Merkle from ZCP to track a pride of lions and a pack of wild dogs.  In an old rickety Land Rover, which we were forewarned is ready to burst at the seams, the three of us ventured into the bush using technology to track the collared lioness (who had been found caught in snare wire a year prior) and wild dog. Once found, Johnathan completed a series of forms collecting data for the day.  Johnathan is happy to report that the lioness is doing well after the removal of the snare wire and nurturing her cubs.  

His job isn't always peachy-king, however.  He shared with Hayley and I that he recently went out with SLCS to collect ivory from a recently shot dead elephant.  Their intention was to confiscate the ivory before poachers tracked it. He showed us both the location where the elephant was found.  It was striking to me as I've heard about poaching, but to stand in the location I had the unnerving feeling of the presence of ghosts.     

To learn more about ZCP, please visit:

Rachel McRobb, CEO of SLCS

Hayley and I also met with the South Luangwa Conservation Society.  Their focus is law enforcement and working under the Zambia Wildlife Authority carrying out anti-poaching efforts as well as other initiatives - such as the aforementioned chili bullets.   

We spoke with Rachel McRobb, CEO of SLCS, who frankly is a bad ass - although, if asked about this title I think she would humbly laugh. During our chat, she was periodically interrupted to sign documents and give an okay or nay to her colleagues; a busy woman to say the least.  

Rachel spoke with a lot of passion about their work.  She would describe the complexity and care that went into efforts to save snared animals, and she highlighted that there were many rehearsals with the team before actually going out into the field.  Like a rehearsed play, each actor in the rescue specifically knows their role and how the team will work together.  

In one story, Rachel shared that the team was called about a snared elephant calf.  In order to work with the calf, the elephant mother needed to be sedated for everyone's safety.  While the mother was sedated, Rachel noticed some funny patterns with the elephants breath.  Evidently, after being sedated the elephant laid in a position partially blocking her air passageway.  Rachel quickly made the snap decision to call off de-snaring the calf and administer an antidote to the mother.  They would need to return another day to help the calf, but the mother's safety became a priority.  This story had a happy ending.    

To learn more about SLCS, please visit:


Thanks to you and the many supporters of the snare wire jewelry collection, Dsenyo has been able to donate over $7,600 this year to ZCP and SLCS!

To share this story and wear a reminder of the impact of snare wire jewelry, here's a link to the collection:


  • artisan partnersConservationfair tradesnare wire jewelrysustainabilitywildlifezambia