Situated in Lupane, 2km from the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway, the Lupane Women’s Crafts Centre is a lucrative centre for basket making of all shapes and sizes. The centre has a membership 3 400 people from Lupane District. Of these 2400 are women and 1000 men. It is used for making crafts including baskets, floor cushions, trays, hats and stools which are made from the local resources such as ilala palm, sisal and wood. The bulk of products are mainly exported to America, Canada and Holland. The Lupane Women’s Crafts Centre has potential to be widely marketed to local and international tourists. Construction of the Centre was done with funds received from the Bernard Sunley Foundation, Sulzeberger Foundation, British Embassy, American Embassy, Canadian Fund Development Agency and the American Embassy small grants. Since 2004 Lupane has received institutional and program funding from Liechtenstein Development Services (LED) and occasional but valuable projects support from the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI). Management of the facility: It is a local organization which is run by the women with the assistance of a secretariat of 17 and 13 members of the Board of Trustees. The center is managed by a board drawn from members who are assisted by a technical team of employees (Manager, training coordinators, marketing officer and accountant) who manage the center on a day to day basis.
Accommodation – The centre has accommodation facilities which can carter for 25 people at any given time. Access: The center is easily accessible by road, along the Bulawayo Harare highway.
Amenities – N/A
Attractions – The main attraction is the unique basketry that the women produce. Weaving days are also a great attraction where one can see more than 300 women weaving – synonymous with bees in a bee hive. The accommodation and cafeteria also provide a convenient stop over for visitors travelling to and from Vic Falls or Binga. Activities – Tours around the craft center and surrounding villages where women come from
Women at Lupane Crafts center weaving crafts for export
Awareness – the center is highly marketed through the website, http://www.lupanewomenscenter.org Main Challenges: Limited visitor inflows Future Prospects: The plan is to put up lodges a training centre, conference facilities and a shop in the remaining extent of the land. The place is situated close to the Vic falls/Binga Bulawayo highway and has quite good potential for traveler’s enroute to Vic falls or Binga to provide visitor stop over facilities. In this venture the Centre is looking for funds to set up the structures the women are prepared to contribute the thatching grass and labour where possible.