The name Global Artisans represents an evolution in a company that sees its origins in founder's Richard Kennair's deep set commitment to self-sufficiency projects around the globe.
Coming from a background that included extensive work with First Nations in Canada, and owning retail card stores - in 2002 Richard started working with community and youth groups in Uganda. His focus was on assisting groups develop strategic plans according to both Fair Trade guidelines and heavily influenced by the Aboriginal Strategic Planning Process that he was trained in through his years working with Friendship Centers in Canada.
in 2009/10 when Richard started doing trade and consumer shows focused on importing fairly traded goods crafted by the groups he was working with, we chose the name Akonye Kena. Meaning 'I will help myself', it's a phrase in Acholi, a language of northern Uganda where the groups were focused at the time. Two words that encapsulate Richard's commitment to self-sufficiency.
As time progressed, and foci changed, Richard felt that Akonye Kena no longer fuller represented WHO the company focused on. Still committed to Fair Trade principles and self-sufficiency, Akonye Kena had shifted from working solely with Uganda, to working with groups both directly and indirectly from around the world.
Given the evolution of the company - it was decided to change the name to better represent the scope of our crafters. So, Akonye Kena is now Global Artisans.