COOL Crafts started as an idea – how to support small-scale Kenyan craft artists and market craftwork?
Many talented artists live adjacent to wildlife areas, thus this project focuses on developing new and original ideas with the theme of wildlife and coexistence. We help craft artists earn a living and develop a business venture while also benefiting conservation projects.
The COOL concept was initiated by Mary Wykstra, director of Action for Cheetahs in Kenya. ACK works with several other wildlife researchers, hence the acronym C.O.O.L., for Cheetahs, Otters, Owls and Lions to reflect the diversity of carnivores throughout Kenya. Darcy Ogada (Assistant Director of Africa Programs for The Peregrine Fund), and Ester Kirimi (CEO of a craft production organization Kichaka Poa Crafts) partnered with Mary to start this business.
COOL Crafts purchases and markets crafts from Kenyan craftsmen and women who offer a diverse array of uniquely Kenyan crafts. The COOL. team works closely with the artists to ensure that quality crafts are made from locally available, renewable and recycled products. Profits benefit conservation research, community development and education initiatives.
The COOL Craft logo represents the animals that inspired the community relationships that enable us to market the handcrafts under an African wildlife theme. The crafts accurately represent different wildlife species. All of our vendors can attest to the positive role wildlife conservation can have in uplifting local livelihoods while encouraging conservation within the community.
We invite you to support our ‘crafts for conservation’ venture by purchasing handcrafted artwork at Animal Ark in Reno Nevada, Cat Haven in Dunlap California or at Safari West in Santa Rosa California. COOL/ACK features a booth at the annual WCN Conservation Expo in October of every year. If you live near Cleveland, check out the COOL/ACK booth at the Christmas Conservation Fair in December.
Our annual calendar is also a part of the COOL project. Purchase yours now.
COMING SOON: A selection of our COOL products will soon be available on line.
Support our work
ACK needs your help to support our scouts and the community so we can accomplish our goal of conservation of the cheetahs in Kenya. You can also purchase COOL Crafts online now.
With your help we can continue our research and conversation activities.
- One day School presentation
- One month of phone credit for one staff member
- Printing of one conflict mitigation tool kit
- Printing of one student workbook
- Full set of vaccinations (Rabies and Distemper) for a dog or cat