This hand-woven African hamper is a fair trade product from Senegal. It is cylindrical with two cut-out handles, and has a flat lid. It is about 17" tall with the lid on; and 15" in diameter. White plastic strips are woven around coils of natural colored grass. As each one is handmade, size, shape, and color may vary slightly. This fair trade African basket excels as a recycle bin or laundry hamper. Senegalese Wolof women interweave plastic strips from recycled prayer mats with local grasses to produce baskets like this one, known as "prayer mat baskets". The result is a remarkably strong, rigid basket that is water resistant and easy to clean.
About the producers: This basket was woven in a co-op of about 100 Wolof women in the West African country of Senegal. It is not known which weaver began the practice of using plastic strips in the baskets, but the innovation results in a stronger basket with modern appeal. Swahili Wholesale is a small business based in Eugene, Oregon. It is a member of the Fair Trade Federation, and works in conjunction with the Peace Corps to help the Wolof weavers export their baskets to Western markets.