Omba Arts, a not-for-profit social enterprise founded more than 30 years ago, has made a difference to the lives of thousands of Namibians – artisans, artists and their families. We strive to promote and support sustainable livelihoods through craft development in rural communities in Namibia and have developed and marketed some of Namibia’s most iconic handicrafts as well as San contemporary art.
Harnessing local talents
Omba celebrates the wonderful cultural diversity of Namibia. We assist artisans to make a living through embracing and exploring their cultural heritage. All our products reflect traditional skills and ancient techniques merged with contemporary design suited to different markets.
We believe that craft is a conduit for broader community development. A member of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) since 2007, Omba’s fair trade practices, training and building of trusting relationships have developed skills and promoted resilience, social connectivity, hope and environmental awareness. And as importantly, we have facilitated sustainable livelihoods in communities where there are few opportunities for formal employment.
We partner other key non-governmental bodies in Namibia as well community-based organisations such as Conservancies. Omba is a member of NACSO – the Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management Support Organisations.
Omba Arts’ roots go back to the early 1990s when founding director, Karin le Roux started researching the development of the craft sector for a large NGO. Karin travelled to rural communities around Namibia providing training whilst developing relationships and networks that remain strong still today. These early years laid the foundation for an independent organisation that was to become Omba Arts Trust in 2004.
Omba now supports more than 400 artisans and artists from nine regions in Namibia, 95% of whom are women and 60% San. The craft and contemporary art programmes with Ju/’hoan, Hai//om, !Kung and Khwe San groups in four regions have been recognised as a critical livelihood source for these very marginalised communities.
Please take time to have a look at our fund-raising video from 2020 – it will give you an idea of how we work and our impacts.
KARIN LE ROUX