This blog will get you an inside scoop on the stories and lives behind the goods sold on www.OneWorldProjects.com. Through interviews with entrepreneurs and our own illustrious founder, Phil Smith, you'll get a chance to connect with people around the world and taste the vibrant cultures from which they come. This blog will also explore the way products are made and the history surrounding some of those processes, which date back centuries. And, you'll get the chance to see how the money you spend on OWP products has a direct impact on improving the lives of people suffering from extreme poverty everyday.
Phil Smith founded OWP originally in 1992 to fight rainforest destruction with economic empowerment. Inspired by the success of initial products and relationships formed with villagers, Smith decided to expand the mission of One World Projects to incorporate the principles of fair trade and began providing income generation to disadvantaged citizens in communities worldwide.
One World Projects expanded its mission again after the events of September 11, 2001, to incorporate peace building. Specifically, One World Projects began working with the refugees of major conflict-ridden regions around the world to create income opportunities that would bring needed self-determination and an environment of peace. These regions include Afghanistan, Columbia, the Burmese border with Thailand, and refugee camps in Pakistan and Rwanda.
Today, 11,000-plus artisans from over 25 impoverished and developing countries are a part of the One World Project’s network. They create household goods, clothing, fashion accessories, toys, and other gifts, which are imported and distributed by One World Projects to wholesale buyers and retail consumers in the United States. Beyond simply paying a fair wage for these goods, One World Projects works with artisans to improve their communities by ensuring adequate access to basic necessities, opening new markets for products, refining artistic and technical skills, and improving environmental conservation. One World Projects has coined the phrase “Compassionate Trade” to describe its passion to go above and beyond the requirements of the Fair Trade Federation in improving the lives of partners and artisans.
The products distributed by One World Projects, and the stories of the communities that create them, have won awards and captured media attention across the U.S. Most recently, the Today Show featured Ayacucho Peruvian Piggy Banks, and One World Project’s line of Ruffati handbags (made out of recycled materials) won the 2009 Award for Excellence in Product Design from the Fair Trade Federation.
Resellers of One World Projects products include such major American icons as Aveda, Green Mountain Coffee, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.