Union of Peasants for Self Development
Artisans working with the Union of Peasants for Self Development (UPAP) make traditional Tuareg handicrafts. The Tuareg, nomadic herders of Saharan north and west Africa, now also work as traders or cultivate crops in fertile oases. Tuareg artisans of UPAP use income from craft production to supplement their subsistence farming and other livelihoods.
In 1993, young craftspeople in Terhazer, a village near Agadez, the largest city of northern Niger, organized to create leather handicrafts and silver jewelry. After traveling through France, selling from backpacks for several years, Illies Mouhmoud and his friends organized formally and began UPAP in 1999. UPAP now has shops in Niamey, Niger's capital, and in Agadez, and participates in local African fairs. UPAP also sells to fair trade organizations in France and North America.Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from UPAP since 2002.