Coconut Wood: New, Renewable and Hip

At Harkiss Designs, spring means renewal, just like my new spring collection of coconut wood items. I am always excited to introduce new products, but these are especially intriguing because the styles are fabulous and the material is sustainable. Coconut timber is an exotic hardwood. It is beautiful, durable and strong. What makes it different […]

Ugandan Government Works to Close the Educational Gender Gap


The east African country of Uganda has made strides in educating its children since the 1990s.  The government instituted The Education Strategic Investment Plan in 1998 that, over the following five years, largely supported the country’s Universal Primary Education program. With a mission to ensure that all Ugandan children enrolled in primary school, which spans […]

Women and the Ugandan Economy


Gender bias in East Africa severely limits the economic growth of artisan communities.  According to a 2009 National Export Strategy (NES) report from the Ugandan government,  while Ugandan women make a significant contribution the East African nation’s economy, they do not receive adequate monetary compensation.  The majority of rural women do not earn what those […]

Harkiss Palm Leaf Products: A Tradition of Sustainability


Growing up in an agricultural-based society, such as that of Uganda, gives one a deeper understanding of the cycle of growth, decay and rebirth that defines many aspects of life.  The rural east African lifestyle is often by nature eco-friendly, since the community’s survival depends upon sustaining critical natural resources. As a New Yorker who […]

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