Nature Seekers is a community based, registered Non-Governmental Organisation in the Turtle Village of Matura on the North East Coast of Trinidad started by the community to protect the previously International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defined critically endangered leatherback turtles. With 25 years of operations, Nature Seekers has a clear vision of an environmentally friendly community empowered with the necessary skills through training to enable cooperation between actors to generate sustainable livelihoods, while promoting community based Eco Tourism and the protection of natural resources.
Nature Seekers Craft and Jewellery (NSCJ) is a community based social enterprise - manufacturing and selling natural and recycled glass jewellery made using bottles cleared from the beach during their annual beach clean up to ensure a safe nesting area for endangered sea turtles. Every recycled glass bead is handmade by women from the Matura community in their workshop and then assembled to make unique jewellery items for sale. In addition, the programme supports the development of separate micro-enterprises within the community and currently works with five entrepreneurs by offering them business support and development.
The project includes the following revenue-generating components:
Phase 1: Development of Turtle Warrior Brand— Re-launching the workshop with a focused product offering of collectible recycled glass bracelets.
Phase 2: Diversification of Product Offering— Building on the existing bracelets, we will expand our products to include large recycled glass items such as bowls, plates and paper weights for corporate gifting (glass slumping).
Phase 3: Establishment of a Pilot Garment Manufacturing Workshop—Expanding NSCJ’s reach and product offerings, this pilot endeavour will leverage the vast sewing skills (learned through past government and privately-funded training programmes in the area) to provide jobs to an additional 5 women in the community. It will achieve this through short-and-long term contracts for garment creation/manufacturing from local designers.
Phase 4: On-going/Continued Support of Entrepreneurial Activity in Matura— Training and support groups with a focus on both business and personal development of participants.
To lower the poverty level of the region by creating meaningful employment opportunities through sustainable social enterprise and small business development and to empower women through a focus on women entrepreneurs and personal development.
To create a self-sustaining social enterprise producing high quality and desirable natural and recycled glass craft product
To provide primary income for five crafts people and supplementary income for ten craftspeople in the area through sustainable employment in the workshop
To expand access to market and strengthen the entrepreneurial, technical and personal capacity of five local entrepreneurs with a focus on female artisans and craftswomen.
To decrease the vulnerability of women to poverty, GBV and sexually transmitted disease