Asango Team


Profile of CONTIGO’s partner Asango

Supply chain

  • Trading Partner: Asango, microenterprise
  • Function: Exporter
  • Structure: Affiliated production groups
  • Tradeway: Direct import CONTIGO


  • Wood and bone items

Nairobi to Göttingen (Source: Google Earth)


Office: city district Kilimani, Nairobi, Kenya – distance to Europe: 6,400km

Production is located:

  • in Nairobi´s city districts: Kibera, Waithaka and Kilimani
  • in Makweni County: Makindu (ca. 200 km south east of Nairobi)

Founded in 1992


  • William Ongele works in his village as a talented craftsmen with wood and soapstone
  • Export organisation African Heritage hires William to work in their workshops in Nairobi
  • 1992: Founding of the family business Asango together with Williams wife Sophie
  • Specialisation in wood, metal, recycled bone and horn craftsmanship
  • 2005: CONTIGO meets Asango
  • 2009: Relocation of the company to new premises outside Nairobi
  • 2014: Restructuring of the company, relocation back to Nairobi (Kilimani city district), expansion of cooperation with other production sites: Asango supports the workshops with regards to production processes and fairtrade standards
  • 2021: As result of the Corona pandemic lockdowns 2020 / 2021 many employees of Asango moved back to their villages and keep this as permanent way of employment

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2005

Why does CONTIGO work with Asango:
The company is a prime example for informal structures of African handicrafts. Asango is the bridge for a network of craftsmen throughout the country to the international market. For them, this means income in their home villages instead of fleeing to the city. All materials are available in the country and come from nature. What we appreciate about Asango is the focus on original African handicrafts with simple means. At the same time, the founder William Ongele has the artistic flair that allows his products to stand out on the international market in terms of design and quality. CONTIGO has been a small but constant customer with regular annual orders since the beginning.

Structure of the business

Number of employees:

  • 5 artisans in door (3 women and 2 men)
  • 7 artisans outdoor
  • Cooperation with producer groups in Kiambu, Kisii, Kisumu, Makweni, Busia, Nairobi County

Organisation of workforce:

At the Asango office:

The founder William and Sophie Ongele

  • Tasks: distribution of orders to production groups, collection of finished production, quality control, labelling and packing, administration
  • Creative director: William
  • Application tie dye decoration: William
  • Office, administration and accounting: Sophie

At the external production workshops:

  • Workshops organise themselves completely independently (purchase of raw materials, complete production)
  • In case of need (or due to individual agreements) Asango makes advance payments
  • Since Asango is not able to employ them all year round, they also produce for other clients or sell their goods directly on local markets, e.g. to tourists
  • By piece payment, daily cash
  • Sawing and sandpapering: men
  • Carving and ironworks: men
  • Decorating and finishing touches: women
  • In case of high work load, tasks are diverted to external workshops


  • Home market (7%)
  • Exports (93%) to U.S.A., Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, UK, France, Japan, Denmark


Fairtrade classification

FTA = Fairtrade Approved


Fairtrade aspects


Asango complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

Fair wages

  • Minimum wage in Kenya: KSH 13,500 / month (KSH=Kenyan Shilling), status of 2022
  • Average salary for comparable work/companies in Nairobi: KSH 17,000/month
  • Salary at Asango:
    • daily wages vary from KSH 800 to 1,350 depending on the work load
    • monthly income in door 18,000 – 36,500 KSH
  • Bonus when working on the weekend
  • Most wages are based on piece rate, artisans may chose for daily or weekly (Friday) payment
  • Bonus paid out for holidays/festive days (Christmas, Easter): KSH 5,000-8,000/holiday

Humane working conditions

Working hours:

  • 8 hours/day
  • Breaks: 1 hour and 45 minutes for tea breaks and lunch
  • 5 days/week

Social benefits:

  • Paid holidays (21 days)
  • Voluntary payment by Asango (as not regulated by law): Continued payment of wage in case of sickness or accident
  • Regular health check-ups
  • Treatment costs in clinics are partially paid
  • Employees are supplied with breakfast and lunch for free
  • In special emergencies, Asango covers the cost of school fees and uniforms for staff children

Educational opportunities:

  • Thorough training of all new employees

Occupational health and safety:

  • Working gear and protective clothing are provided


  • Wage transfer vouchers are available
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO



  • Personal visit in Nairobi (2008)
  • Feedback interview during several visits in Germany


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: Kenya



2008: visiting Asango in Kenia

Author: Janina Lange on 2. May 2022

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