Nowadays, natural sponges are luxury items as they have become rare due to worldwide over-exploitation. Natural sponges are said to have an anti-allergic effect and to be suitable for the use on sensitive skin as well as for baby care. Furthermore, dirt particles can easily be washed out and do not stick, giving natural sponges a considerable advantage over artificial ones.
The sponges are organically and sustainably grown by marinecultures.org. They are unique since no one else cultivates this species. They do not harm the natural sponge population. A sponge needs approximately one year to grow and has to be trimmed constantly into “product shape”.
After the harvesting, a cleaning procedure with soap nuts and citric acid follows. The sponge farms are situated in a low tide zone on the shores of Jambiani, Zanzibar, run by local women. The objective of the initiative is to support single mothers. Therefore, all profits earned serve directly as their source of income. In order to be capable of running a sponge farm independently, the women receive a one-year training with financial support provided by marinecultures.org.
marinecultures.org is a registered not-for-profit organization whose overall goals are marine conservation, development of new aquaculture forms and alternative income generation for the local communities. Besides aquafarming projects, the organization runs various initiatives such as the construction of artificial reefs, installing mooring buoys to protect corals from anchor damage and sustainable fisheries management.
Products are available at:
- DADA in Stone Town
- Memories of Zanzibar in Stone Town
- Mrembo Spa in Stone Town
- Kumi in Stone Town
- Mwani Zanzibar in Paje
- Blue Oyster Hotel in Jambiani
- Bellevue in Stone Town
- Jenga in Stone Town
- Michamvi Sunset Bay in Michamvi
- Zuri Zanzibar in Kendwa
- Marinecultures.org Base in Jambiani
Complete Shopfinder: https://www.marinecultures.org/en/projects/spongefarming/shoplocater/