Starting in January 2021, we completely transitioned our company structure. Wula Drum is the only drum company, ever, in the history of drum making in Guinea, to give full time, year long contracted salaries. Although this is a huge, exciting transition, and an ambitious undertaking, we see it is the best route to create true sustainability for the Team. Not only does Wula still continue to pay the highest wages, we also provide a monthly salary, full-time work, paid holidays, medical (limited), legal documented employment, professional and safe working conditions, research and development, and incentive programs, all which point toward a more stable career and successful route for the entire team and their families.
Drum making is a team effort. A single drum passes through several people’s hands and several stages of production. Each craftsman has a skill in specifically one area, such as, the interior carving, exterior carving, decoration, mounting, and finishing. Commonly, the system each shop uses is to pay the worker for each task they complete, per drum. “Pay Per Drum”. Like that of free lance work, when the work finishes, there is no guarantee for future work. This work is “on again, off again”, and forces people to scramble around to find more work, or wait for new work, and adjust the best they can.
In our eyes, this is a big difference compared to that of a full time, salaried, contracted position structure. We found that the “pay per drum” system of work fails create sustainable income for its employees. It becomes “feast or famine” - too much work, then dropping off to nothing. This extremely limits the work, the worker, and the final outcome of the instrument. It hinders the ability of the employee (and the company) to grow into its full potential and create longevity...sustainability.
A “Pay Per Drum” system can often be short lived as this system may not provide consistency enough to help support families, plan futures, get through slow season, and navigate through unexpected challenges of life.
Through a series of long discussions, meetings, and evaluations, with the entire team, we created yearly contracts for each person, unifying all 18 people.
The results so far have been Amazing! We have found that monthly salaries helps create much more stability for each person, most who have been with us for 5-8-10-12+ years. We have seen more marriages, families started, purchases of houses, and even some purchasing of land for future investments and developments.
This, which in turn has unified the work, we see our drums improving as well. Better, more consistent work, improved quality, improved tempo and overall vision of the work. Please note, this is all a large undertaking! A challenge for sure. Not an easy endevour, , however, we are committed, and trying our best to keep this many people going, full time. This is the best path we see for true change and for each to obtain a better future and true sustainability.
This is real teamwork, and it shows. Wontanara! We are all Together.
So, how can you help? Simple, enjoy our wonderful instruments. Help promote drumming and get your friends and family involved. Help spread the benefits of music in your daily life. Music is good for the soul, and there for everyone to enjoy, at anytime, and every time.