A number of Narok women have been trained on modern ways of making beads, so as to make their work more attractive to the foreign markets.
Speaking after holding a week-long workshop at a Narok hotel, the County Ushanga Kenya Initiative Chairperson, Rebecca Nkowua, said the move was triggered by the increasing competition from other African countries, that export their products to the European markets.
Nkowua said the women were trained on using modern machines that are faster and more effective than the traditional way that takes long and less effective.
“The machine will give a good finish, unlike before when some ornaments would cause body harm because of poor finishing,” she said, adding that the modern market wants very perfect goods.
Some of the products the women make include; earrings, breast plates, belts, decorating wine glasses, decorating pillows and cushions, making floor mats among others.
Nkowua asked all women to ensure they are registered in a particular group, so that they can benefit more from the government programs, reiterating that the government sponsors only the organized groups.
“If you are an expert in bead making but you are not in any group, you will not benefit from the government programs. I request all talented women, to join into groups so that it can be easier to market their products abroad,” he said.
She lauded the government for sponsoring the training sessions, that have seen women from the eight Sub-counties trained on modern bead making.
Narok County is among seven counties in the country that do beadwork. Others are Kajiado, West Pokot, Turkana, Laikipia, Samburu and Baringo. Each of the counties have their own unique style of doing the beads.
Emily Naserian, who was sponsored by the government to get modern training in Dubai, said different people love different ways of making beads.
“While in Dubai, I learnt how to decorate houses, clothes, utensils, key holders among others using beads. I have been training women how to decorate their houses using beads, so as to match the walls with the curtains,” she said.
She called on women to embrace modernity in bead making, so that they can earn foreign money, saying there is a big market for beadwork in European countries.
I have customers in Dubai and Spain who love my products. I have learnt the type of beadwork they love, so I have been perfecting my skills so as to be more attractive,” she said.
Last week, the Ushanga Kenya Initiative, launched a digital platform, to enable the women from the pastoralists’ communities to sell their beadwork products easily.
The launching event was held in Transmara West Sub- County and was attended by Sports, Heritage and Culture Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed and Ushanga Kenya Initiative Chairperson Hellen Nkaisery.
By Ann Salaton