As a resident of Kaikor in Turkana North Sub-County, Rebecca Erupe options for formal employment or engaging in viable economic activities are limited.
Therefore, in a recent sensitization meeting about Ushanga Initiative, she appreciated the county’s drive to encourage women to take up beadwork as an economic activity.
The Ushanga Initiative, a program under the Department of Culture in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, is targeting such women like Erupe to improve their lives through beadwork.
Under the initiative, the department will offer training and assistance in accessing local and international markets.
Having already trained over 20 Trainer of Trainers (ToTs) from Turkana South, East and Central Sub-Counties, the department’s next destination was the vast Turkana North/ Kibish Sub-County and on a later date – Loima Sub-County.
This recent exercise sensitized over 100 women in Loareng’ak and Kaikorcentres with plans to reach out to more centres.
“We the county would like to encourage you to make different types of beaded products to sell as it will improve your standard of living and promote the Turkana culture,” said Lemmy Ejorewoia – the Chief Administrator in the Department of Culture, during the meeting with the Kaikor women.
He assured women that the department would be training them soon how to use machines such as looms and bead spinners that he showed the women during the meeting.
By learning business skills and how to use the machines, the women would be able to make different beaded items, create new designs, work faster and also improve on the products in order to be competitive in the market.
On his part, Turkana North Sub-County Administrator James Ekwakai encouraged the women to continue making bead product because it is a source of income.
The Ushanga Initiative, done in collaboration with the National Government, is meant to empower the pastoral women by changing their perception or understanding on the use of beads so that they can view them not just as an adornment but alsoas an economic asset to improve their lives.
Turkana is one of the seven counties that have traditionally been dealing in beads.Others are West Pokot, Baringo, Marsabit, Samburu, Narok and Kajiado.
By Peter Gitonga