One hundred women drawn from pastoral communities have been trained on marketing their cultural products aimed at increasing their income and boosting cultural tourism in the region.
Funded by the Tourism fund, the exercise brought together several women groups from Laikipia North Sub County who were trained on beadwork, differentiation of products, profit and loss issues, quality standards, and administration of first aid, at a Nanyuki hotel.
Laikipia County Executive Committee member in charge of Trade, Tourism and Cooperatives, Biwott Tirop, lauded the tourism fund for the initiative that allowed women to interact with professionals who can help them grow their businesses.
“We will have two sessions in late August and November to follow up on the output of the training and identify areas that need more improvement,” said Tirop.
Director Tourism Fund, Eden Odhiambo, said the county is well known for being a tourist attraction site, and given the fact that the women, taxi and boda boda operators are among the first people who meet tourists when they visit. The training will help them value and handle them well.
“Through the training, the women will appreciate what tourists bring to us, and we are assured that the kind of handling that they will provide and leave a good impression, will make the tourists come back,” said Odhiambo.
Sammy Kwai, a member of the Tourism Professional Association (TPA), said tourism happens at the local level and is one of the fastest growing and critical industries of the country’s economy.
Kwai added that through the training, they are able to give back to the society and support women who are critical players in the value chain.
“We have had this kind of engagement in other regions before. The need in Laikipia was to empower and train women involved in culture, one of the growing segments of the tourism products we offer as a country,” said Kwai.
Kwai called on the devolved unit to follow through on identified needs and gaps from the training so that the culture of beadwork can be put on the map.
“We challenge other counties to take a cue from Laikipia. TPA is ready to work with other counties to strengthen professionalism particularly at the county level and take this industry forward,” noted Kwai.
Esther Gilesho, a trainee and chairlady of Ewangan IL Ngwesi Beadwork women group, said the training was informative and they would work towards enhancing the performance of their beadwork business.
“Beadwork is our main source of income as women. I am glad we have been trained on rendering quality service and marketing, which is very important in informing our clients about our products,” said Gilesho.
The women were issued with certificates.
By Cynthia Ronoh and Naomi Gesare