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Women trained on value addition beadwork

Ushanga Kenya Initiative in partnership with the office of the Women Representative in Kajiado has trained 70 women in Kajiado Central Sub County on value addition in beadwork.

Hellen Nkaiserry the national chairperson of Ushanga Kenya Initiative says that the training seeks to empower women nationwide so that they can produce quality beadwork that meet international standards.

“The government is very supportive of this program as it is the only way it can support women from pastoralist counties. Through the crafting and selling of the bead products including accessories, jewelry, home furnishings, cultural collectables and flower pots, the women whose only source of income was selling milk and charcoal burning will have an alternative source of livelihood,” said Mama Hellen.

Mama Hellen remarked that in partnership with the office of the women representatives in the counties, they are identifying market focal points where the women will be able to display the products they are producing in addition to marketing and branding them so that any tourist who comes to the Kenya can easily access the local products at a price that is commensurate with the value of the item.

The chairperson urged the women to join cooperatives in every ward so that Ushanga Kenya can link them directly to markets without going through middle men who exploit them.

“This is a sustainable livelihood program in that the beads do not face the threat of drought like what we have gone through recently but it will give women money hence they will be able to improve their livelihoods,”

“We expect every ward to have a women Ushanga cooperative which will form the link between Ushanga Kenya and the county coordinating office and it is through this that we will take the products and link them to markets and the money will pass through the same passage to reach to the women,” Said Mama Hellen

On her part, Kajiado Women Representative, Leah Sankaire commented that the training also focuses on environment and climate change whereby the women incorporate their traditional beading knowledge with modern skills to communicate and sensitize themselves on the impact of climate change through beading.

The Women Representative revealed that Kajiado County through the County Assembly will come up with a policy that will ensure construction of curio shops in Amboseli National Park which has the largest number of tourists in the county so that the women can sell their products to tourists directly without involving middlemen.

She remarked that her office has already identified a market for the women to sell their products in Ngong; meanwhile, they are looking for one in Kajiado town and Amboseli National Park.

Alice Seki, a beneficiary of the training, thanked Ushanga Kenya for the training saying it has changed their perception of beadwork which they have been doing traditionally without getting any profits.

A similar training was conducted by Ushanga Kenya in Kajiado West Sub County. The organisation is also planning to train women from Kajiado East Sub County.

By Diana Meneto and Sammy Rayiani

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