Pastoralist Communities to benefit from Sh. 200 million beadwork project

The Government is set to inject Sh. 200 Million in the first phase of Ushanga Kenya Initiative that will benefit women in seven pastoral counties.

Speaking at Enkereri Manyatta in Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Tourism Principal Secretary (PS) Ms. Fatuma Hirsi said her Ministry has hired marketers and designers to promote the bead products crafted by the pastoral women.

We have a budget of over Sh200 million to kick start this initiative. We want our women to get maximum benefits from their artifacts. We want to ensure that instead of selling these products for Sh300 locally, they can sell the quality stuff in global market for over Sh. 40,000 which shall go directly to their pockets, said the PS.

Ms Hirsi who was accompanied by the Ushanga Initiative Chair Hellen Nkaissery and the initiative’s national coordinator Dorothy Nashipae said so far they have trained over 40 trainers to train the women on producing world-class products that can appeal in international markets.

The initiative targets pastoral counties such as Narok, Samburu, Baringo, Kajiado, Marsabit, West Pokot and Turkana where majority of the women have traditionally been doing beadwork.

The PS also revealed that the beadwork will be marketed alongside other tourism products under Culture and Heritage.

As a country we are known as a wildlife destination but we want to diversify to cultural tourism through the beadwork as well as the beautiful cultural communities. Ushanga initiative is in tandem with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agendas as it will create employment as well as economic empowerment of women, added Ms. Hirsi.

The PS was given a Maasai name ‘Nedupa’ which locally means; the great one as a sign of honour.

Ms Nkaissery said the beadwork will go a long way in solving environment as women will not have to trek for several kilometres with donkeys to sell charcoal.

Through beadwork we shall minimize human-wildlife conflicts and destruction of our forests as our women shall no longer be doing the charcoal business. Beadwork is the only sustainable source of income to women in pastoral communities, said Ms Nkaissery.

She said the initiative has an office at the Bomas of Kenya and is gearing up to roll out the program starting May.

Source: Kenya News Agency