BeadWORKS partners with established women’s groups in conservancies to help them turn their traditional craft skills into a viable, sustainable business. There are over 1,021 women in nine conservancies now involved in the business, making beaded jewellery, trinkets and accessories. With support from NRT Trading, these products are sold to customers in the USA, UK and Australia and online via the BeadWORKS website.
Pastoralism and bead works are both social and economic activities that the community does effortlessly. In recent years, the community has been able to significantly monetize bead works and the men, who traditionally looked after cattle, have now joined the women in Saccos that help them sell their wares even in international markets.
“Initially we used to sell chang’aa but despite fetching us some income it was a source of conflict in the family. NRT has empowered us through beadWORKS and even if they leave today, we have the skills and shall go on with the trade,” says Ms Lekaria.
As a member of the Samburu tribe, 30-year-old Nalan’gu Lokoloto is expected to remain at her home in Kalama Conservancy—for days and sometimes weeks—while her husband is out tending to the family’s livestock. She has never attended formal school. In 2016, things turned around for her. “I found out people around the world like our beautiful, traditional jewelry, which I learned to make over the years,” said Lokoloto. In the past, Lokoloto and other women in her community often earned money by stripping local trees to make and sell charcoal or by brewing illicit alcohol. These activities are damaging both to the local environment and the community. Kalama, established in 2002 and located in Isiolo County, is one of 35 community conservancies...