Beads Turn Kenyan Women Into Entrepreneurs—and Conservationists

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...

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Women Entrepreneurs Take On Gender Stereotypes in North Kenya

BeadWORKS was the first NRT Trading business to be established, and has used the conservancy structure both as a catalyst for women-focused enterprise, and as leverage when approaching investors and business partners. Women are increasingly represented on the conservancy boards, and women’s enterprise groups are now enjoying a new legitimacy, giving them, often for the first time, a voice in their community.

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