All these women are from 9 different indigenous communities in northern Kenya.
In a deeply patriarchal society, BeadWORKS women are slowly and respectfully finding their ‘seat at the table’ alongside their male counterparts, through their contribution to household and conservancy incomes.
BeadWORKS works with community conservancies to organize Women’s Groups and provide the training, resources and support the women need to participate in BeadWORKS’ community-to-market value chain. Since 2005, participants have grown to include over 1350 women in 135 self-governed Women’s Groups, all earning increasing incomes through BeadWORKS. This income enables the women to survive and improve their families’ lives, without resorting to environmentally damaging activities such as charcoal production, or overburdening their fragile grasslands with sheep and goats.
STAR BEADER SPOLIGHT
“With the income from my beadwork, my kids are comfortable and able to go to school. I also don’t need to sell goats for money anymore, which means more milk for my family. But it’s not all about the money. With BeadWORKS, I’m able to use my skills, I feel smart. It’s about your skill and production.”
As a board member of Westgate, Naisimari is passionate about the Conservancy.
“Before the establishment of the conservancy, Westgate was much poorer. People use to kill wildlife. We used to go for years without seeing a single elephant, now we see them every day. We love them as much as beading! These days, if we find a dead or injured animal, we are sure to notify the rangers.”