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BeadWORKS aims to empower women and diversify family income, reducing reliance on livestock and natural resources. The programme partners with established women’s groups in conservancies, training them on bead craftsmanship, product development, and basic marketing and accounting skills. Raw materials from NRT Trading (beads, elastic and wire) are issued to the women who are compensated for their labour when products are collected. The final products are sold in zoos and gift shops in the USA and Australia and elsewhere. BeadWorks now has its own website.
There are over 1,200 women involved in the programme, earning significant income, which helps them improve their families’ lives. The BeadWORKS team meets women where they are, making it possible for them to be involved in the programme while retaining their traditional, semi-nomadic lifestyles. The design, training and sourcing processes deliver the high-quality products which international customers require, while respecting and supporting the needs and demands of the pastoralist cultures. BeadWorks products come from individual artisans, self-governed women’s groups and meaningful community relationships.
The women work together and help identify Star Beaders within their group. These Star Beaders become leaders who issue materials, oversee production, perform quality control and collect finished products. There is one Superstar Beader appointed to coordinate all the Star Beaders of a particular region, she is a trusted member of the community and must have a good business mind.
Our products not only embody the integrity of the artisans who make them, but also support the survival of the wildlife who depend on them.
- 9 conservancies
- 1,352 women empowered
- 180 star beaders
- 8 superstar beaders
- KES 7.8 million in income to the women (2016)
- KES 1.5 million in conservancy contributions (2016)