First Lady meets "exceptional women" of BeadWORKS
Kenya’s First Lady, Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta, was inspired by the "exceptional women" she met at NRT Trading’s headquarters during a visit in late June.
The First Lady spent the weekend at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, where NRT and NRT Trading are headquartered, for the 20th Safaricom Lewa marathon. After completing a 5 kilometre race, H.E Margaret Kenyatta joined the Sports, Culture and Heritage Cabinet Secretary (CS) Amina Mohamed, the Meru County Governor Kiraitu Murungi, the Nominated Senator Abshiro Halake and other dignitaries to meet the BeadWORKS team and some of the artisans involved in the business.
The First Lady received a lesson in beading from the artisans, who sang traditional songs as they worked. With over 1,030 women in community conservancies now involved in BeadWORKS, its effects are not only being felt financially at the household level, but also in the wider local economy and conservancy governance, as women receive business training and access loans, and become empowered to speak up and take more active roles in their conservancies.
NRT CEO Tom Lalampaa led the NRT Trading team in explaining the BeadWORKS business model - which is predicated on a grass-roots production chain that is wholly owned by the women’s groups themselves.
“Today, I have seen exceptional women in this area who now have sustainable income,” said the First Lady. “As a mother, I know the important role that women play in uplifting the lives of their families. I thank the NRT for going a step further to ensure that the beautiful BeadWORK is linked to markets to expand trading opportunities.”
BeadWORKS artisans earned over Ksh. 4.7 million (US$ 47,000) in direct income in 2018 from selling beaded jewellery, belts, bags, trinkets, accessories and decorations to international markets including USA, UK and Australia through NRT Trading.
Currently, the women of Sera, Melako, Westgate, Leparua and Il Ngwesi conservancies are branching into leather goods.