By Abdi Hussein
As a way of adapting to adverse climate change among pastrolists in Kajiado County, Maasai women have started modern commercial bead and mats making ventures.
According to the women, entirely depending on livestock keeping has become unsustainable due to prolonged drought.
Milk selling business which is the only source of income to the women is no longer viable making it unsustainable during droughts.
More than 70 women drawn from Enkinye village Kajiado Central sub-county, under Ilaramatak project have joined hands in an initiative that seeks to put more money in women’s hands and thus consolidating efforts of empowering women them through modern beading skills.
Women both young and aged make modern beads artifacts for commercial purposes after undergoing three months of free intense professional training.
Using locally available materials including gunny bags, women make mats ranging from door mats, car mats and carpets to eke out a living.
The women who initially stayed at home say they are able to make up to Sh300 in a day by selling the artifacts.
The mats range between Sh750 and Sh10,000 depending on size.
It takes two days to make a Sh750 mat.
A client has a choice of what pattern and writings they want.
“We are so delighted about this venture because it has transformed our lives economically. We are illiterate but if our client wants some writings and write for us what quote they need. We have mastered the art of perfectly doing prints of their choices,” stated Eunice Lekina.
However, the women lament about a shrinking market for their products limiting they daily output.
According to Ilaramatak director Agnes Leina professional training of women has enabled them make unique attractive artifacts which can be sold internationally.
She says training women on value addition of beautification of bead products will boost the economy of women and pastrolist families at large.
Beneficiaries appeal for more funding to enable them do bulky productions for export.
They have vowed to train women from other parts of the County.