Deputy President William Ruto has said that the government is training 4000 women to equip them with the relevant skills needed to transform bead making into a lucrative business.
Speaking in Olooloitikoshi, Kajiado County, Mr Ruto said the beadwork which has been a long time traditional activity will be transformed into a commercial business that will transform the lives of pastoral women who take up bead making.
The Deputy President said the initiative is in line with The Big Four Agenda which seeks to add value to locally made products with the aim of increasing income for Kenyan products.
Mr Ruto said: “We will train 4000 women who will be in charge of women groups across the region. A total of KES 400 Million has been set aside for the Ushanga Initiative that will be utilized in training and hiring bead designers to make beads for local and international markets.”
Ushanga Kenya Initiative is a National Government project that aims to empower women who make string beads (ushanga) so that they can benefit economically from their handiwork.
This will be done by mobilizing women into groups, providing infrastructure and providing access to markets both locally and internationally.
In a gazette notice published on July 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Mrs. Hellen Nkaiserry to chair nine member committee that will govern the implementation of the project.
The committee will provide oversight, approve all expenditures in line with the project and undertake tasks that may be assigned to them by the Ministry of Tourism.
The brains behind this initiative is MS Dorothy Mashipei is the Chief Executive Officer of Ushanga Kenya Initiative.
Ms Mashipei in an earlier interview said the Ushanga Initiative will go a long way in transforming the lives of the pastoral women by adding value to their bead products which has been a traditional activity.
She said women will be registered into cooperatives in all the 7 pastoralist counties adding the Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has been assigned by the presidency to spearhead the project.
The project will be implemented in 7 counties: Narok, Kajiado, Samburu, West Pokot, Turkana, Marsabit and Baringo in a time frame of five years.