Women's empowerment is a core MOT objective and we are proud to work with MAA Trust and the Masai women who are contributing their talents in our beaded work.
Maa Beadwork is a social enterprise that has been established by The Maa Trust, to bring additional livelihood to women and their families. Beading is the tribal art and talent of Maasai, who have been famed for their adornment for centuries.
We undertook this project in 2013 at the request of Maasai women who felt they were not benefiting from the conservancies, as rent payments largely passed only to men. The ladies wanted to be connected to the tourist market in the Mara, and to camp managers who requested high quality local produce for their shops.
Maa Beadwork has been lovingly guided and nurtured by Resian Letoluo, who is now supported by a dedicated team of fellow Maasai ladies. In 2016 the project expanded to include 494 women from 17 villages around Olare Motorogi and Naboisho Conservancies. Each of our members is from a different homestead (‘boma’) and represents, on average, 19 people who benefit from the project indirectly, thus increasing the impact of Maa Beadwork from 494 women to over 9000 people.
Maasai women spend a large portion of their time collecting water and firewood and they face challenges supporting children, especially daughters through school. Life is also made more difficult due to a lack of power in homesteads. To address these challenges, every Maa Beadwork member has customized her own wish list of priority items to work towards, and our team guide them on how to bank their earnings to save up for items like rainwater collection tanks, gas cylinders for cooking and solar power kits. Many are also keen to ensure that all of their children, including girls, have the chance to go to school.
Each village has formed its own self-help group of 20-40 ladies and they coordinate their own micro-finance schemes. The women make weekly contributions into a group savings box, from which household equipment is bought in a merry-go-round system. In this way all members of the group can quickly attain expensive items that make a huge difference to their lives. Members can also borrow money from their group’s finances if they would like to start a small-scale business.
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