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A new way of making jewellery for Mara women

Naisenya weaves beads into a bracelet design during the training workshop in Mara, Narok County of Kenya

 

Sixteen women from Olderkesi and Olposimoru, in Mara, Narok County, have undergone a training on bead-making. The five-day training ran between 22-27 February 2016 at Olposimoru Training Centre, about three kilometres from the Kenya-Tanzania border.

 

Margaret Nukeini, 39, the group’s chairperson and also a beneficiary of the training, said the exercise was helpful as the women had learnt new skills. “At first we thought we could not make it; but now we know how to make good designs. We were used to making the traditional jewellery but now we have ventured into a whole new area of designs,” Margaret,  a mother of seven, happily remarks.

 

According to AAH-I Project Officer, Ms Caroline Jepchumba, the training was aimed at assisting the women view bead-making as a business. “The Maasai community is known for its bead-making, but mostly for pleasure and custom,” said Jepchumba. She said they are now introducing a new concept to the bead-making that is driven by market demand. “We will be assisting the women here to make beads that are unique and that in turn fetch better prices. Through this change,  they can make better incomes to support their families.”

 

“We are positive that  these women will produce the best beads in East Africa that will compete even at international markets,” said Dr Kamau Githaiga, AAH Kenya Country Programme Manager.

Another year of booming businesses in Kakuma, Kenya

 

Women at the Kakuma Refugee Camp that have been financed to start a salon business. The group makes about $300 per month from their hairdressing shop. 

 

AAH Kenya has signed the second phase of the UNHCR-funded Kakuma Refugee Assistance Project (KRAP). The funding grant is worth $250,000.  In this new funding period, the project aims to cultivate self-reliance and sustainable livelihoods among 2,560 refugees in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana County, through development of replicable standards in entrepreneurship and agriculture that will uplift their living standards.

Being the lead livelihood agency at the camp, AAH Kenya envisions to carry out activities such as scaling up of the agriculture production to enable Persons of Concern (PoCs) produce more food. AAH Kenya will also train farmers on modern farming methods.
 
Other activities to be carried out include developing a business centre to nurture potential entrepreneurs, link the businesses to a revolving fund for capital and training of  2,160 PoCs on entrepreneurship and business skills.

Youth undergo vocational training in Uganda

 

Thirty students will graduate this month after an eight-month vocational training in Adjumani Refugee Resettlement, in Northern Uganda. The trainees are youth from both refugees and the host community.
 
The ceremony is set to take place on December 17. This is will be the first training on motor vehicle mechanics, implemented by AAH Uganda in the settlement.
 
William Chandiga, 24, is among the motor mechanics trainees. He left his home in Kazokeji, South Sudan, 15 years ago, aged only nine. Chandiga fled with his family to Maaji Camp before settling in Adjumani. His mother is a teacher, while his father is a farmer. “I am glad for the training. I have acquired skills that were merely a dream,” he says, adding that through the support of AAH Uganda, he now has skills in vehicle servicing and repair, among others.
 
Chandiga has been able to help the community in repairing their mills and in the process earn some money. He has also undertaken a driving course, and is in the process of obtaining a driving permit. “My life is better after the skills I have acquired. I will be able to earn some money and support my parents and siblings,” he said.

AAH Uganda plans to make the training continuous and include courses in electrical installation, plumbing, metal fabrication. The trainees were assessed by the Directorate of Industrial Training, a Uganda government agency.

AAH Uganda operates a mechanical workshop at Adjumani that services vehicles fleet belongs to UNHCR and implementing partners.

 

 

 

Empowering women through bead-making skills in Mara, Kenya

 

Twenty one women have acquired skills on making diverse and unique bead designs in Mara, Kenya. Previously, the women made designs that were only marketed locally, and this limited their customer reach.

AAH Kenya has trained the women to acquire skills in order to make designs that are appealing to the international market. The beneficiaries are excited about the skills they have acquired. “Our trainer has taught us on how to make unique designs, which are simple but fetch better prices, than before,” said Naneu Kirokkor, 42, a mother of seven.

Kirokkor said she would now sell her products to customers around the world. “I will target buyers in countries such as the Netherlands. I hope to fetch good returns that will enable me pay school fees and buy food for my children,’’ she says.
 

The training stemmed from a market survey carried out by AAH Kenya early this year. Findings showed that women in Mara are keen in beading-making business, but face marketing challenges. 


Furthermore, these bead-makers would seek finished products from the famous Maasai Market in Nairobi. Following the training, they will not need to travel to Kenya's capital city, more than 250 kilometres away from their homes.

AAH Country Programme Manager Dr Kamau Githaiga said the women are entrepreneurial, but needed capacity-building. The 21 women went through a five-day training session, with a second group of ten women expected to go through a similar training in 2016.

The survey recommended that the women needed to adapt to the market trends and tastes, especially for international tourists, whose tastes can change with seasons. The training emphasised on use of market colours and not necessarily the commonly used community colours; red and yellow. This will ensure that the diverse designs and colours have wide range of customers, and create resultant good returns for the designers.

Kenyan jewelry enthusiasts prefer junky pieces while western world prefer lighter trinkets. The training sessions focused on the need to be able to derive inspiration from the traditional Maasai elements to modern style jewelry pieces in order to maintain authenticity.

AAH-I Kenya is implementing Mara Entrepreneurship and Market Development Project (MEMD). The project’s goal is to strengthen the community’s resilience and capacity to lead their own development through supporting an entrepreneurial mind-set among community members.

The two-year project works with livestock keepers, women and youth in Mara division to address their economic development issues that are aimed to increase their income. The project is funded by Bread for the World.

 

 

Government hails AAH Zambia HIV/AIDS interventions

 

A Zambia minister has welcomed initiatives undertaken by AAH Zambia that has touched the lives of host communities and refugees.

 

“Thank you for your good work. It is interesting to learn what you are doing. You also strive to supplement Government’s efforts,” said the Youth and Sports minister Vincent Mwale, after visiting AAH Zambia’s information desk during this year’s World AIDS Day celebrations in Lusaka.

 

 

Mr Mwale took time to listen to AAH Zambia’s interventions in Lusaka and Kawambwa, where HIV/AIDS initiatives are being implemented. He interacted with some of the refugees that took part in the celebrations.

 

In an address to hundreds of Lusaka residents, the minister called on Zambian youth to be in the forefront in efforts aimed at prevention of HIV and AIDS. He said the youth were future leaders and their role in the fight against HIV and AIDS was crucial.

 

The minister said the Government is committed in ensuring that the country had zero new infections through universal access to prevention, treatment and support services.

 

Forty refugees participated at this year’s celebrations, under the local theme ‘Zambia’s Future: Getting zero HIV infections’.

 

AAH Zambia under the Urban Refugee Project is implementing an HIV/AIDS programme, aimed at sensitising refugees and the host community on the disease. The programme is being implemented with financial support from the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in partnership with UNHCR.

Inspiring story ahead of the World Refugee day.