Over the last week, The Maa Trust has been conducting capacity-building workshops for the Maa Beadwork artisans. This training is facilitated by the funds donated by the I&M Bank Foundation for the capacity building of 579 Maa Beadwork women. The training included nutrition and adult numeracy and literacy.
Maa Beadwork consists of 579 women who are organized into 19 beading groups who meet weekly. We selected a representative from each group to attend the Training for Trainers (ToTs) workshop. The women trained will in turn train others during their weekly meetings. As the women meet in these groups to do their beadwork activities, it is a great opportunity to provide them with capacity building and training that will empower them. This opportunity is also used to educate the women about environmental issues, and the relationship between Maa Beadwork and conservation. As the majority of beadwork sales are made to tourists and tourism camps, the women are encouraged to become wildlife ambassadors because their income is dependant upon the conservation of the wildlife and their habitat. The slogan for Maa Beadwork is “Esiaai tenkaraki Ing’uesi” which translates as “Work because of the Wildlife”.
“This has been an exciting and engaging training, before I did not know how to write or read anything. I have always relied on people to help me write my phone number when it was requested, I could not tell whether they wrote the right number or not but from this training, I can now write it myself or confirm if it is the one. I would appreciate it if we had more literacy trainings to improve our reading and writing skills.” Kimererio Soit.
The ToTs were also trained in observing healthy nutrition. They were especially happy with the practical idea of kitchen gardens. They felt that it will guarantee them a self-sustaining production of vegetables for their families.
“Some of us buy vegetables from the market but do not know how they are produced. We assumed it is a hard and long process which as Maasai women we deemed impossible to achieve. No one has ever trained us (Maasai women) how to start a kitchen garden before. This training has opened my eyes and shown me how I can easily start my kitchen garden. From the household training, I have learnt that I can even grow my kitchen garden to be an income-generating activity for my household. Thank you I&M Bank Foundation and The Maa Trust for this training.” Kurito Naurori.
The training included adult numeracy and literacy skills. The objective of this training is to help women grasp knowledge on how to write both in numbers and letters.
“Working with the women has always been my passion. I wish to thank I&M Bank Foundation for making this possible by funding the capacity-building workshops. We have for a long time wanted to train these women in nutrition and adult numeracy and literacy skills, but it has not been possible due to lack of funds. This has been great for most women who can now write numbers. These representatives will go to engage and empower other women in their respective groups during their weekly meetings with all the skills learnt in the workshops.” Isen Kipetu, Project Officer Gender.
In Maasai Mara, most women go to the market once a week to buy vegetables (market day). That is the only day that they get to have a vegetable meal in their diet. This is because vegetables are not grown in Maasai Mara and are brought to the market from other towns. This training has helped the women understand the need for a balanced diet and how they can achieve this through starting their own kitchen gardens.