Samburu women turn age-old beading craft into cash cow


The women from nine community conservancies in Samburu Laikipia, Isiolo and Marsabit counties are organised into self-help groups and sponsored by the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). Last year, they made Sh11 million from the ornaments and saved Sh1.5 million in a cooperative society.

A Samburu woman makes ornaments using beads.

All these are part of an effort to promote environmental conservation and champion alternative livelihoods for young morans through vocational training, so as to curb cattle rustling.

Last Friday, the NRT rewarded the best performers, with the women praising the project as life-changing.

“This project has demonstrated that we are capable of taking care of our families. When we started, we were worried it would bring about conflict in the community but it has instead become a blessing,” said Nabiki Leseper at Kalama Conservancy in Samburu County.

“We have also earned respect in the community and helped promote peace. Through this project, I am able to buy food for my family and take children to school,” said the mother of eight.

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