SYEF partners with women in Samburu to sell their beadwork online and at events in the United States. The organization purchases the items from the women based on labor and supplies, and then sells the items at a profit to raise money for our youth scholarships and leadership programming. It’s a strategy by which we can invest in women’s income-generation and youth education, which are the two most important activities for achieving prosperity and alleviating poverty.
Based on follow-up evaluation with the women, the beadwork income helps with food and housing security, and at times provides opportunities for the women to invest in items that are beyond the basics of a household. Our primary women’s group partner for our beading program, the Unity Women’s Village, completed construction of a tourist hut for adventure-seeking travelers to Samburu. The women charge the equivalent of about $21 per person per night, and have had a modest but steady flow of visitors for a few months now.
The women built the tourist hut with funds generated primarily through the income they earned via their beading program with SYEF. It was their own group decision-making that led to this reinvestment of a portion of the income into a venture that would generate additional revenue, and they have recouped their initial start-up costs already.
As Unity Womens Village continues to pursue a more consistent income, and one that is also less dependent on SYEF bead sales, we will bring additional women into our beading program, and hopefully have a similar effect with more individuals. We’ve added five additional women to the program, and will incrementally add more as we have the capacity and opportunities to sell more beadwork. In the meantime, you can go to our Etsy site to purchase some of the items we sell.