Women Empowerment

The Trust supports the local Maasai women by providing them vocational training and by supporting their small business initiatives with training, production facilities, donations or micro finance loans.


                                                                                                                          Click on the above picture to see more bead work.        

The Maasai Rianda Women Group Charcoal Briquette Production

Earning their own money is on top of the agenda of the Maasai women from the Mararianta village. Thirty-one of the women have formed a community group to support each other in their effort to start up a small business initiative. The challenge was to find a product to sell with a market living out on the savannah.

These charcoal briquettes are a type of fuel made by combining charcoal powder with other ingredients such as cow dung, twigs, small branches, soil, and water. Conventional charcoals are made from wood. Compared with traditional fuels, charcoal briquettes not only generate heat continuously but burning them doesn’t produce smoke or an odor during combustion. In addition, and more importantly, utilizing briquettes doesn’t require trees, to be felled for the carbonization to occur. This conventional charcoal production damages the forests of Kenya, destroying important ecosystems and reducing CO2 capture from the environment.

Due to the success of the production and utilization of the novel briquettes there is the potential for larger scale use of them in businesses in addition to at-home use.

The main customer for the briquettes is Karen Blixen Camp. In addition, however, other camps in the area have received supplies from the women.

Initially the women had a smaller briquette machine but with a donation from Karen Blixen Camp Trust, as well from camp guests, they have been able to acquire a carbonizer, a grinding machine, and a much larger assembly machine that enables the women to increase their scale of production as the demand for the charcoal briquette increases.

The income the women receive from the sale of the charcoal briquettes supplements the funds they receive from selling bead products. The women also harvest honey. This diversification of income enables the mamas to have a sustainable stream of revenue and reduces their over-reliability on one source of income. The varied sources of revenue enable the women to sustain their families throughout the year. The opportunity for the women to develop their own vocations will enable them to be more self-sufficient and expand their role in society.

You can read more about the project here: Donation supports women´s small business

The Maasai Rianda Women Beading Project

The beading project started in 2014 when 32 women from Mararianta established the Maasai Rianda Women Group, a community-based organization.

The pieces of bead work created by the women are of traditional Maasai and Western design or are a combination of the two elements. The pieces include jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, and ear rings as well as such items as belts, dog collars, and key chains. The women have received guidance on designs from visiting instructors, previously financed by the Trust.

The workshop (donated by KBCT) is located on the Karen Blixen Camp grounds, which can be visited by guests of the camp. The finished products are for sale in the tent workroom and in the camp store. Each piece has identification and background of the woman who produced the piece, which ensures payment to the woman who created the item.

The bead work created by Maasai women has a rich and unique history within its culture. It is, however, in danger of disappearing as modern lifestyle changes have affected the lives of the Maasai community. The most direct means to support the women is to buy their products and increase their business income.




Click on the above picture and watch film about the bead women.                                                                              Click the above picture to see more pictures.