You have done us good - Namayiana
ImageThe Maasai woman is taunted as the busiest in Kenya. Besides the normal chores that every woman has in a household, she gets to do others like building manyattas (Maasai houses) herding and milking livestock, this kind of workload hardly leaves time for anything else.

The women are involved in production of traditional hand made Maasai crafts such as bracelets, passport holders, necklaces, decorations and beadwork of cloth and leather. These products are sold and proceeds divided amongst the members.  Each woman has an average of 5 children and therefore this initiative provides funds for their education, food, clothing and medical care for over 1200 people.
Its all smiles for the Namayiana group, through the USAID/EPC Trade Development Program, they participated in the Sources International Trade Fair held in Los Angeles where they displayed their products and made contacts with US buyers resulting to orders totaling more than $275,000 which have so far been fulfilled by the group
Namayiana, a Maasai word meaning blessed, was established in 1990 with the main goal of engaging its members in gainful economic activities. The Group is managed by a team of 8 female Committee Members and an Advisory Committee of 10 men.

In July 2006, the group was selected by the Export Promotion Council (EPC) through USAID/EPC Trade Development Programme (TDP) to participate in the Sources International Trade Fair held in Los Angeles.  During the trade fair, the group displayed their products and made contacts with US buyers who have commenced placing orders for their products as follow up on other buyers is progressing.

Namayiana also benefited from the technical assistance offered by the consultants from Aid to Artisans under the USAID funded Trade Development Programme who trained them on the aspects of market trends, pricing, designs, exhibition displaying techniques and colour modification intended to broaden the products appeal to US buyers. The group worked extremely hard to produce samples of all the design suggestions resulting in a huge selection of product possibilities at the show.  Nonetheless, the group has benefited from continued product improvement that would interface the wonderful tradition of the Maasai beadwork with products that have broader market appeal. For example there are wonderful women’s belts that have been well received in the US apparel/accessory industry.

The quality of the goods has improved tremendously and orders are delivered on time. The newly developed products are drawing a lot of interests from buyers. The assistance has enabled the Group to diversify markets to the US in addition to Japan and UK. In addition products offering have expanded and with follow up on contacts made during the Sources Show, Namayiana sales have improved. With increased sales, members’ incomes have been evenly distributed throughout the year

The group has succeeded in changing the lives of its members beyond their dreams just from the work of their hands apart from strengthening their self worth and sense of belief. It is this success that earned them a grant from the US Embassy in Kenya to help build a stone building, which they now use as their exhibition hall.
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