Kiwi support is helping create livelihoods and trade in the rural community of Emali in Kenya. The project is also preserving the heritage of the Maasai and Kamba peoples.
Emali is home to both the Maasai, who are known for their elaborate beaded jewellery and Kamba, known for their baskets and carvings. The rural township of Emali is extremely impoverished and many survive on farming alone but this is subject to the vagaries of the climate. With droughts becoming ever more frequent there is a desperate need for alternative sources of income.
ChildFund with financial support from the New Zealand government’s Aid Programme, and the expertise of artist Chris Delany and Iko-Iko’s Anna Wooles, has helped provide the additional resources, tools and business training needed so that local artisans can produce the type of quality products that are sought after by tourists and boutiques.
Initially Chris helped scope potential high-end markets for the community’s products, including the Nairobi Museum and a five-star hotel chain. New Zealand ethical crafts boutique Iko-Iko became interested and started importing the baskets to sell at their Auckland and Wellington stores.
The business venture is named MaKa Emali (after both tribal groups) and is going from strength to strength adding an Australian store to its list of international customers.
We will keep you posted on updates as the venture progresses. If you would like to support this venture or find out more about the MaKa Emali craft group you can drop [email protected] a line. Please visit our Kenya country page to find out more about ChildFund New Zealand's work in the Emali community.