A Hand Up for Fairtrade Communities

As part of Fairtrade Fortnight we are encouraging people to Take a Step and open a Share Account that will provide a hand up for communities such as those of the Massai women who work as part of the Namayiana group.

NamayianaNamayiana are a women's group based in Kenya that have had a relationship with Shared Interest since 2009. They produce handmade beaded goods from two premises in the Ngong area, one in the countryside and the other in Ngong town. Their office is based in the town; here they carry out the administrative work and packaging for export, while the countryside site is used for production and collection of finished products.

The group uses their facility to provide the women within the group with pre finance which motivates them to complete the bead work. They also provide them with training on quality assurance and design.

Namayiana brings together Maasai women to produce the handcrafts. Working as part of the group offers them a sense of strength as well as the opportunity to create a livelihood for themselves. The women of the group belong to a very traditional community in which women are generally not empowered. Since working for Namayiana many of the women have reported that living standards have been improved and that the money they have made has led to the development of alternative ways of income generation such as poultry keeping and irrigation.

The group's term loan enabled them to attend a three-week trade event in Vienna in 2010. Project Manager, Catherine Mututua reported on the impact of this event telling Shared Interest that one woman in the group was able to clear her children's school fees arrears in September 2010 and another stated that she" felt financially empowered for the first time" as a result of the trade fair and the increased business it generated.

Catherine said: "With Shared Interest behind us, we have more courage to work harder and feel we can go far in our business".

Namayiana feature in our promotional work with The Big Issue so keep an eye out for them and as always let us know what you think of the campaign.