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Artisan Organization: BeadWORKS

Country: Kenya

BeadWORKS creates opportunities for pastoralist women in northern Kenya to translate their traditional skills into much-needed income. A business line of NRT Trading, the commercial arm of the The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), BeadWORKS is part of a powerful and growing movement to transform lives. By promoting peaceful community partnerships, we are committed to conserving natural resources and wildlife through self-governed, community-owned conservancies and sustainable, social and ethical enterprise.
By purchasing from BeadWORKS, you are investing directly in helping to secure a sustainable future for significant areas of northern Kenya – for people, for wildlife and for the environment.
BeadWORKS works with community conservancies to organize women’s groups and provide the training, resources and support the women need to participate in BeadWORKS’ community-to-market value chain. Since 2005, participants have grown to include over 1350 women in 135 self-governed women’s groups, all earning increasing incomes through BeadWORKS. This income enables the women to survive and improve their families’ lives, without resorting to environmentally damaging activities such as charcoal production, or overburdening their fragile grasslands with sheep and goats. When women have reliable incomes which are independent of unpredictable rainfall, communities and wildlife are able to thrive – together.
BeadWORKS meets women where they are, and makes it possible for them to earn incomes and retain their traditional, semi-nomadic lifestyles. Our design, training and sourcing processes deliver the high-quality products which international customers require, while respecting and supporting the needs and demands of the pastoralist cultures. The BeadWORKS products come from individual artisans, self-governed women’s groups and meaningful community relationships – not factories. We involve the women in refining product quality and design, improving their skills and building group leadership. Our products not only embody the integrity of the artisans who make them, but also support the survival of the wildlife who depend on them."