The women of Basecamp Maasai Brand, a fair trade self-help group, gained vital business and leadership skills essential for bringing in income. Jemimah Saurowua explains in this narrated slideshow.
Project partner KEFAT -- the Kenya Federation for Alternative Trade -- began rolling out training to 30 producer groups of women in 2013.
A baseline survey of KEFAT's membership revealed gaps in capacity where training was most needed.
KEFAT divided the country into seven geographic clusters and appointed a coordinator for each. In May 2013, coordinators took part in a three-day training session that gave them a range of knowledge on leadership skills, women’s rights and roles in poverty alleviation, relevant legislation, democratic participation and accountability, business and financial skills, and an understanding of marketing and quality management.
The women took their new knowledge back to women’s groups in their areas. In all, 67 training sessions were held between 2013-15, with 3,160 women reached.
In addition to the community coordinators, three other leaders were trained as trainers. KEFAT has had materials translated into Swahili for those women with little or no understanding of English.
KEFAT's goal for members in this project: increased sales through improved design and market readiness.
While not all groups could provide definitive sales numbers, all reported an improvement. KICK, one of the participating groups, recorded improved sales of almost 40 per cent, though not all of that growth can be attributed directly to this project.
Lucy Nyambura said her group, Bega Kwa Bega in Nairobi, saw sales jump by 30 per cent in 2013 due to better communication with customers and better leadership within the group.
Training on product design and quality management, in particular, helped groups find new markets and new customers as products improved and diversified (across participant groups, 17 new products were designed).
At the outset, only 13 groups were properly registered with current certification. By the end of the project, all 30 self-help groups participating in the project were registered and had current certification. This allowed them to be recognized by institutions and enabled access to financial services. Economic empowerment followed, as both groups and individuals were able to take out loans, leading to improved standards of living. And a culture of saving was established among participants that will help sustain the positive changes in their lives.
KEFAT's Board members also received corporate governance training. The workshop was sponsored by WIEGO and facilitated by OYES, an affiliate member of KEFAT. Board members were equipped with leadership skills and awareness of the Board's roles and responsibilite, enabling them to deliver on their mandate.
Improvement of KEFAT’s website was undertaken to ensure it remained dynamic and responsive and communicated effectively.
At the 2014 AGM, for the first time ever, the gender balance shifted on KEFAT’s nine-person Board of Directors when five women were elected.