Though Kenya is the safari capital of the world and the business hub of East Africa, the majority of its 40 million-plus inhabitants are subsistence farmers and pastoralists. Women in Kenya do the vast majority of agricultural work but earn only a fraction of the income generated. Only 29 percent of those earning a formal wage throughout the country are women. This is about to change in Kasigau, where women have formed cooperatives and are fast at work weaving the most beautiful baskets – baskets which are the absolute #1 bestseller at Far & Wide Collective.
We met these women through the wonderful Beverly Friedmann, who has been working with the Kasigau Weavers for a few years with her company Hiro & Wolf.
Elephant migration patterns have been changing in recent years and as a result have been destroying crops in the area, creating a need for an alternate income source. Basket weaving has thus become increasingly important for these women. In addition to the income it provides, it has become a place where the women socialize, discuss ideas, family matters and entrepreneurship.
We have been working with these women for a year now, creating new designs and sizes to suit the demands of our customers, but none of this would work without Robert Mwehe - he understands the local politics, works with the women on their terms, helps them achieve the right quality and connects them to us and other buyers. He is so good at it that he just got admitted to Yale University. Boy he will be missed!
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