The Ushanga Initiative sensitisation exercise that aims to educate women in the county on the need to embrace bead making as an economic activity has kicked off today at Aposta,Songot ward in Turkana West Sub-County.

The initiative is meant to assist women attain economic empowerment through making of varied traditional and modern beaded products that can be sold to earn an income, hence fight poverty and improve their livelihoods.

So far, the Department of Culture, under the County Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources, has trained 20 Trainers of Trainers (ToTs) and sensitised 230 women in Turkana North, Central, South and East Sub-counties. The Aposta group of 50 women, brings the number to 270.

“Turkana County Government wants to help women in the county understand the economic value of beads and train them. The training will enable the women to develop modern and new designs of beaded products,” said Charles Lokioto, the County Executive Committee member of the ministry.

He said that Ushanga empowerment program is on skill development that targets not only the women, but the youth as well.
CECM Lokiyoto called on the women to form and join Cooperative societies to ease access funds and markets.

He assured them of County government plans to establish Curio shops to avail ready markets for the beaded products.

On his part, the Deputy Director of Culture Phillip Lokaala challenged the women to take advantage of Tobong’u Lore – the annual Turkana tourism Cultural Festival – to learn more about the market preferences on beaded products. He added that festival also offers an opportunity for the women group to showcase their products for sale.

Lokaala also encouraged the women, representing nine villages from the area, to form groups which would later become cooperatives.

The department is advocating for use of modern beading machines that will improve their efficiency, design development and finishing of their products.

During these sensitisation exercises, Lemmy Ejorewoia – Chief Administrator of the department – demonstrated the use of various beading machines and equipment and how they can be used.

The department will in future carry out similar exercises at Namoruputh (Loima Sub-County), Kalemng’orok and Lochor Eemoit in Turkana South Sub-county.