The Turkana County Directorate of Culture is holding a ten-day ushanga training workshop in Katilia Ward, Turkana East Sub-County. The training aims to improve bead making skills for the production of quality market-oriented products.

The twenty women are being trained on skills such as new design creation, tools and equipment usage, quality finishing, colour-coordination and pricing. This will aid in making their products more competitive in the marketplace, thus uplifting their livelihoods. The women also developed their own unique design called Katilia design with a theme “Wear Our Story” that encourages everyone to buy and wear their products.

During the official opening of the workshop, the County Executive Committee (CEC) member for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources – George Emoru encouraged the beaders to work hard and make good products that would attract the tourists to buy.

“The Culture Directorate is currently constructing curio shops across the county including Lokori for you to sell your products,” he told the workshop participants. He further added that Tobong’uLore would also give them an opportunity to showcase their beadwork.

“These value addition skills will enable our [Turkana women] own to prosper as they will engage in quality production of traditional and modern beaded items for the local and international markets,” said the acting Chief Officer, Philip Lokaala.

Dorcas Apem, one of the participants, said that the new skills learnt in the training would make her beaded products even better which would fetch a higher price.

The workshop coordinator, Lemmy Ejorewoia from directorate of culture, stated that the group was quick in learning and adopting the new skills as well as possessed a high creative ability.

The CEC urged the women to register a group as a cooperative to seek for funding and capacity building support from government agencies and donors.

Other county staff members present are Linda Akai from the Directorate of Culture and Katilia Ward Admin Simon Koloi alongside the facilitators; Ruth Achaarait and Kristine Ewoi.  The next training workshop will be held in Lorengerak, Turkana North Sub-county.

The Ushanga Initiative, done in collaboration with the National Government’s State Department of Culture, seeks to empower pastoral women to take up beadwork as economic activity.