Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Monday, February 27, 2012

Capacity building with Shimoni Women's Group

This past Sunday the GVI team at Shimoni Base had a really interesting treat.  Those who wanted to could go and visit the Shimoni Women’s Group meeting, where we were going to teach (and some of us to learn!) macramé bracelet making.  Macramé is a type of bracelet that uses various knots in string to make a pattern.  The Shimoni Women’s Group is using this technique in order to build their skills in crafts and jewelry making, as a potential source of income for them.  They would be able to sell their wares to tourists coming through the village.  Another great part of this learning is to then create expense reports and budget sheets to figure out how much the materials cost, how many materials they would need, and also how many bracelets need to be made to balance the budget.  The women’s group is currently working on opening a bank account, so that they can continue to learn the ways and means of financing and budgeting.

Hannah demonstrates some macrame techniques
The group itself consists of 51 women and every week it seems to get bigger.  Many of the women are older and don’t speak any English, but we have a translator there who is very helpful.  They also love it when we try to speak with them in Kiswahili, and they use it as a chance to teach us as well.   The macramé workshop went so well!  We all sat together in a room and worked on our bracelets.  We were all women, and we were all teaching each other.  We spent almost 2 hours together, and the time flew by as some mastered the easy knots quickly, and moved onto the more complicated patterns.  Those who still struggled, like me, kept practicing and worked together to get it right.  We even moved onto putting beads in the bracelets.

Shimoni Women's Group members practice macrame techniques
 When the event was over, we were pretty hot and thirsty; we left the women to continue their work.  They meet every Sunday, and hopefully next week they will have gotten a bank account to start up their small businesses.  It was a really fun day, and I feel like I have at least a dozen more friends in the village!  And some bracelets to show for it as well!

Kate working on her first bracelet
Kate Barry
Community Intern